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Just 37 per cent of people in Wales think it would be easy to cook for someone with diabetes

Just 37 per cent of people in Wales would find it easy to tailor a meal for someone with diabetes, according to a new survey. The figures for Wales are below the national average of 40 percent in the YouGov* survey commissioned by Diabetes UK and Tesco.

The survey also showed that just 70 per cent of people in Wales would feel confident asking a guest with diabetes outright what they can and can’t eat.

Diabetes UK wants to use the survey results to raise awareness that while having a healthy diet is an important part of managing diabetes, people with the condition can eat the same foods as anyone else. In fact, the charity advises people with the condition to avoid food labelled ‘diabetic’.

Diabetes UK is launching Enjoy Food, a programme to help people with diabetes and their family to eat more healthily. Funded by Diabetes UK’s National Charity Partnership with Tesco, its aim is to promote the message that healthy eating should be an enjoyable part of life for families with diabetes and that by making small changes to the way they shop, plan and prepare their meals, people can eat food that is healthy as well as delicious.

Enjoy Food includes recipes, expert diabetes nutritional information, as well as practical guides about shopping for food, meal planning and healthy swaps. There is an online web section and people can also order free information packs at www.diabetes.org.uk/enjoyfood

Diabetes UK Cymru’s Director Dai Williams said: “It is worrying that so few people in Wales would find it easy to tailor a meal for someone with diabetes, as it suggests that there is a common misconception that having the condition has to mean substantial changes to what you eat.

“The reality is that people with the condition can eat the same meals as anyone else. We want to get the message across that while a healthy diet is an important part of managing diabetes, food is one of the great pleasures in life and this should still be the case even if you have diabetes.

“We hope that Enjoy Food will give people with diabetes and their families and friends more confidence when shopping and cooking. There are also lots of ideas for some of the UK’s favourite meals that have been adapted to make them a bit healthier. Very often, having a healthy diet is about tweaking the meals by doing things like reducing the oil and salt in them, for
example, rather than having to go without the meals you enjoy.”

Greg Sage, Community Director for Tesco said: “Enjoy Food is a fantastic way for people to learn more about how people with diabetes can eat food that is both healthy and tasty. As the UK’s leading food retailer, we can give our customers help with healthy diets and advice on how to cater for someone with diabetes, as it’s so important that they eat well.

“Since our partnership with Diabetes UK began we have raised over £15 million for the charity, and over 160,000 people have checked their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in Tesco pharmacies or online. This is great news and we would like to see many more people get themselves assessed for their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”

Some Enjoy Food suggestions for healthy eating for people with diabetes and their families and friends include:
A whole chicken costs about the same as chicken breasts, but you get more meals for your money. Remove the skin from chicken to reduce fat intake and roast with vegetables, slice into sandwiches and make soup with the leftovers.
Blitz over-ripe tomatoes in a blender and use in place of canned tomatoes in pasta sauces or on top of pizza bases.
Marinate chicken, fish, lamb, beef and mutton in chopped chillies, ginger, garlic and lemon juice and then simply grill or roast in the oven. You’ll get all the great flavour without any salt, and a healthier meal because you’ve not fried it. Add yogurt, paprika and tomato puree if you like it tandoori or tikka style.
Make ice cubes from watermelon or grapes to brighten up your sugar-free drinks.
For expert advice, handy meal planners and simple food swaps, visit Enjoy Food online at www.diabetes.org.uk/enjoyfood

* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2026 adults, of which 100 were from Wales. Fieldwork was undertaken between 31st October - 3rd November 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).