Experts offer advice on how to better manage diabetes

Revisit our lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, and way of living

Food is an important part of any celebration in all countries of the world regardless of culture and religion. For sure, trying to keep up with our healthy eating, diet, and maintaining our blood sugars will be no easy feat this Christmas. Some people will even use this season as an excuse to overeat or overindulge in sweets.

Fret not because experts are here to tell you how to better manage your diabetes.

Go for whole foods

“Sugar can be found in different package items ranging from cookies, pastries, wafers to chips, crackers, or even all these homemade or bottled sauces. Whenever it says low-fat, they make it up by making it sweeter. Or if it’s low sugar, they make it up by increasing the fat content,” says Bianca Dualan, a registered nutritionist in a media event called Sweet Talk Your Way Out of Diabetes.

“Sometimes it’s only listed ‘sugar’ or ‘syrup’. Just by being aware of these things and familiarizing what sugar can look like, you will be able to make better decisions. Go for whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, not canned, so you won’t have to spend time looking at the nutrition labels,” adds Dualan, who is also the founder of Sakro, a nutrition and counseling therapy service that helps people better manage diseases.

Misconceptions about diabetes

Cynthia Yu Duntz, Vice President of Philippine Diabetes Support (PDS) noticed that the Philippines is inactive in diabetes education thus the need for companies that are willing to help, give lectures, and teach their members how to manage diabetes.

“There are many misconceptions about diabetes like the old belief that ‘medicines can ruin the kidneys’ or ‘some people are killing themselves with hunger’. So people tend to get depressed because they don’t know what to eat. You can eat, just control! Choose what you eat. PDS will help explain to members the facts about diabetes,” says Duntz.

Holistic approach

In the Philippines, there are almost 4 million people who have diabetes. Half of them are not even aware they have diabetes. When they are diagnosed or treated, 50 percent of them are not at goal because “medicines are key but they are not enough.”

“We need to provide a holistic approach. We need to work to manage this disease by revisiting our lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, and way of living, eating, and exercising. We need to surround our patients with specialists and [provide them with] specific coaching and make it more accessible to patients,” says Dr. Amal Makhloufi, country leader of Sanofi Philippines.

According to Dr. Makhloufi, diabetes, like any other lifestyle disease, is manageable. It is in everyone’s reach to live a healthier life.

“Diabetes should not be a cause for fear, but to call for change. It is a shared effort between healthcare companies like Sanofi and other companies among health industries and patients to manage diabetes by simply checking blood sugar regularly, exercising, living the proper lifestyle, and choosing the right kind of diet,” she emphasizes.

Sanofi’s mission is to go beyond medicines, to look and explore holistic care and management, especially for patients with chronic conditions like diabetes.

“The goal is to make it easier for every Filipino to seek access to qualitative care. But everybody needs help in achieving this – that’s why we at Sanofi Philippines build a ‘panata’ (or vow in English) to make it a healthier Philippines with you and for you,” says Dr. Makhloufi.

Panata box

Every Panata box is curated by Bianca Dualan for diabetes management. It contains fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and low in glycemic index.

“When you purchase P1,250 per box from the website, Gising Gising will donate another box on your behalf. We’ll share it with the Philippine Diabetes Support (PDS) to kick start their journey of living better and eating healthier,” says Tonyo Silva, founder of Gising Gising PH.

Founded in April 2020, Gising Gising is a social enterprise with a mission to help fight food insecurity and hunger in the Philippines. It sells fruits and vegetables to consumers and businesses sourced from ethically operated farms at fair prices.

For more information on Sanofi PH’s programs and campaigns on lifestyle disease management, visit the official website and verified Instagram and LinkedIn pages.

Published by Mylene Orillo

Mylene Orillo is a contributing writer at My Pope Philippines. Prior to that, she contributed to the Health & Lifestyle magazine.  She's a former correspondent at The Manila Times; former editor-in-chief of TravelPlus magazine; and former assistant editor of Health & Lifestyle, Zen Health, and DiabetEASE magazines by FAME Publishing, Inc., a company owned by cardiologist Dr. Rafael Castillo who has given her the much-needed break and opportunity in the health industry and medical field.  Her previous job as a Media Consultant at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Writer-Researcher at the Headquarters Philippine Army ignited her passions for charity, volunteering, selfless service, and love of country. As a young girl, she loved reading her mom's collection of Mills & Boons pocketbooks, which started her passion to write romance stories.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila. She is now working towards earning her master's degree hopefully this year. She loves traveling, long-distance running, reading romance and non-fiction books, watching Korean Drama series, feel-good rom coms, military movies, and documentaries during her spare time. Someday, she wants to meet Prince William and Pope Francis, settle down with the love of her life and have a family and kids of her own; and become a bestselling romance author.

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