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Does that sweet bubble tea spark joy?


14 March 2019

HealthIsWealth

The recent bubble tea hypes definitely sparked joy in many Singaporeans’ hearts (and tummies) but are these sweet cravings worth it? A 500ml cup of brown sugar bubble milk tea can contain about 92g of sugar and that is about three times more than the amount of sugar in a 320ml can of Coca-Cola1! What about that cup of kopi you can’t live without every morning? A typical cup of kopi (with condensed milk) can have as many as 135 calories and up to 3.5 teaspoons2 of sugar! Guilty of indulging in such sweet drinks daily? You might be addicted to sugar like most of us.

According to the Health Promotion Board (HPB), drinking an additional 250ml of sugar-sweetened beverages every day increases a person’s risk of diabetes by 18 to 26 per cent3. That is why the government is now stepping up its war against diabetes by proposing measures4 to curb Singaporeans’ sugar intake such as banning and taxing some pre-packaged sweetened drinks as well as implementing a mandatory nutrition label on such products. Almost half a million Singaporeans live with diabetes, which is higher than the global prevalence3.

As we celebrate World Health Day on 7 April, perhaps it is also time to pay more attention to this silent killer that has affected about 10.53% of Singapore population aged between 20 to 795.

More often than not, type 2 diabetes goes unnoticed in its early stages due to its hard-to-detect symptoms. So the more you know about it, the better prepared you’ll be to fight it. Here are the top three things you may not know about the disease and how you can manage it.

#1 It’s not always about sugary drinks

Many think diabetes can be prevented by just avoiding sugary beverages but the truth is, many foods we eat every day contain “hidden sugar”, due to their high carbohydrate content which becomes sugar in our bodies, leading to an insulin spike6. This is especially common in our Asian diet since rice and noodles is a staple in most of our meals.

According to studies by the Harvard School of Public Health, a plate of white rice eaten daily raises the risk of diabetes by 11 per cent in the overall population7. Consider this: simply replacing just 20 per cent of your white rice intake with lower-GI (Glycaemic Index) brown rice can lower your risk of diabetes by 16 per cent7! Hence, reducing carbohydrate intake is key in diabetes management as there is evidence that the way carbohydrate foods digest may affect blood sugar levels in the body. The higher GI the food is, the more blood glucose it raises in the body8.

#2 Are you having a good night’s sleep?

According to Dr Lee Yeow Hian, Consultant Chest and Sleep Physician, Lee Respiratory and Sleep Clinic at Mount Alvernia Hospital, it is common for people with type 2 diabetes to also have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). Up to 40 per cent of OSA patients may have type 2 diabetes and up to 20 per cent of type 2 diabetics may have OSA9. OSA is known to increase insulin resistance and the risk of type 2 diabetes by disrupting the body’s metabolism and stressing the body by depriving it of oxygen. This in turn releases stress hormones that can interfere blood glucose levels9. People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of getting OSA, which comes with other health risks including sudden cardiac death and heart attacks. Severe OSA cases have also been proven to increase the risk of dying prematurely when someone stops breathing or has shallow breathing for more than 30 times in an hour9. Therefore, it is important to screen at-risk individuals for both OSA and diabetes.

#3 Getting diabetes through pregnancy

Ladies who are pregnant should also take note of the likelihood of getting gestational diabetes, especially during the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy. This is because the placenta produces hormones which make it more difficult for insulin to work, causing blood sugar levels to rise. Dr Goh Kian Peng, Senior Consultant, Saint-Julien Clinic for Diabetes & Endocrinology at Mount Alvernia Hospital, explains that it is important to maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) prior to pregnancy and have a well-balanced diet with a higher proportion of complex to simple carbohydrates to help reduce the risk6. The good news is that it is rare for children to inherit diabetes even if the genetic factors present themselves.

Can you get protection with an existing health condition?

But what if despite taking all the necessary measures and precautions, you’re still diagnosed with diabetes? It is not a death sentence. You can still lead a fulfilling life doing what you love such as travelling or eating delicious foods as long as it is done in moderation and you maintain an active lifestyle.

However, life with diabetes can be costly. As it’s a long-term condition with many potential complications, medical bills can strain your finances over time. And because many diabetics seeking insurance coverage against the hefty cost of critical illnesses like cancer have been turned away by insurers in the past, a large number of diabetics remain unprotected. With 1 in 9 Singaporeans living with diabetes10, there’s a high likelihood of them having inadequate coverage. The good news is that now, even those with existing conditions like diabetes can be covered with Aviva’s MyCoreCI Plan which gives protection against diabetic complications and 11 critical illnesses.

Besides paying off your insurance premiums, you could be needing the money for other equally important things at different stages of your life, such as a housing loan, car instalment or even holidays with your family. That is why we have an even better plan to help you offset those premiums fully or partially with a dollarDEX dividend portfolio so you do not need to fork out extra money to be protected.

As the saying goes, health is wealth. There are practical ways to grow your wealth for your health without burning a hole in your pocket. So come join us for a seminar on 30 Mar to find out how you can use a dollarDEX dividend portfolio to help pay for your insurance premiums and also hear from an interesting panel of speakers from Mount Alvernia Hospital who will share more insights about diabetics and heart, debunk common myths and facts around diet for diabetes, as well as practical tips for diabetic patients. What’s more, you can get a simple health screening to see if you are at risk for diabetes at the seminar.

Register now for Diabetes and You Seminar!

(Get exclusive 50% discount off usual ticket price by keying in PROMO CODE: DDEXMAH)


Sources:

1. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/bubble-tea-sugar-content-sweeter-than-coke-soda-11063316?cid=h3_referral_inarticlelinks_24082018_cna
2. https://ahsnutrition.health.blog/2017/03/01/whats-in-your-kopi/
3. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/sugary-soft-drinks-effects-diabetes-weight-gain-11027204?cid=h3_referral_inarticlelinks_24082018_cna
4. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/measures-to-cut-sugar-intake-tax-apply-across-industry-dialogue-11144120
5. https://mtalvernia.sg/education/living-with-diabetes-for-elderly-patients/
6. https://mtalvernia.sg/education/living-a-sweet-life/
7. https://mtalvernia.sg/education/brown-rice-the-healthier-hue-for-you/
8. https://mtalvernia.sg/education/diet-for-diabetic/
9. https://mtalvernia.sg/education/the-link-between-sleep-apnoea-and-diabetes/
10. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/topics/nd2017/national-day-rally-1-in-9-singaporeans-has-diabetes-problem-very-9140176



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