Vincent Andrew en Café beBee, WRITERS and PUBLISHERS on beBee, Healthcare Education Officer • Pusat Tingkatan Enam Tutong 16/10/2016 · 2 min de lectura · +900

Danger: Too much sugar!

Danger: Too much sugar!

About six years ago I woke up in the morning feeling dazed. It was so unlike any other mornings. I tried to get up on my feet but instantly I slumped to the bed. When I opened my eyes I felt my head was spinning. Even with my eyes closed, it had that spinning feeling. I did not like it at all. I waited for a few more minutes. Help me Lord, please! My wife and kids were all waiting for me to get ready for Mass. I got up, walked to the toilet and there was a sudden urge to vomit but nothing came out. It was not looking good and I was about to say we would not be able to go to church. I waited for a while longer and sensing that the spinning had subsided I said we could now go. During the drive the spinning feeling came back. My wife had to take over. I rested in my mum's place. 

That afternoon, I went to the hospital's A&E. I was put on drips and all my vitals were checked. Nothing irregular except that my blood sugar was high! 

In Brunei, diabetes is the third biggest killer for the past five years. Amongst the South East Asian nations, it is the highest ranked for adult diabetes prevalence. The health authorities here said 12.4 per cent of adults have diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness, kidney disease and amputations among Bruneian adults. People with diabetes are also two to four times more likely to experience heart attacks and strokes. 

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I had little idea what it was. It was something I read about in the papers and in the textbooks. It happened to other people. It was not something that I thought that I could experience first hand. And this is where I was dead wrong! According to a report, over 20,000 Bruneians are unaware that they have diabetes. Now for a population of 400,000, this 20k is a considerably significant proportion bearing in mind the impact this can have on productivity, and spending on health care in the country.

A cause often cited for diabetes is a person's lifestyle. The intake of too much food and too little exercise. I used to take two sachets of 3-in-1 coffee daily, not realising that the sugar content of that instant coffee is more than half of its weight! This basically means I was drinking sugar!
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Many hot flavoured drinks contain shocking amounts of sugar. According to Action on Sugar, "Starbuck’s Hot Mulled Fruit - Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon Venti is the worst offender, containing a whopping 25 teaspoons of sugar - more than THREE times the maximum ADULT daily intake of free sugars (7tsp/d)". The World Health Organisation has recommended that men consume no more than 35g and women 25g of sugar day, which equates to nine teaspoons for men and six for women. Now, check the amount of sugar in the drinks below.


Danger: Too much sugar!Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food/article-3310098/How-favourite-festive-drinks-contain-ONE-grams-sugar-nearly-700-calories.html


A visit to the doctor was sobering. He told me that based on my blood sugar over a three month period, the number was high and I had to do something about it. He said, "Vincent, reduce your rice and noodles consumption." Now, if you're from Asia, you will know that for millions of people rice is a staple food. Noodles is also a favourite amongst many Asians. He sent me a link to read. 

It says that "A bowl of rice has more than twice the carbohydrate content of a can of soft drink." Furthermore, the article says "Asians are more predisposed to diabetes than Caucasians". I could now understand how the condition came about in me. 
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As I had been taking rice regularly for many years and being an Asian I had higher risks of getting diabetes, not to mention that a sedentary lifestyle could also have played some part in the equation.


Danger: Too much sugar!

The doctor warned me he could increase my dosage of pills or I could take his advice. I didn't like taking pills and since he has been reminding me a number of times now about reducing my rice I have now heeded that. 

Not taking rice is like not watching your favourite football team playing. It was difficult but perhaps for my own sake and for the sake of my family who I would like to see more of in my old age, it is something that I had to do. With medication, regular exercise and a reduction in carbs I no longer experience the spinning sensation in my head. I am grateful that I have another chance to look after myself and to live my life to the fullest, without the excessive sugar!


Do you know anyone who is suffering from diabetes? What are they doing to tackle this disease?


Top picture: webconsultas.com



Vincent Andrew 18/10/2016 · #10

#7 Yes you have a point Ken. I'll ask my doctor for a specialist. In the past one week alone, I have taken so little rice. Just once and that too was a third of what I normally consume in a meal. I never thought I could do this and I never thought I could make this change. Thank you for the link Ken and for commenting. I really appreciate it.

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Vincent Andrew 18/10/2016 · #9

#6 Thanks Lisa for commenting. I agree change takes time. I am taking it a day at a time, a meal at a time. I do like barley. Switching to a different kind of diet is rather uncomfortable after all the habit that has been formed over the years. Still, health is a priority. As they say, 'Health is Wealth'. :)

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Lisa Gallagher 17/10/2016 · #8

#7 Good points @Ken Boddie. One type of Dr. that has more knowledge of the body overall is an Internal Medicine Dr. I agree, seeking help with the proper professionals is a must. Once a person is diagnosed with diabetes they need to keep a daily check on their blood sugar levels. You can't do that without a prescription to get the device. Also, some people need to go on medicine for uncontrolled diabetes or in other cases a Dr. will tell the person to inject themselves if their blood sugar goes over 150. When a person begins to exhibit signs, that means diabetes is already out of control.

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Ken Boddie 17/10/2016 · #7

As diet change has the potential to not only alter change in the body, Vincent, but also quality of life and lifestyle, I suggest that you ask your doctor (presumably a General Practitioner and not specialist) for a consultation with a specialist and also a consultation with a dietician. As you quite correctly point out, and @Dean Owen has also queried, even a cursory search of medical journals appears to produce confusing and possibly ambiguous results. GPs are a tremendous asset to the community, but no one medical practitioner can be expected to be fully knowledgable on all aspects of medical science, medical research and its evolution. Conversely, it can be dangerous for the 'uninitiated' to perform self healing based on 'Dr Google'. Can't be any harm, however, in seeking out additional medical advice, as suggested above, if you are in this for the long haul.

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Lisa Gallagher 17/10/2016 · #6

I'm glad you sought medical attention @Vincent Andrew. It's true, many walk around unknowingly with diabetes because it takes some time for Type ll diabetes before a person may exhibit symptoms. What you wrote of is good for others to know if they are just not feeling themselves or worse yet, dizzy and unable to function. People can walk around with fairly high blood sugar levels without knowing they have diabetes. Your blood sugar must have been over 300? I must have some Asian blood in me, because I LOVE white rice and noodles too. I've been trying to cut back because I had gestational diabetes with my second child. I was told my chances of developing Type ll were 50% higher after I hit the age of 50. One thing I love that helps with the bad carb cravings is Barley. I know it's hard to get used to not eating white rice but even Quinoa is a nice substitute. I think change takes time. Thanks for sharing this and thanks for the exercise reminder. I just started a fast paced power walking class on youtube via my TV ;-)

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Vincent Andrew 17/10/2016 · #5

#4 Interesting observation Dean. Obesity not necessarily related to diabetes based on the diabetes and obesity rankings? Hmmm ...

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Dean Owen 17/10/2016 · #4

I can understand the "coffees" (by the way the "Starbuck’s Hot Mulled Fruit - Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon Venti" sounds quite yummy, but who orders a Venti?), but rice is a surprise, noodles not so much. But looking at diabetes rates by country, India, China, US, Indonesia and Japan make up #1-5. Interesting to note obesity ranks for the top five are very different (US, Mexico, UK, Slovakia, Greece). I can't imagine a life without rice and noodles. Japan has the highest life expectancy, and we eat rice 3 times a day!

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Vincent Andrew 17/10/2016 · #3

#1 "The overall association in men was not clear, although there was a suggestion of increased risk of type 2 diabetes with rice intake in physically inactive men and smoking men. Bread or noodle intake was not associated with risk of type 2 diabetes." So bread and noodles seem ok. However, my doctor says 'noodles is rice and rice is sugar'. The science is rather confusing at times Ken.

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