Silent Assassin: Making healthier choices when eating at a cafe | The Canberra Times

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We are an eat-out and eat-fast generation. Cafes, restaurants, places to grab a takeaway or a sandwich, supermarkets that stock frozen meals we can microwave are our regular haunts. We are time-poor with a packed schedule of work, kids, exercise, family, socialising. Cooking from scratch often isn’t on the radar. We look for shortcuts in supermarkets filled with aisles and aisles of highly processed food which make our lives easier, if not healthier. And too little of it is low-carb, added sugar-free with good protein and good fats – the diet of choice to rein in diabetes. No wonder the rate of diabetes has escalated. Try this the next time you are in an eatery: assess how much of what is offered is “white” carb ie blood-sugar spikers. You’ll most likely find white bread, white rice, white potatoes (chips, anybody?), white pastries, white cakes, white pies, white burgers, white donuts, white pizza, white noodles. The list is nearly endless. Even pasta sauces have sugar added to them, then they are paired with white pasta. Now look for how many “wholegrains” are offered. If you’re lucky you’ll find one or two on a menu unless you’re in a health food joint. You might find gluten free, but a lot of those are “white” too – white rice flour, white potato flour. Even “wholemeal” bread is often part white refined flour. The only good white food I’ve found regularly on a menu is cauliflower. It’s getting better. “Clean eating” has become a thing and more restaurants are offering alternatives that aren’t loaded with simple carbohydrates, but they can be costly. In a tug-of-war with carb-heavy, cheaper options they often lose. I’ve never seen a diabetes-friendly designation on a menu the way you see DF, GF or V, and restaurants often don’t seem to stock alternatives to refined carbs (believe me, I’ve asked). That’s unlikely to change until more people speak up and request better choices. So the next time you or a diabetes-prone friend struggles to find something to eat on a menu, politely suggest the eatery does something about it. If more of us do that – and we then buy it – more places will start stocking it.



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