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Londoners failing to eat the recommended daily allowance of fruit and vegetables

A new survey commissioned by Diabetes UK to promote its ‘Food you love' healthy eating campaign in Diabetes Week (Sunday 11 June to Saturday 17 June), has found that 65 per cent of adults in London eat three or fewer portions of fruit and/or vegetables a day – well below the recommended five portions - and 46 per cent won’t eat any fruit at least three days a week.

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The survey found that 81 per cent of us don't know what constitutes a recommended portion of vegetables, and 77 per cent of people weren’t able to identify a portion of fruit (both of which are 80g, that’s equivalent to three heaped tablespoons of vegetables or a handful of fruit such as apple or pear).

Diabetes UK has described the results of the survey as “a huge cause for concern”, as a healthy, balanced diet is important for everyone, including people living with diabetes.  Diabetes can affect anyone - the survey highlighted that most of us in London (66 per cent) know someone with the condition.  Yet most people in would ignore four out of six symptoms of diabetes (thrush, fatigue, increased urination and extreme thirst).

"These survey results are a huge cause for concern when you recognise the fact that in the UK, 3.6 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes and 11.9 million people are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes."

Roz Rosenblatt, London Head for Diabetes UK

Roz added:

"Simple lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced diet, eating more fruit and vegetables and getting more exercise are an important part of managing all types of diabetes and can reduce the risk of serious of long term complications such as blindness, amputations and even early death.

"A healthy lifestyle can also massively reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. We know that obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, with two in three people in the UK being overweight or obese, but three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being active. "

The research also revealed:

  • 79 per cent of people don’t know that half a can of baked beans could contain up to two and a half teaspoons of sugar

  • More than three-quarters of people (78 per cent for salad cream, 77 per cent for ketchup) didn’t know much sugar is in a portion of ketchup (15g of sugar per tablespoon) or salad cream (2.6g of sugar per tablespoon)

  • 39 per cent of people add salt to food before even tasting it. Eating too much salt is linked to high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease

  • 59 per cent of Londoners wanted to eat more vegetables but 15 per cent thought they were too expensive, 12 per cent said they tend to go off, 14 per cent said they took too long to prepare and seven per cent said they were too messy to eat.

In order to get people eating more healthily, Diabetes UK has embarked on a new ‘Food you love’ advertising campaign all about healthy eating to inspire everyone with recipes featuring the food they love, only healthier.  The charity hopes the easy recipes and tips will inspire more people to make small changes that can make a big difference to how they manage their diabetes. 

The ‘Food you love’ campaign is being fronted by five ‘everyday’ people cooking the recipes they love and has received celebrity support from chefs including: Jamie Oliver, Prue Leith, ‘Deliciously’ Ella and Angela Hartnett.  

Sign up to receive free recipe videos and more before 30 July 2017.

During Diabetes Week, the charity will be highlighting the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle in managing diabetes and preventing Type 2, through eating well, getting active and maintaining a healthy weight. 

The charity’s theme for Diabetes Week 2017, ‘Know Diabetes. Fight Diabetes’, reflects this call for change. They’re asking others to get involved, share their stories of how they know or fight diabetes online and help the charity fight for a world where diabetes can do no harm. 

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