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Eating well with Diabetes

Nov 12, 2019

Diabetes affects 1.7 million people in Australia with an estimated further 2 million Australians at high risk of developing the condition1. This article is designed to help if you, a family member or a friend have been recently diagnosed with diabetes.

There are three types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes (approximately 10% of all diabetes diagnoses)
  • Type 2 diabetes (85% of all diabetes diagnoses)
  • Gestational Diabetes (diabetes affecting some women during pregnancy)1.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the levels of glucose (or sugar) in the blood are too high. After we eat, our body breaks food down into simple molecules during the process of digestion. The simple form of carbohydrates is glucose, therefore after consuming a food or drink containing carbohydrates, our blood glucose levels rise. The rise in blood glucose levels stimulates the pancreas to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts like a key unlocking cell doors, so that glucose can move from the circulating blood system into the cells where it is required. People with diabetes are either unable to produce sufficient insulin, or the insulin cannot effectively get into the circulating blood system; therefore their blood glucose levels remain high2.

Did you know? Optimal blood glucose control is important to prevent potentially serious complications that are associated with diabetes. Consuming an appropriate diet is key to this.

What should people with diabetes eat?

  • A healthy diet, as recommended by the Australian Dietary Guidelines
  • Consume meals at regular times1
  • Some people with diabetes will require additional snacks between meals depending upon their diabetes medication and blood sugar control
  • Choose lower fat alternatives (particularly low saturated fat)1
  • Choose low glycaemic index options 3

What is glycaemic index?

The glycaemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates according to how quickly they elicit a rise in blood glucose levels. Low glycaemic index foods produce a smaller rise in blood sugar levels, providing a sustained source of energy and have been linked with reducing heart disease and are the preferred source of carbohydrate foods for people with diabetes 4. To learn more, visit the Glycemic Index Foundation.

What if you can’t meet your dietary requirements through food alone?

If you have diabetes and require additional nutrition due to poor dietary intake or illness, Sustagen® Diabetic may be an appropriate nutritional supplement for you. It is a specially formulated, low GI (Glycaemic Index), nutritionally complete drink, which can be consumed as a nutritious between meal snack, mixed into your food for a nutrient boost, or a protein boost alongside your breakfast.

Features of Sustagen® Diabetic:

  • Nutritional supplement, suitable for people with diabetes
  • Can be used supplementary to dietary intake, or as a sole source of nutrition when prescribed by your healthcare professional.
  • Low glycaemic index (Sustagen® Diabetic powder GI = 34, Sustagen® Diabetic ready to drink GI = 30)
  • Lower carbohydrate content compared to Sustagen® Hospital Formula Active range (per serve).
  • Low saturated fat content
  • Convenient source of protein
  • Contains 27 vitamins and minerals
  • Available in powder or a convenient ready to drink Tetra®


Sustagen Diabetic

To find out more about Sustagen® Diabetic please visit Sustagen® Diabetic product information page.

Try this breakfast recipe idea: Overnight Oats using Sustagen® Diabetic instead of Sustagen® Hospital Formula Active.

For specific dietary advice and to see if Sustagen® Diabetic is suitable for you, speak to your healthcare professional.


  1. Accessed 2.10.2019
  2. Accessed 3.10.2019
  3. Accessed 10.10.19
  4. Accessed 2.10.2019

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