World Diabetes Day 2021 – Anke Sentko, VP Regulatory Affairs and Nutrition Communication at BENEO on “Access to Diabetes Care”


This year’s World Diabetes Day (14th November), initiated by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), is raising awareness of the fact that people living with, or at risk of diabetes, need better access to diabetes care and prevention globally. According to the IDF, this includes access to medicine, including insulin, self-monitoring, education on diabetes, as well as healthy food and a safe place to exercise.

In 2019, 463 million adults (1-in-11) were living with diabetes worldwide. This number is expected to rise to 578 million by 2030 , which equals in an increase of 25 percent. Within a consensus statement , leading scientists agree that there is convincing evidence that low glycaemic diets reduce the risk of type II diabetes and coronary heart disease, help to control blood glucose for diabetics and can also help to manage weight.

As a result, the goal for any food producer interested in promoting the long-term health of consumers should be giving them access to food choices that deliver a lower glycaemic profile through product development. Getting older goes hand in hand with impaired glucose tolerance, as does the development of Diabetes mellitus. Still, we should not forget that blood glucose management is a relevant topic throughout all life stages. So, it is never too early to start with healthy ageing.

The key to promoting a healthy lifestyle from early on is through blood glucose management, and this happens through the right choice of carbohydrate. The ideal carbohydrate provides the necessary energy for a person’s metabolism by triggering a low and balanced rise in blood glucose and a low increase in insulin, as well as encouraging fat burning rather than fat storage.

In order to provide access to food and drink products that provide the necessary carbohydrates, and at the same time support a low glycaemic diet, consumers need to be able to easily recognize products on shelves that have proven to lower the blood glucose response. Respective claims on pack are an effective way to achieve this by informing and educating consumers accordingly.

Ingredients such as BENEO’s prebiotic chicory root fibres, inulin and oligofructose, alternative sugar isomaltulose (Palatinose™) and sugar replacer ISOMALT can help to lower the blood glucose response – and all have approved health claims in the EU related to this effect.

By making better use of these claims on pack, manufacturers and retailers alike can encourage consumers to choose products that will help them prevent the onset of diabetes, as well as support the management of the disease. As an industry, we all have a collective responsibility to help to improve the diet of people and reduce the risk of developing life changing, non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes.