We’re Mike and Mary Bennett – pretty typical New Zealanders in that we’re both a bit overweight (65% of all Kiwi adults are overweight or obese) and Mike has type 2 diabetes (about 7% of Kiwi adults have diabetes, and New Zealand’s high obesity levels mean many more are at risk of developing the disease).

It was a real shock when Mike was diagnosed with diabetes, so we started to pay attention to what we were eating and learned a few things along the way.

Live by the 10:10 rule

Health experts say that, if you want to watch your weight (the main risk factor for type 2 diabetes) and control your blood glucose levels (the main problem with diabetes), a simple rule is to choose foods that have under 10% sugar and under 10% fat as well as a high level of fibre, a low level of saturated fat, a low glycaemic index (GI) and low sodium (salt).

To follow the 10:10 rule, we had to learn how to read a nutritional information panel (under 10% means under 10g in the 100g column), but we found that quite hard. On some products, the nutrition information is hard to find, hard to read and hard to understand.

We’ve developed the Wunderbites range because we couldn’t find some products we were looking for. For instance, we wanted to find a satisfying snack bar that meets the 10:10 rule, but it didn’t exist ... until now.

Wunderbites are the only mainstream snack bars that meet the 10:10 rule*, and our packs provide clear, simple nutrition information.

* Of all ‘mainstream’ snack bars in the New Zealand market, May 2012.

Scary statistics

We’re proud Kiwis, but not proud of the fact that New Zealand is a world leader in obesity and diabetes statistics: 

  • New Zealanders are the third fattest nation in the 34 countries that belong to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) – behind the United States and Mexico.
  • 34% of adults and 21% of children are overweight.
  • 31% of adults and 11% of children are obese.
  • Overweight and obesity is strongly associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and some cancers.
  • Over 225,000 people in New Zealand have been diagnosed with diabetes (mostly type 2), and it’s thought there are another 100,000 people who have diabetes but don’t know.

What is diabetes?

Your pancreas makes insulin to transport glucose from the blood supply into fat and muscle cells and keep blood sugar levels in the normal range.

A person with diabetes has too much glucose (sugar) in their blood because their pancreas can’t make enough insulin or their cells have become insulin resistant. With type 2 diabetes, becoming overweight is almost always the cause of the body becoming resistant to insulin.

Diabetes can’t be cured but it can be controlled. Keeping your blood glucose level and your blood pressure in a healthy range is the best defence against developing the complications of diabetes.

People with diabetes or at risk of developing the disease need to keep their blood glucose levels steady.

Why is low GI important?

The glycaemic index (GI) measures how fast and how much the carbohydrates in a food raise blood glucose.

Foods with a high GI are rapidly digested and absorbed, which means a rapid rise and fall in blood glucose levels. A fast rise in glucose also causes a large insulin response, which signals your body to store fat.

Low GI foods are digested slowly and release glucose into the bloodstream gradually. The University of Sydney’s glycaemic index website says that low GI diets “have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.”

The total amount of carbohydrate, the amount and type of fat, and the fibre and salt content in a food are also very important. Foods high in fat often have a low GI, but a high fat diet is not recommended for overweight people or people with diabetes.

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