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Boots, the major producer of "diabetic" foods in the UK are to stop marketing "diabetic" foods from the end of March. They anticipate that stores will run out by June. This means that they will no longer label foods like chocolate, cakes and biscuits as "suitable for diabetics".

The decision has come as a result of working with the British Diabetic Association. Boots have accepted the consensus of health care professionals throughout Europe that "diabetic" foods are not a necessary part of the diet for diabetes.

The British Diabetic Association represents the needs of people with diabetes and influences practice in their best interests. Labelling a product "diabetic" automatically suggests a stamp of approval, which can be misleading to people with diabetes and their families.Diabetic foods are unnecessary and offer no special benefit to people with diabetes. "Diabetic" Foods play on the myth that the person with diabetes needs to follow a sugar free diet, where as the emphasis of the recommendations is how to eat less fat, sugar and salt and no starchy foods and fruits and vegetables. People with diabetes should not be stigmatised or discriminated against with the food choices.

Labeling the food as " Diabetic" implies a special benefit and therefore a need to choose in preference to a standard product - setting up a false sense of security. They have in the past been noted to cost up to 4 times more than the standard product, and tend to be just as high in fat and calories as ordinary products. They usually contain the bulk sweetener such as fructose or sorbitol which can have a laxative effect and make blood glucose level rise.

There's no need for anyone with diabetes to eat special "diabetic" foods like cakes,biscuits and confectionery. People with diabetes can eat standard confectionery foods as part of an overall balanced diet. All confectionery foods are high in fat and calories and need to be limited according to the individual. The British Diabetic Association recomends the people with diabetes should see a state registered dietition locally for more specific advice about their individual targets and requirements.

Source : British Diabetic Association - Diet Information Services - February 1999.

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