November is Diabetes Awareness Month

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Holly Paypompee of the Nataawgonebiik Health Centre displays some of her colleagues work (Photo Credit: Sandra Tom)

By Sandra Tom, Columnist

At a health fair with Kenora Chiefs Advisory/WNHAC Health to promote healthy living in the community, I came across this simple but understandable example. Now located in the waiting room of the Naotkamegwanning health clinic, I am showcasing just how much refined sugars in commonly consumed drinks. Refined or processed sugar, unlike natural sugars found in fruits are the largest factor for diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease where the body can not properly store and use sugar that comes from food and beverages taken in.

How to prevent? Get tested once per year, whether or not you believe you are at risk.

Rethink before you drink:

Coke : 14 spoons

Gatorade: 11.5 spoons

Ice Tea: 10.5 spoons

Sunny D: 4 spoons

Vitamin water: 8 spoons

Red Bull: 7 spoons

What are the alternatives for other drinks: Water, infused fruit flavored water, teas without sugar, and an Anishinaabe twist – spruce tea.

Why is this important to me as a health care worker?

I’ve been a health worker for so many years and I’ve seen so many people go through amputation due to diabetes. It is why care to help the community to live a healthy lifestyle by promoting health related workshops. Our biggest community event is the Biggest Loser Challenge from May to August.

Sandra Tom is the Community Health Representative at Nataawgonebik Health Services.

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