How to keep diabetes at bay


One in two South Africans has diabetes and doesn’t know it. It’s a disease that can’t be cured, but it can easily be prevented by making small changes to your daily diet and moving your body more. We’ve put together some top-level tips to help you take care of your health and keep diabetes away.

How do you prevent diabetes?

  • Go for regular check-ups and screenings–the Unu app can help with that!

  • Eat healthily–plenty of veggies, salads, fresh fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fatty fish, and lean meat

  • Cut out sugar-loaded sodas, sports drinks, and junk food Read the labels of everything you buy, 
both savoury and sweet, in search of 
hidden sugars

  • Know your sugar intake: 4g of sugar = 1 teaspoon. Use that to work out how much sugar is in your food–40g of sugar means
10 teaspoons!

  • Exercise regularly–you don’t need to start with a marathon, just a 10-min workout each day will do

  • Walk and take the stairs whenever you can

  • Manage your stress levels–try box breathing and meditation

  • Stop smoking and vaping–kick the habit with the help of Unu

  • Limit your alcohol intake–booze should be for special occasions only


How can you avoid hidden sugars?

Become a label lover and look out for:

  • Words ending in -ol or -ose(e.g., mannitol, sorbitol, ethyl maltol, glucose, sucralose, dextrose, fructose, galactose, d-ribose, etc.)

  • Syrup (e.g., brown rice syrup, malt syrup, high fructose corn syrup, date syrup, etc.)

  • Agave nectar

  • Date sugar

  • Coconut palm sugar

  • Barley malt

  • Molasses

  • Evaporated cane juice

  • Fruit juice concentrate

  • Beet sugar

  • Caramel

  • Maltodextrin


How do you manage diabetes if you have it?

  • Don’t skip meals and never eat on the go. Try to eat at least three meals a day at 
regular times

  • Eat a variety of salads, fruits, veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fatty fish & lean meat

  • Eat foods that are low in ‘bad’ or trans fats

  • Avoid deep-frying your food–steam, grill, bake or air fry instead

  • Avoid processed foods like pies, white bread, cheese, ready-made meals, and processed meats like hot dogs & polonies

  • Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks and sodas

  • Maintain a regular exercise routine–start with 7 minutes and work your way up to 30min or more each day

  • Walk and take the stairs whenever you can


When it comes to diseases like diabetes, small steps can lead to huge success. Awareness is 
the first step: the food we eat is one of the most powerful tools we have to prevent diseases in 
our bodies. Add some exercise to that new awareness, and you’ll be well on your way to a diabetes-free life.