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From November 1 to 4, 2017 more than 1,500 health-care professionals will participate in the Diabetes Canada/Canadian Society for Endocrinology and Metabolism Professional Conference and Annual General Meetings in Edmonton, Alberta. They will discuss the latest research into diabetes treatment and the progress being made towards a cure, as well as take part in networking events that include many meals. What won’t be on the menu is sugary drinks.                                          

“As part of our work to educate Canadians about the direct link between excessive sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and type 2 diabetes, we have been advocating for changes to the food environment that encourage health promotion rather than disease promotion,” says Dr. Jan Hux, chief science officer for Diabetes Canada. “We have been asking for a levy on sugary drinks, as well as for clearer labeling so that Canadians know how much sugar they are consuming when they have a soda, energy drink or other beverage. We also wanted to “walk the talk” at our own event – all vending machines will be removed and we will not be serving sugary drinks at any of the meals included as part of Conference attendance.”

That doesn’t mean that all treats are off the table, as Diabetes Canada’s education coordinator and registered dietitian Stephanie Boutette explains, “Making healthy choices can mean having treats in moderation, so when we designed the menu we looked at what was available and selected the options that meet our guidelines. That meant including some desserts, but also making sure people have options that include fruits, vegetables and lean proteins whenever possible.”

Diabetes Canada has long been an advocate for changes to how Canadians consume sugar. The organization’s position statement on sugar suggests, among other things, limiting the intake of free sugars to less than 10 per cent of total daily calorie intake, limiting intake of sugary drinks and choosing water in its place, as well as promoting the consumption of whole foods. All of this is aimed at helping Canadians both with and without diabetes live longer, healthier lives.

With more than a thousand of Canada’s top diabetes health-care professionals in attendance at the Professional Conference, the opportunity to make healthy choices is expected to be warmly embraced. “Frontline professionals working with people living with diabetes know that whether it’s helping someone with type 1 diabetes calculate the right insulin dose for their carbohydrate consumption or helping someone with type 2 diabetes navigate weight loss issues, decisions to support health are something they must encourage every day,” says Dr. Hux.

And should there be any concerns related to low blood sugar episodes for attendees living with diabetes? The team is prepared with fast-acting glucose sources available on-site.

To learn more about the Diabetes Canada/CSEM Professional Conference visit

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