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From piggeries to veggies, this is our story

From the very start (back in 1991) the principle behind how we craft our food has been, and will continue to be the same: Wherever possible do no harm.  This is our mantra and our guiding value. 

I became a vegetarian in the late 80’s for a number of reasons. The most important of these was the obvious cruelty in factory farming and the ravages caused to our total environment by farming for meat. With a lack of protein alternatives available in the market place, and my own personal challenge to stay within the confines of this diet, I started to research and develop foods that created a healthy alternative, thus providing a solution for the breaking of the habit of meat-eating, and keeping it fun, and easy. I decided to start making a solution for myself, my family, and of course, other like-minded people who saw giving up meat as a tough challenge.

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I started in our kitchen, with our Kenwood mixer and a few ingredients, with Debbie, my wife, and the kids pitching in and helping wherever possible.  The cornerstone of our home recipes was to use the very best ingredients to craft our foods. Thus, it was obvious from the start that MSG, food colourants, nasty chemicals, Genetically Modified ingredients, Hydrogenated fats, cholesterol, and of course absolutely any animal products in whatever form, had to be excluded from our daily development of recipes. What had to be included was a great protein value thus vindicating the argument or common question to vegetarians or vegans about “where do you get your protein”.  All the while, the prime concern I had was to ensure that my own family would in every way benefit from a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Lastly, of most crucial importance was that the food needed to taste great. Therefore, taste has no compromise in all of The Fry Family Food Co.’s range of foods, even to this day.

When Fry’s first reached the supermarket shelves, we decided that the same love, care and methods that we used in our kitchen would simply be upscaled without even the subtlest alterations to our home-style preparation, was how we would continue to make our food.  Attention to detail with absolute awareness about what would be impacted by our actions, was a prime focus.

“Through my personal choices and actions, I can help change the world” became our mantra and the mantra of our staff and many of our loyal customers.

With all of these guiding principles being our daily practice and motivation, Fry’s has become a well-known Brand in over 25 countries, proving that our bid for the above principles attracts millions of people worldwide.

Want to find out more about our story? Click here.

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Fry’s and well I am 6:12 weeks and life-long change!

It’s time for well i am 6!

I’m Lisa Raleigh, and I’ve been working in the wellness for over 15 years now. In 2011, I decided to create a wellness challenge – with a difference!

I love the era of fitness challenges we have been growing for the last decade, and have always wanted to create a community of health that inspired individuals to THRIVE. Challenges are such a team effort, and the power of motivation, incentives, specific goals and TEAM SPIRIT does wonders for one’s health and fitness!

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The idea behind well i am is to keep things realistic. well i am is accessible, online, flexible, balanced, holistic, and long-term. No quick fixes, unsustainable habits, or restrictions here! well i am is a way of life that serves you beyond the challenge’s start and end date.

When you sign up to our challenge, the R499 entry fee earns you: a wellness kit, two health screenings at Dis-Chem, weekly training programmes from our coaches, a choice of weekly nutritional plans from certified dietitians, an exclusive online community that offers incredible support daily and free wellness events held around SA! there is a life-changing R20 000 cash AND additional prizes for 4 of our winners (Transformation and Physique), as well as great incentives for our runners up. well i am doesn’t conflict with any existing fitness challenges – online or other. So you can enjoy being on other challenges at the same time – and double your chances of winning!

well i am 6 starts 5th September (just in time for summer prep!) and we are so honoured to have Fry’s Family Foods on board! Sponsors play such a valuable role in what well i am offers the public, and brands that reinforce the message of holistic, long-term health – not just results – are what make well i am so special. With Fry’s joining the family, we’re excited to be offering more plant-based meal inspiration, tips for eating clean and consciously, and – of course – plenty of incentives along the way!

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While there’s no denying the value of a life-changing cash prize, I want to emphasize the real gain that well i am offers – healthy foundations that will last a lifetime. Health is our real wealth – realistically, we have nothing without it! Exercise and nutritious foods are the leading preventers of chronic disease and yet are so often underestimated and under-utilised. Together with Fry’s, we want to encourage people to start THRIVING, not just surviving. That means relishing delicious, healthy meals, enjoying action-packed activities as part of a lifestyle, not just necessity, and really pushing our bodies to reach the healthy potential they are designed for.

Ready to change? Have a look at well i am online for more on what we offer.

Follow well i am now on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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The post Fry’s curry cook-off competition

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Meat-free curried dishes don’t have to be boring – they can be just as delicious as their meat counterparts but with all the added health benefits of a vegetarian diet. And to get the gastronomic creative juices flowing, we partnered with Fry’s Family Foods for our first vegetarian Curry Cook-Off in South Africa.

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To help prepare food fit for the Gods, the POST/Fry’s Curry Cook-Off will take place during September and October to coincide with the month-long Tamil fasting month of Purtassi, as well as the Hindu period of Pitru Paksha, when ancestors are worshipped. Two regional semi-finals will be held at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom in Durban and at Carnival City in Johannesburg. The final cook-off will take place at the Wild Coast Sun.

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Celebrity chefs such as Deena Naidoo and Asha Maharaj will sample the dishes to choose a winner. Now get ready to take part in the POST/Fry’s Curry Cook-Off by creating original dishes incorporating any of Fry’s 21 products.

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To enter, simply fill in an entry form (download here) and attach it to your original recipe using one or more of the Fry’s range. Then scan and email to [email protected] or drop off at Independent Media, 18 Osborne Street, Greyville, in the POSTcompetition box.


The deadline for entries is 12 noon on June 17!

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Fry’s on the go

The past couple of months have been really busy here at Fry’s! We thought we would keep you in the loop with what has happened… and this is just the start. There is so much more we are planning to do before the end of this year. So watch this space!

Greenpop’s Reforest Fest

The team first started off with the Greenpop Reforest Fests in Platbos, just outside Hermanus in the Western Cape. Nearly 1000 people were kept fueled with delicious plant-powered food while they planted over 8000 trees. The Greenpoppers have now planted over 34 000 trees in the Platbos area!

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Phil Wollen in South Africa

Phil Wollen is a former Vice-President of Citibank and now, full-time Philanthropist, whose organisation, Kindness Trust, supports some 500 humanitarian projects for children, animals and the environment in over 40 countries around the world. He received Australian of the Year Victoria in 2007 and the Medal of the Order of Australia. He made time in his busy schedule to visit South Africa to promote awareness about the positive impact that plant-based diets have on the planet and the animals that inhabit it. Phil visited our factory while on his tour of the country, where we asked him “If You Could Say One Thing to the People of the World, What Would It Be?”

Have a look at what he had to say:

Read more about Wally’s story in this article from the Hippo blog.

Fry’s AGM

If you have been living under a rock for the past few months you may not have known about the first Fry’s Annual Green Meeting in Cape Town last month. The Fry’s AGM was a day full of fun, food, music, and inspiration powered by plants. Where Capetonians heard from leading plant-based advocates about not only the benefits of eating your vegetables, but how to be an effective agent of positive change.

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In case you missed it, here is the Official After Film of the AGM:

Tammy Fry Kelly visits UKZN and Moorton Heights Primary School

Our very own Marketing Director, Tammy Fry Kelly, spent some time with the young women from UKZN as part of her self-defense training course, Tough Love, which aims to empower women with the necessary skills to defend themselves in life-threatening situations. Over 150 students packed the lecture hall, and this time the pen wasn’t mightier as the young women were shown what to do when they are in danger.

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Next up was a visit to Moortons Heights Primary School in Chatsworth, where all the young students, primarily from a disadvantaged background, were given an inspirational talk as well as a delicious plant-powered meal courtesy of Fry’s and Food for Life. This is part of the ongoing work that Fry’s does with the organisation, Food for Life, which distributes over 10 000 vegetarian plates of food daily to hungry mouths across Durban and surrounding areas.

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This was a quick glance at what we are doing around the country! Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates; and let us know what you are doing to make a difference.

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Animal proteins versus plant proteins

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by Tammy Fry Kelly, Marketing Director – Fry’s Family Foods

Most people really believe that the only way you can get protein is from animals – think meat, eggs, and dairy!  And the age-old myth that Vegans cannot be as strong and as healthy as their meat-eating counterparts is exactly that – an age-old myth!

Let’s talk more about plant proteins – where are they found, and why are they better for you than animal protein. Big statement, but I am sticking to it! In order to understand protein, you need to know some of the basics.

Proteins are made up of amino acids.  There are said to be 9 essential amino acids, or in simple terms, amino acids that our body needs but cannot “manufacture” itself.  We need to get these from the food we eat.  When we consume protein, our body breaks down the protein into its components and then “manufactures” the right strands of protein for what our body requires at that particular time. This is not a difficult job for our bodies to do – it is what we are designed to do.

It is critical to note that plant proteins contain all of these 9 essential amino acids, and in levels often higher than meat.  In fact, most plants have protein levels equal to that of meat.  About 15% of the calorie level of plants is protein!  (And I bet this is news to you!)

But here’s the catch.  Animal Protein is closer in its make-up to human protein, hence the preconceived idea that it is a better source.  However, this does not mean that it is of better quality or good for long-term health.

Animal Protein has in fact been shown many times over to be detrimental to human health.

There have been many epidemiological studies and clinical research conducted, most notably, The China Study, that have proved this.

A collaboration between the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Cornell University, Oxford University, resulted in the most comprehensive study of diet, lifestyle and disease that has ever been conducted in the history of medical research. In the study, researchers surveyed a wide range of diseases, diet, and lifestyle factors across rural China and Taiwan, and produced more than 8,000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease – this was published as the China Study.

Some of the findings were:
Animal Protein in the diet (all sources – incl milk/egg or meat) is linked to:

Higher Cholesterol levels

Increased heart disease

Increase Type 1 Diabetes

Increased cell division – faster growth of cancer tumours, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases.

Increased osteoporosis 

I would like to share this graph which comes from T Colin Campbell Centre of Nutrition Studies:
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The same results were not prevalent with plant protein!  In fact plant proteins were shown to have the opposite effect:

Lower cholesterol levels
Reversal of heart disease
Lower rates of both types of Diabetes
Lower cancer growth (even reversed cancer)
Lower risk of osteoporosis

What was even more incredible is that even when people had a genetic predisposition to one or other of these diseases, a plant based diet prevented the actualisation of the disease.

So, no.  Plant proteins and animal proteins are not equal.  Plant proteins are better for your health than animal protein.

Do you have any questions about living well and eating better? Ask Tammy now on Twitter or read her blog

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South African women in business

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Celebrate the power of change with these women in business

In August, South Africans celebrate Women’s Month in remembrance of the more than 20’000 women who marched to the Union Buildings against the pass laws on 9 August 1956. Today, women in business are having a positive influence in South Africa and are part of the change which could lift the emerging market’s GDP by 12%. In 2012, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), found that 126 million women had started running businesses in 67 countries around the world, including South Africa. Businesswomen across the country are showing their entrepreneurial spirit and this is reflected by the statistics that show that 28% of senior management positions are held by women (compared to the global average of 21%).

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Fry’s is a business that operates as a family, with women playing a major role in all levels of operations and management. The company was co-founded by Debbie Fry, with her husband Wally back in 1991. Debbie was a born vegetarian and was part of the inspiration for Wally developing a range of meat alternatives that were high in protein and delicious. Their daughter, Tammy Fry Kelly, is the International Marketing Director of Fry’s Family Foods. Tammy combines her passion for healthy food and animal welfare to market a product that allows anyone to eat a compassionate diet.

The Board of Directors also consists of Hayley Richardson, who is the Technical Director. Hayley is responsible for the research and development of all new products and the maintenance of the highest factory standards. The South African business is run by Acting Managing Director, Caroline Garnett, who is a Chartered Accountant and the Chief Financial Officer. Caroline oversees all operations of the company and ensures that delicious food is available to all leading retailers across the country.

Fry’s Family Foods is dedicated to making a difference to the Earth and the animals that inhabit it. This is made possible by the businesswomen who make key decisions on how to grow the company in the most sustainable way possible.

Follow Tammy now if you want to find out more about Fry’s and the businesswomen who run it!

South-African-Business-Women

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The Soy story, Fry’s tells it factually

The soya bean has been part of the human diet for thousands of years and the Ancient Chinese believed it to be one of the five sacred grains vital for life (alongside rice, wheat, barley and millet.) This high regard has been carried through time and has been supported by scientific investigation in more recent years. Soya is now recognized as a ‘functional food’ (meaning that it has health-promoting properties) and is one of an elite group of foods, to obtain approval by the U.S. FDA for a health claim. (The FDA currently recommends 25g of soya protein per day for adults to potentially reduce the risk of heart disease.) (1)

However, despite it being a longstanding natural source of nutrition and an established ‘functional food,’ there are elements of controversy regarding soya consumption.

The first point to establish in this debate is that different sources of soya may have different nutritional implications. Like the current carbohydrate controversy, (which ultimately boils down to carefully choosing high fibre, whole grains over refined, high sugar varieties), the type of soya consumed should also be closely examined. The widespread genetic modification of agricultural soya has been associated with negative health and environmental consequences, but this must not be confused with soya that has been naturally farmed.

There are many areas of health, where natural soya foods are recommended as a part of nutritional therapy. These include heart disease, menopause, hormone dependant cancers (breast, prostate and endometrial) and bone health.

What makes soya a healthy choice?

  • Soya is a high-quality ‘complete’ protein! Soya is particularly important in a vegan diet, as it is one of the few plant products which provides protein that is nutritionally equivalent to meat. The nutritional quality of protein foods varies according to the amino acid profile of each. (Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and although the body can make some amino acids, there are certain ‘essential amino acids’ which are required from dietary sources.) ‘Complete’ proteins are those which contain all of the essential amino acids. All animal proteins are considered complete whereas plant proteins are generally incomplete (containing some, but not all of the essential amino acids.) However, soya is one of the few plant exceptions, which is recognized as a complete protein! Looking even more closely at protein quality, the WHO and U.S. FDA established the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) as the official assay for evaluating protein quality. Proteins that after correcting for digestibility provide amino acids equal to or in excess of human requirements receive a PDCAAS score of 1.0. Soya has been successfully rated as such, meaning that it meets the protein needs of human adults, when consumed as a sole source of protein. (2)
  • Soya is cholesterol-free! Cholesterol is only found in animal products, thus although soya protein has been classed as a protein equivalent to meat, chicken and fish, it has the added benefit of providing a cholesterol-free alternative.
  • Soya is a good plant source of Iron! There are different chemical forms of iron, some of which have a greater absorption potential than others. Although the general assumption is that plant-based sources of iron have a lower bioavailability than iron obtained from animal proteins, recent research has shown that most of the iron contained within soya, is of the well-absorbed form, ferritin! (3)
  • Soya protein is a wise choice for sports nutrition! The importance of protein in the diet of athletes (for muscle development during training,) is well known. What remains misunderstood on this topic, is the actual amount and preferred sources of dietary protein recommended to achieve muscle building. Protein needs are dependent on the type of sport and the total energy intake of athletes and whole food sources are usually recommended above supplements. Excessive protein consumption can result in compromising glucose levels, dehydration and kidney strain. (2) However, there is evidence that suggests soya protein puts less of a strain on the kidneys compared with intakes of animal protein. (4) Furthermore, high intakes of animal protein (which also contain fat), often result in a higher fat diet. This is not recommended for sportsmen and women due to the associated influence on body fat percentage. Soya can thus be embraced as a good protein source for athletes, being high in protein, but low in fat.
  • Soya contains isoflavones! Soya contains healthy phytochemicals (plant compounds) called isoflavones. There are various types of isoflavones, but two specifically (genistein and daidzein) have been studied closely and found to be very similar in structure to the hormone estrogen. These so-called ‘plant hormones’ are much weaker than true hormones, yet seem to have a positive influence on estrogen balancing in the body and have been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Phytoestrogens found in soya foods are also able to act as antioxidants, carcinogen blockers and tumor suppressors and may exert a protective effect against hormone-related cancers by binding at estrogen receptor sites.Further studies suggest that plant-based estrogens may reduce the incidence of vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes) of menopause and lastly that they may protect women against osteoporosis by the action of genistein, which stimulates osteoblasts (bone-forming cells). (2)

    Are there side effects to soya?

    As long as you are choosing good quality soya, which has not been genetically modified, there is little reason to avoid it, with the obvious exception being soya allergy.

    As far as the food hormone hype is concerned, soya does not have any mistrustful mechanisms! Dietary estrogens are at least 1000 times weaker when compared to the strength of circulating estrogens in most mammals. (5)

    Commonly asked questions allude to various eccentric theories including the effect of plant estrogens on men. However, evaluation of the clinical evidence concludes that isoflavones do not have feminizing effects on men at intakes even higher than are typical in the diet of Asian males. (6) Further, results of a meta-analysis (which is a summary study of previous studies) show no effect of soya protein on the reproductive hormones in men. (7)

    There have also been propositions in the literature linking soya foods to gout. (All protein foods contain substances called purines, which yield uric acid as a by-product of metabolism, and could thus supposedly aggravate acid build-up and the symptoms of gout.) However, although soya (being a protein) does have a moderate purine content, it is much lower than that of many high purine animal proteins. It is also worth noting that improvements in the efficacy of gout medication have largely replaced the need for rigid dietary restriction of purines in recent times.

    What about supplements?

    There is a big difference between soya-based foods and soya supplements, which contain a much higher concentration of isoflavones. There is no scientific evidence to support the practice of mega-dosing with soya and like most other healthy nutritional elements, soya is recommended as part of a balanced diet, where preference is always given to food sources over supplements.

    Conclusions

    Clinical studies indicative of the health benefits associated with soya, have typically used between 50 and 100mg of soya-derived isoflavones. This is equivalent to 15-20g soya protein (3). Fry’s products generally contain 8-10g soya protein per serving, which is reflectively a perfectly moderate level in accordance with the current science for safe and regular consumption.
    Fry’s products incorporate a blend of vegetable proteins, including, but not limited soya. We’ve done our research and we believe in balance, moderation and variety.
    Adding to this, we strongly recommend choosing soya products that are GM-free! (which is the start of another story, altogether  ?)

    References:

    (1) Hasler CM. Position of the American Dietetic Association: Functional foods. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2004;104(5): 814-26.
    (2) Mahan LK and Escott-Stump S; Krause’s Food, Nutrition and Diet Therapy; WB Saunders Company; 2000; pg58,548,275-6.
    (3) Messina, M; Insights gained from 20 years of soy research; The Journal of Nutrition. 2010; 140(12) 2289S-2295S
    (4) Messina, M; A Brief Historical Overview of the Past Two Decades of Soy and Isoflavone Research; The Journal of Nutrition. 2010; 140(12) 2289S-2295S
    (5) Setchell KD, Phytoestrogens: the biochemistry, physiology, and implication for human health of soy isoflavones; The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.1998;68(6)1333S-1346S.
    (6) Setchell KD; Fertil Steril. 2010 May 1;93(7):2095-104. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.03.002. Epub 2010 Apr 8.
    (7) Setchell KD; Fertil Steril. 2010 Aug;94(3):997-1007. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2009.04.038. Epub 2009 Jun 12.

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Diabetes update from Fry’s

A teaspoon of sugar. . . A drop in the ocean or a dangerous liaison?

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Sugar, once the only supposed causative culprit of high blood sugar, is actually now accepted as a lesser evil than various other sweetened and even unsweetened foods.

Caryn Davies, a registered dietician shares some perspectives on the sugar saga. Diabetes management is no longer solely focused on restricting all dietary items that contain sugar, but is rather centered on an understanding and avoidance of the foods which can dramatically raise blood sugar. Surprisingly, ‘sweetness’ is not necessarily an accurate predictor.

Of course, a teaspoon of sugar will increase one’s blood sugar, but more dramatic effects are interestingly noted after the consumption of highly refined carbohydrate foods, such as a slice of white or brown bread, a cup of certain breakfast cereals or fruit juice and even one rice cake. The ability of foods to affect our blood sugar after eating has been qualified and quantified in the context of the Glycemic Index (GI) and the Glycemic Load (GL), which give us insight into the type and amount of carbohydrates that should be consumed for optimal blood sugar control.

The best food choices for diabetics include carbohydrates that have been minimally processed (low GI carbohydrates), as these will result in a more gradual rise in blood sugar after eating, than the highly processed, more refined alternatives (high GI carbohydrates). Unlike carbohydrates, protein and fat do not exert an immediate rise in blood sugar and the effect of eating carbohydrates in conjunction with a small amount of healthy fat or lean protein is beneficial to overall glycemic control, as is the presence of fibre.

Many foods do contain a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, but some contain disproportionate amounts of fat, which is especially unhealthy for diabetics, as a high fat intake has the ability to reduce the efficiency of insulin, (the hormone which controls rising blood sugar). Thus, the key to effective diabetes management is to eat mixed and carefully balanced meals and to choose combination foods that are high in fibre and low in total and saturated fat.

Food shopping can get decidedly overwhelming as the topic of health can be interpreted and marketed in many different ways. Furthermore, food labeling is not always easy to decipher or even available.

The road to becoming consumer savvy starts with familiarizing oneself with common low GI foods and the concept of portion control. Well renowned low GI foods include unrefined starches, such as brown rice and oat bran; high protein grains such as quinoa, most legumes (beans, chickpeas & lentils), raw nuts and fruit & vegetable varieties that are eaten with the skin on. Whole foods, eaten as close to their natural form as possible, are the ultimate benchmark. Second to this, is portion control, because even a low GI carbohydrate consumed in large quantities could send blood sugar skyrocketing! (Potentially more than some high GI foods consumed in very small quantities.)

This brings us back to sugar –the currently considered vice of the modern diet! Perspective from the Glycemic Index, yields it somewhat acceptable in moderation. However, issues arise when portion control (the Glycemic Load) is ignored. Although a teaspoon of sugar in an afternoon cup of tea, may be relatively slight in effect, 4 cups of heavily sugared caffeine in a day paints another picture altogether. This coupled with the added sugar that is found in most cereals, convenience snack foods, sweetened dairy products and the diversity of drinks stocking the supermarket shelves these days, suddenly collaborate as a lifestyle risk factor for sugar addiction, insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity! (All of which can be exacerbated by an excess of sugar in the diet.)

These statistically increasing conditions of lifestyle, despite being manageable, are to a large extent preventable! All it takes is a little bit of consumer savvy! Choose high fibre carbohydrates (> 6g fibre per 100g,) products that are low in fat (<3 g per 100g,) and practice portion control! (Add extra salad for satiety!) These simple principles, although used as the base of diabetes management, are not only useful for diabetics, but for anyone seeking good health, weight control and sustained energy!