The choice is yours; breakfast or diabetes?

Mon, 2 Nov 2015 Source: Essel, Kojo Cobba

The diabetes epidemic is real but after November 14th each year we all go to sleep till it’s time for another fun fare. At the current rate at which this condition is snatching new converts, almost 600 million of us will be living with diabetes by 2035. Most of the discussions focus on Type 2 Diabetes which is by far the commonest. Type 1 and Gestational (related to pregnancy) Diabetes as well as other less common varieties also exist. 2014-2016 World Diabetes Day programmes focus on ''Healthy Living and Diabetes'' and our specific theme for 2015 is ''HEALTHY LIVING STARTS AT BREAKFAST''.

Breakfast pops up again. What can we do without breakfast? Our first meal of the day defines our health, performance and even wealth. Have you eaten breakfast lately? What about today? Will you rather eat breakfast and reduce your risk of diabetes and other lifestyle diseases or like the majority of us you have no time to eat breakfast. After all you have not eaten breakfast for over 20 years and still counting. STOP. THINK and ACT APPROPRIATELY. Breakfast is a life-changer.

We all need to start the day right by eating a healthy breakfast. Ideally breakfast should be within 2 hours of waking up. Let us keep things simple for now as we will spend most of November talking about Diabetes. What you eat should be in sync with your level of activity, so eating two balls of kenkey and slumping in a chair all morning is not what the doctor recommended but for someone digging a gutter all morning that quantity of food may be adequate.

- A healthy breakfast should help prevent blood sugar from rising too high and should keep you full throughout the morning.

- Consider cutting down sugar and refined foods such as white bread

- For those who indulge in artificial juice and coloured water with a good shot of sugar being paraded under different names, do beware.

- Remember that if even you already have Diabetes preventing your blood sugar yo-yoing will help you control blood sugar better.

- Breakfast is key to controlling ones weight (or fat to be precise). Being fat or overweight may lead to insulin resistance hence predisposing one to Type 2 Diabetes.

- A reminder here; skipping breakfast has not helped people lose fat. It often backfires making weight/fat loss a challenge.

- Breakfast makes you more physically active.

- Increased physical activity helps protect us from lifestyle diseases and even helps us better manage lifestyle diseases like Diabetes if we already have it.

- Breakfast also improves concentration and performance in the classroom and at work

- This also means children are more active at play and reduce their chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes as they grow.

- Children learn better with breakfast leading to smarter adults.

- Do not short –change your employer or your work. You are definitely not performing at your peak when you skip breakfast. It really does not matter if you think you are a super-performer; you could have done better with breakfast. - Food is fuel for the body and especially your brain. By re-charging with breakfast you will be more efficient hence making up for the time you spent eating breakfast.

- Cholesterol levels are also lowered with regular breakfast and remember that monitoring or keeping an eye on your cholesterol levels is a must in proper Diabetes management

It appears hunger has a way of tormenting those of us who skip breakfast pushing us to snack more and eat more at lunch and throughout the day. Our plan to skip breakfast so we can save on extra calories or get to school or work early is totally defeated.

DO NOT get caught up in the vicious cycle: take a break and EAT BREAKFAST it could mean preventing Diabetes or better control of Diabetes if you already have the condition.

The decision is ultimately yours but I urge you to; CHOOSE BREAKFAST OVER DIABETES!!!


Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel

Moms' Health Club/Health Essentials


Dr Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.

Thought for the week - ''If you have diabetes it doesn't mean giving up the food and fun you enjoy. Instead you will have to adopt new healthy habits, learn about the condition and work with a team of healthcare professionals to reach your goals.''


1. Health monitor ; Guide to Diabetes

2. International Diabetes Federation Website

3. www.diabetes.co.uk/World-Diabetes-Day.html

4. www.webmd.com/diet

Columnist: Essel, Kojo Cobba