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What is lactose in Milk?

We recently released our new French Vanilla meal replacement - a delicious product which can be used to help with weight loss (replace one meal with a glass of this each day), or can also be used to get those important vitamins and minerals into fussy or picky eaters. As it tastes just like a Vanilla Milkshake children will love it.

You simply mix a sachet of this with Skim Milk. Although there is no sugar in our meal replacement, there is sugar in the lactose in milk so we thought we would explain exactly what lactose is, and what it does.

Lactose, is the naturally-occurring sugar in milk.

There are many natural sugars – like glucose, fructose and sucrose – and these sugars are found widely in nature; from fruits, vegetables and grains to honey and maple sap. But lactose? It’s almost non-existent in nature outside the milk of mammals – humans, cows, goats and sheep alike.

Lactose is composed of glucose and galactose, two simpler sugars used as energy directly by our body. Lactase, an enzyme, splits lactose into glucose and galactose. According to more recent studies, lactose may play a role in the absorption of calcium and other minerals such as copper and zinc, especially during infancy. Moreover, if it is not digested in the small intestine, lactose may be used by the intestinal microbiota (the microorganism population that lives in the digestive tract) as a nutrient (prebiotic). Lactose and other milk sugars also promote the growth of bifidobacteria in the gut and may play a life-long role in countering the aging-associated decline of some immune functions.

When we drink milk or have a milk-based product, lactase in our small intestines breaks down the milk sugar. It then gets absorbed into the body through the small intestines.

But people who are lactose intolerant don’t have it so easy. In them, the lactose doesn’t get broken down. Instead, it goes on to the colon, where it mixes with normal bacteria and ferments. It can cause things like gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Thankfully, there are many lactose free milk and dairy products to choose from. Like regular milk, lactose-free milk is a good source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, riboflavin and vitamin D.

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FIAL Celebrates Australian Food Innovation With Book Launch

Our team at The Diabetes Kitchen were thrilled to receive this email today:

Congratulations on being featured in FIAL's new Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations Book!

We appreciate the time and effort it took to apply, but more importantly, to develop your innovative product. This is what will keep growing the Australian food and agribusiness industries on the global stage.

This is the 4th edition of the book and the FIAL team has searched far and wide to find some of the best innovations in the country - from small businesses to multinationals, the new 2019 book edition showcases 50 innovations from across the whole value chain.

You're amongst great company.

(They are sending us a copy but if you'd like to buy one you can order them here:

Diabetes and Foot Care

When you are managing diabetes it is important to take extra good care of your feet. This is because, over time, diabetes may cause nerve damage, also called diabetic neuropathy, that can cause tingling and pain, and can make you lose feeling in your feet. Blood supply to feet can be hindered because of the vascular changes to the blood vessels.

When you lose feeling in your feet, you may not feel a pebble inside your sock or a blister on your foot, which can lead to cuts and sores. Cuts may become infected.

Check your feet every day.

You may have foot problems, but feel no pain in your feet. Checking your feet each day will help you spot problems early before they get worse. A good way to remember is to check your feet each evening when you take off your shoes. Check between your toes. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, try using a mirror to see them, or ask someone else to look at your feet.

Look for problems such as

  • cuts, sores, or red spots
  • swelling or fluid-filled blisters
  • ingrown toenails, in which the edge of your nail grows into your skin
  • corns or calluses, which are spots of rough skin caused by too much rubbing or pressure on the same spot
  • plantar warts, which are flesh-colored growths on the bottom of the feet
  • athlete’s foot
  • warm spots

Wear Shoes and Socks at all times.

Don't walk barefoot or in just socks – even when you are indoors. You could step on something and hurt your feet. You may not feel any pain and may not know that you hurt yourself.

Check the inside of your shoes before putting them on, to make sure the lining is smooth and free of pebbles or other objects.

Podiatrists recommend having a consultation every 8-12 weeks, as well as a thorough circulation and nerve test every six months to try and minimise possible difficulties and injuries.

Medicare may provide a rebate on podiatry fees if you have a referral from your doctor. You can find a podiatrist in your area here.

New Menu (and what we did with our remaining meals)

You'll probably know by now that this week we launched our amazing new diabetes meal range and they started despatching last week! We're so excited to hear your feedback.

We've kept some of your favourites and added some more fibre and reduced the salt - the flavours are even more tasty and we know you'll love them. 

From now on we'll be introducing new meals seasonally to keep our menu varied and give you lots of ready to reheat meals to choose from.

Our existing meals were expiring in October so whilst we could have kept selling them, we decided to launch our yummy new menu and donate the existing meals to the Salvation Army and Prahran Mission for their kitchens. These charities provide meals to the homeless and folk who need help. Both such very worthy organisations who are grateful for donations, so we were pleased to be able to do this.

In the meantime we've been busy formulating our new French Vanilla meal replacement and this will be ready late September. It's just divine!

Does cinnamon lower blood sugars?

A friend of ours was recently diagnosed with T2 diabetes and mentioned that she was advised to sprinkle cinnamon on her brekkie as it was helpful in lowering blood sugars. So we decided to investigate if that was true.

Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices and is derived from the inner bark of various trees in the species Cinnamomum. It has been used for centuries in herbal medicine to treat things like bronchitis, and is also used as a flavour in sweets, savouries and beverages. It has a very pleasant taste and smells delicious. But does it help in managing diabetes?

Does cinnamon help with diabetes

According to the Mayo clinic, although there have been several studies on whether cinnamon really does lower blood sugars there is no real evidence to suggest that it does. Some studies say yes and others say no. And of course it depends on what doses are being used in studies, and who they are testing them on.

The idea behind this is that cinnamon may help the body to use insulin more efficiently - but again, there are no studies that have proved this to be true. Cinnamon in high doses can be very dangerous for people with liver disease.

Cinnamon has been to show the following benefits:

  • Have an anti-clotting effect on the blood
  • Relieve pain in arthritis sufferers
  • Boost the body’s immune system
  • Stop medication-resistant yeast infections
  • Help in relieving indigestion
  • Reduce the proliferation of leukaemia and lymphoma cancer cells
  • Preserve food by inhibiting bacterial growth and food spoilage
  • Be a great source of vital nutrients, including calcium, fibre, managanese and iron

So there are various studies showing that cinnamon does help in lowering blood sugar but there are also studies showing it doesn't. It's always best to check with your health professional.

At the end of the day cinnamon is a delicious and aromatic spice that can be enjoyed on many dishes. 

Here at The Diabetes Kitchen our dietitian and food technologist are in the midst of developing our new Vanilla with a touch of cinnamon meal replacement now - it's simply delicioius and launches next month.



Type 1 Diabetes - Know the signs

640 people end up in hospital each year because the early signs of type 1 diabetes are missed. Do you know the 4T early signs of type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes signs

Visit to find out more.

Lipstick and a Smile - Living with Type 1

Today we share a blog from Renza S who is simply amazing. She talks about living with diabetes T1. She writes:

The other night, I cancelled going to a party – a cousin’s kid’s 18th– at the last minute. I seriously never do this. And I absolutely hated doing it.

But I’d had a couple of hypos during the day (Fiasp is absolutely kicking my arse) and I was feeling exhausted. These hypos weren’t what I’ve become used to dealing with (i.e. Loop hypos for me generally look like an alert telling me I’m going to head low, me ignoring it, alert saying I am really about to be low – but not really low because Loop is doing its thing, me having a couple of fruit pastilles, and that’s it). These were the types of hypos that spin me around, turn me upside down and resettle me feeling completely discombobulated. It had been a while.

After the second one, I was so knocked out that I lay down for a bit and ended up getting an hour’s sleep. It was mid-afternoon and when I woke up, I felt no more refreshed.

I contemplated going to the party – I had a shower and started to put on some make up. I looked fine – no different to how I usually look. If I’d gone, no one would have known any different.

Earlier in the day, after I’d already had the first hypo, Aaron had posted a photo of me online. The next day, when I mentioned to someone that I had cancelled plans the evening before thanks to a lousy diabetes day, said ‘Oh. I saw a photo of you online in the morning and you looked great.’

They didn’t mean this in a nasty way, or that they thought I had just cancelled because I couldn’t be bothered going out. It was just a comment. And they were right – I looked exactly the way I would look any other weekend morning when I was having breakfast with family and friends

The next day I was messaging a friend with diabetes and mentioned I’d cancelled my plans at the last minute the night before. ‘Oh babe,’ she said. ‘How’s the hypo hangover?’ and then she detailed all the things that are the inevitable fallout of nasty (and nasty-ish) lows; the things I’d not mentioned to others who’d asked after me.

I told her she had nailed exactly how I was feeling. I told her what had happened, and I didn’t hold back, and I didn’t minimise it. I knew she wouldn’t worry or be unnecessarily concerned or wonder if it was anything more than what it was. I knew she would know – because those feelings are wound into the DNA of diabetes and the people living with it.

Plus, she would know just how I felt about the last-minute cancellation, and feeling that I’d let people down.

‘So, I bet you’re feeling even more crap about cancelling that about the hypos now, right?’ she said.

I laughed. ‘You know it!’ I said to her

‘Don’t you sometimes wish that when you were having a shitty diabetes day it couldn’t be covered up so easily with lipstick and a smile?’ she said, hitting me right in the guts with that comment.

Because she was so right. Lipstick and a smile. That’s every diabetes day. It’s there when I’m feeling great and all is going well; when diabetes is behaving and not impacting on me much at all. And it’s there when I’m feeling crap and diabetes is casting far too large a shadow over my existence for that day. But for most people, they couldn't tell the difference.

You can read Renza's blog posts here.

Juggling diabetes at work

Once again we share a post from our good friend Nikki Wallis, on a trick she learned to help her manage her diabetes at work. Enjoy!

Do you find it tricky to manage your diabetes when you have a million things going on?

Diabetes is challenging at the best of times, but let’s face it, it can be even trickier at work or uni, or when you have multiple deadlines and a million things on your mind.

I had a recent experience that changed the way I now do things at work.

It taught me to be more confident with my diabetes and to find little tricks to make managing my diabetes in difference situations, that much easier.

So what happened? 

I was running a meeting recently and towards the end, I found myself starting to pause. 

At that point, I realised that my worst fear had come true … my bloods were starting to drop. 

I’ve had type 1 diabetes for over 35 years and it’s definitely a 24/7 condition.

Diabetes is challenging at the best of times; there’s the constant monitoring of blood sugar levels, carbohydrate counting and insulin dosing.

But every now and then, diabetes slaps you in the face, and throws you a curve-ball you weren’t expecting. 

Unexpected lows are bad enough on a normal day at home, but in the workplace this can be even tougher.

I had done a test before the meeting and was 5.2, so I wasn’t expecting my bloods to drop much. But they did. 

Generally I find it easy to manage my diabetes at work, because I’m lucky to have an office job and can test my bloods and have a snack at any time if I need to.

But when my bloods started to fall during this meeting, it rattled me, because I wasn’t expecting to experience what I did. 


My instinct was to interrupt the meeting to reach into my bag for some lollies.

But I was shocked to find that my survival instinct was suppressed by thoughts of how this would be perceived by people in the room.

“You don’t eat in meetings, it’s rude,” I thought. 

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so for me, professionally there is no room for error.

In a world driven by KPIs, deadlines, competition and constant drive to be better, we all put a lot of pressure on ourselves, with or without diabetes.

The dilemma 

What to do.

I thought of excusing myself and pretending I had to go to the bathroom, but again, survival instinct was taken over by thoughts of how this would be perceived.

“You should have gone to the bathroom before the meeting started, how disorganised,” I thought. 

Then a light bulb idea came to mind – I’d pretend I have a really important phone call, that way I could leave the room.

But no, again my survival instinct was quashed by thoughts of how this would be perceived.

So I was left with only one option – to walk the plank and finish the meeting. This is exactly what I did.

Aftermath realisation 

Once the meeting was over, I politely dashed out of the room and ate some lollies. I felt my blood sugars returning to normal, which generally is a relief, but not this time.

The reality of the situation had kicked in.

I wish I had gone with my gut and intervened.

The irony was that the room was full of people who work in health and know all about diabetes and healthcare.

In hindsight, no one would have blinked an eye-lid if I’d said something.

At that moment, I realised just how much pressure I had put on myself to be, dare I say it, ‘normal’. 

This is the struggle that many of us face. 

Unfortunately I can’t fix my diabetes, there’s no cure. I can’t get rid of it.

A realisation struck me at that point – as daunting as this was, it probably won’t be the last time I’d face a situation like this. So now what? 

I had to be resilient.

I had to do things differently.

Little tricks 

The reality is there’s not a great deal you can do. You can’t fix diabetes. 

So little changes could make a big difference. I decided to try something new.

Generally, I carry around lollies in a plastic Tupperware container in my bag, but opening and closing it can be noisy and awkward.

I wanted a solution that would be quiet, quick and non-distracting. But what? 

That night, I found myself rummaging in the cupboard and came across some packets of Mentos left over from my daughter’s Birthday party.

“Perfect”, I thought!

They were just the right size and because of the cylindrical packet, they fit nicely into my work folder, which has a hidden compartment where I could store them discreetly for easy access. 

I could also easily slip out a Mentos from the packet without making lots of noise or commotion.

Now I’m not affiliated with Mentos so I’m not trying to convince you to buy a particular lolly. I eat all kinds. The point is that finding the right product for your situation, can make a big difference.  

For me, this small change meant the difference between being too nervous to take action, versus having the confidence to take control of a situation.  

This experience enabled me to change my own perception of how I manage my diabetes and to build confidence and resilience.  

Now mentally and physically better equipped, I’m ready for my next diabetes challenge. Look out diabetes here I come!

(Read Nikki's blog here)

What kind of fruit is ok for diabetes?

Managing diabetes doesn't mean avoiding fruit - although that seems to be a popular myth. It's about managing blood sugar levels and some fruits are very high in sugars (called natural sugars, not added). But what should you avoid and what is ok? We share some information from Barbie Cervoni (Dietitian and Diabetes Educator). She says:

If you have diabetes, chances are someone has said that you are not allowed to eat fruit. This is not true; people with diabetes can eat fruit as part of their healthy eating plan. But, because fruit is a carbohydrate, it will affect your blood sugar and you cannot eat unlimited amounts. Certain fruits may cause your blood sugars to spike at a quicker pace than others. The tricky part about eating with diabetes is that everyone responds to food differently. While one person may be able to eat apples without any issue, someone else may find that apples cause their blood sugars to spike. Testing your blood sugars before and after eating fruit can help you to determine which fruits are best for you.

Other ways to keep blood sugars controlled while enjoying fruit is to think about the context in which you eat it. You'll have a better chance at keeping your blood sugars controlled if you avoid juice altogether, limit your fruit servings to no more than two-to-three per day (one serving = 15 g of carbohydrate), pair your fruit with protein, or include it into your meal as part of your carbohydrate choice, and avoid fruits that are very ripe. The riper a fruit is the higher its glycemic index, which means it will raise your blood sugar more than a food with a low glycemic index.

In addition to juice, there are certain fruits that make my do-not-eat list. These fruits have been placed on this list either because they have a higher glycemic index or because most people overeat them, which results in higher blood sugar.

Barbie says that her 7 fruits to avoid are: grapes, cherries, pineapple, mango, banana, dried fruits and fruit juices.

Read why here. 

Amcal Diabetes Check

Did you know that you can get your blood sugar level checked at Amcal by a trained pharmacist? 

If you are unsure whether you could be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, ask your Amcal pharmacist for a Diabetes Risk Assessment. 

You may be at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes if any/all of the following apply - you: 

  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are over 40 years old
  • Are physically inactive and/or have poor nutrition
  • Are a smoker
  • Have high blood pressure

Amcal’s Diabetes Risk Assessment can assess your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and covers:

  • On-the-spot finger prick blood test (HbA1c)* (additional + fees may apply)
    • A HbA1c test measures the amount of glucose (sugar) attached to your red blood cells. The test provides a measure of whether there has been too much sugar in your blood over the previous 3 months.

You can book your test here.

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  • What is lactose in Milk?

    We recently released our new French Vanilla meal replacement - a delicious product which can be used to help with weight loss (replace one meal with a glass of this each day), or can also be used to get those... read more

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