Home' Link : issue 1 Contents Stemming the diabetes epidemic is a global issue. More
than 220 million people worldwide now have the disease,
with that figure set to double by 2030, reports the World
Health Organisation. In Australia, 90 0,000 people are
estimated to be a ected, 90 per cent of them with Type II diabetes
which is commonly linked to lifestyle factors such as obesity.
e costs to both gover nment and the individual are
substantial. For the former, it means a spiralling health budget; for
the latter, potential long-ter m damage to nerves, eyes, kidneys and
other organs as well as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Now researchers hope that finding new ways to decrease the
amount of sugar in the average wester n diet, and easier ways to
manage the condition itself, will lead to reduced healthcare costs
and an improvement in the health of global populations.
Agricultural consultant and CQUniversity Honorary Research
Fellow Andrew Rank, colleague Professor David Midmore, and
their associates, are fast becoming the go-to experts on a natural,
kilojoule-free suga r substitute, Stevia. Commercial use of the
plant, they say, could assist in reducing kilojoule loads and weight
gain and help diabetes su erers, who are unable to automatically
regulate blood glucose levels, to better manage their diet.
Recently Midmore, the Director of the Centre for Plant and
Water Science, was asked to give a presentation in Shanghai about
the biological qualities of Stevia and its potential as a cash crop for
growers and retailers worldwide. "Stevia is estimated to eventually
provide 15 to 20 per cent of the world's sweeteners," he says. " is
would be valued at US$7-10 billion out of the cur rent US$50 billion
In the battle against diabetes,
CQUniversity is developing
innovative technologies to help
reduce the impact of the disease
that's become a western epidemic,
writes H H .
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