Is UAE eating too much butter? The worrying truth


Think twice before spreading that extra scoop of butter on your bread or paratha. A recent study has linked the consumption of 12 grams of butter per day to increasing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (T2D) by twice.

This study might be of concern for the residents of United Arab Emirates as more than 280,000 cases were diagnosed in 2015 – a rise of 35 per cent from the earlier year. Last year, a study of 500 Emiratis established a link between Type 2 Diabetes and genetics.

Dr Naushad Rais, assistant professor at the School of Life Science at Manipal University, was part of the study that found links between the disease and genes that cause obesity and high blood pressure.

“Butter consumption has never been a healthy diet option as various studies have shown. It increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases as it contains high amount of saturated and unsaturated fats and also trans fats. So we should always be careful about our butter consumption especially now as one study has proved its association with T2D risk as well.”

Explaining further the rising prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the emirates, “The increasing numbers has been attributed to sedentary lifestyle related factors, higher levels of urbanisation, ageing population and a higher intake of sugar.”

If you are in the emirates and want to stay away from Type 2 diabetes you need to kick your sedentary lifestyle. Sharing some tips, Dr. Rais says, “The young generation to include more physical work in their routine. Do regular exercise; even walking for around 5-10 km daily will help. Do not sit longer in front of computer screens or television but spend time playing sports. And of course, a healthy diet with less butter or any other form of fat should be preferred and sugar consumption be avoided.”

Diabetes in the MENA region

In the Middle East and North Africa Region region, approximately 35.4 million people, or 9.1% of adults aged 20-79, were living with diabetes in 2015. Over 40.6% of these are undiagnosed and 67.0% of people with diabetes live in urban environments.

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