A helpline is receiving 54 call a day from Britons seeking advice about diabetes and diet
Incredibly, many still do not realise that Type 2 is largely caused by lifestyle with obesity the single biggest factor.
Latest figures show there are around 12 million people in the UK at increased risk of developing the debilitating disease.
Nine in 10 Type 2 sufferers are overweight or obese and do not produce enough insulin, or the insulin they produce does not work properly.
Colette Marshall, of Diabetes UK, said: “Our Helpline provides a vital service to many; our counsellors were contacted more than 20,000 times last year by people looking for information and guidance. “We’re seeing the number of calls about diet and lifestyle steadily increase, which highlights what a wide and growing issue this is.
“Questions can range from very broad issues about healthy eating in general to very specific questions about particular types of food and how they might affect someone’s diabetes.
“It’s far from a straightforward issue and can be very confusing, particularly for people who are newly diagnosed.”
Eating well and maintaining a healthy weight is known to reduce a person’s risk of Type 2 with
Currently, 3.6 million Britons have Type 2 - up almost 75 per cent in a decade - with the condition costing the NHS more than £10 billion a year to treat.
A decade ago no child in Britain had Type 2 but there are now more than 500.
They are twice as likely to have a heart attack and three times as likely to have kidney disease.
Last week health chiefs said everyone over 40 should be checked to see if they are at risk of Type 2, with two million offered a place on a diet and exercise programme.
Guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said risk tests should be carried out in GP surgeries and pharmacies.
Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at Nice, said: “We know that helping someone to make simple changes to their diet and exercise levels can significantly reduce their risk of developing diabetes.
“We need to make sure that the people most at risk have access to the care they need.”
It comes as the NHS is set to provide a non-surgical, reversible weight loss device for Type 2 diabetes and obesity using a 2ft long tube which prevents food coming into contact with the small intestine.
• Diabetes UK Helpline 0345 123 2399.