UPDATE : 2024.6.3 Mon 00:19
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Young Diabetes in the 2030 Generation, How Serious Is it?
  • By Son Yu-jeong, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2024.05.20 00:00
  • 호수 333
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▲ Picture of Malatang and Tanghulu (Source: Gettyimagesbank)

Recently, a new word ‘Malatanghulu’ has appeared and caused a stir. It refers to the act of eating Malatang and enjoying Tanghulu for dessert. In particular, it is popular among the 2030 generation to eat salty and sweet high- carbohydrate and high- calorie foods like Malatanghulu. Last year, Tanghulu and Malatang ranked first and second on popular menus in a delivery application, respectively. Malatang and Tanghulu have very high levels of salt and sugar. The habit of eating such stimulating foods can cause ‘young diabetes,’ which occurs in adults under the age of 40.

Malatang is a dish made by adding red pepper powder and broad bean chili sauce to the oil, which is made by heating spices such as Sichuan pepper, Star Anise, Clove, and Fennel to create a scent, perfuming broth, and then boiling it with ingredients such as vegetables, meat, mushrooms, tofu, seafood, and glass noodles. If you eat one serving of Malatang, you will consume 2,000 to 3,000mg of natrium (sodium) contained in the spices. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the recommended daily natrium intake for adults is 2,000mg. Whereas, Tanghulu is a food made by putting fruit on a skewer, coating it with melted sugar and starch syrup, and hardening it like candy. According to the Korea Consumer Agency, one serving of Tanghulu contains 10 to 25g of sugar and has over 100 kcal of energy. If you eat a Tanghulu, you will consume half of the recommended daily sugar intake of 50g for adults because the natural sugar in the fruit and the processed sugar are combined.

Diabetes is diagnosed if the fasting blood sugar level is more than 126 mg/dL or if the blood sugar level 2 hours after a meal is more than 200 mg/dL. Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar levels become abnormally high because the process of glucose in the blood entering cells and being used as an energy source is not smooth. According to the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, the number of diabetes patients in the 2030 generation increased from about 139,000 in 2018 to about 174,000 in 2022. Young diabetic patients live with diseases longer than older people, so they are at high risk of developing complications such as cataracts, kidney disease, cerebrovascular disease, and angina pectoris. In addition, young diabetes increases cardiovascular risk by more than four times and can be a factor that worsens health, such as the development of cancer after middle age.

According to the ‘Diabetes Awareness Survey’ conducted by the Korean Diabetes Association last year on 1,000 adults over the age of 20, 89.5% of people in the 2030 generation were aware of the seriousness of diabetes. However, awareness of important figures and terms necessary for preventing and managing diabetes was relatively low. 59.9% of people in the 2030 generation answered that they did not know the meaning of fasting or postprandial blood sugar levels. In addition, 73.5% of people in the 2030 generation answered that they did not know whether they had glycated hemoglobin, and 54.2% of them answered that they did not know whether they had pre- diabetes. Fasting blood sugar is a level measured after not eating food for at least 8 hours, and if it is more than 126 mg/dL, it is diagnosed as diabetes. Postprandial blood sugar is a level measured 2 hours after a meal, and if it is more than 200 mg/dL, it is diagnosed as diabetes. The glycated hemoglobin level refers to the degree of binding of glucose in the blood, and if it exceeds 6.5%, it is diagnosed as diabetes. Pre- diabetes is a state in which blood sugar levels are higher than the normal range but lower than the diagnostic criteria for diabetes, with fasting blood sugar levels of 100 to 125mg/dL or postprandial blood sugar levels of 141 to 199 mg/dL.

The habit of eating spicy, salty, and sweet foods, such as Malatanghulu, which is popular among the 2030 generation, is quite dangerous. Jang Jun- hee, head of Internal Medicine at Seran Hospital, said, “spicy, salty, and sweet foods are considered one of the main causes of high blood pressure and diabetes in the young generation.” To manage diabetes and maintain health, it is necessary to recognize fasting blood sugar levels, postprandial blood sugar levels, glycated hemoglobin levels, and the pre- diabetes stage; to ensure that you take appropriate measures. Also, you should regularly check your health status through a health examination. Reducing weight by 5- 7% through lifestyle correction can slow down or prevent the onset of diabetes. Therefore, if you have diabetes or are pre- diabetic, improving your eating habits and exercising lightly while taking medication is essential.

By Son Yu-jeong, cub-reporter  ujeong0202@naver.com

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