Samples of the food on the diabetic menu developed by Gus Moustakas, executive chef at Grand Millennium, Al Wahda. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Diabetics can now binge on a tasty chocolate mousse while not worrying about their blood glucose level, blood fat or blood pressure.

A diabetic menu with a choice of starters, main courses and desserts is now being offered at the Italian Porto Bello restaurant in the Grand Millennium, Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi.

The hospital-approved menu was available to the public from yesterday across Millennium and Copthorne hotels in recognition of a region-wide health issue and to help increase diabetes awareness.

Some of the foods include Greek prawn kebabs, grilled marinated vegetables, shrimp coriander soup, chicken vegetable broth and salads. There is also the garden sandwich, a wholewheat wrap, grilled salmon and fillet mignon minute steak. Chocolate mousse, cheesecake and a fresh fruit salad are on offer for dessert.

Six of the top ten

According to the World Health Organisation, six countries in the Middle East and the North African region are among the world's ten highest for diabetes prevalence. They are Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

"Around 80 per cent of type two diabetes could be prevented through increased exercise, healthy eating and small changes in lifestyle," said John Nickens, CEO at Mafraq Hospital, who have worked closely with Millennium to create the healthy tasty menu options.

Gus Moustakas, executive chef at Grand Millennium, Al Wahda, developed the menu with the help of Batul Nisar, head of dietetics at Mafraq Hospital.

"I myself developed diabetes seven to eight years ago through poor diet choices, especially from fast food and fizzy drinks," said Moustakas. "Since that time I've been experimenting with diabetic food and tasting it myself, and found that the condition can be avoided through eating in moderation, enjoying your food, and eating slowly, allowing you to savour the taste while signalling fullness to your brain quickly."

More initiatives needed

Dr Asma Deeb, consultant paediatric endocrinologist and diabetologist at Mafraq Hospital, who sees from five to ten diabetic patients a day aged three weeks to 18 years, has applauded the move, but wants to see more healthy food initiatives in areas popular with children.

He said: "This initiative is great, but only certain people can afford to dine in this restaurant. We need to target fast food outlets found in streets and malls, without focusing on the words diabetic menu. Serving healthy food where most children choose to eat should be our mission."