Gaza’s first health food store offers a sweet alternative for diabetics

GAZA, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Diabetics and calorie-conscious people can enjoy a richer diet at Gaza’s first health food store, where cookies, sweets and other foods are prepared with a sugar substitute.

Hana Al-Wakeel opened her ‘Healthy Home’ shop two months ago, after the 32-year-old optometrist shifted her focus from eye care to the kitchen after identifying a gap in the market for diabetics and those with are looking for healthier foods.

Instead of sugar, she uses stevia, a sweetener derived from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is one of the sugar substitutes approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use by diabetics, who must closely monitor their blood sugar levels.

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“(My clients) are dieters, people with diabetes and people who avoid white sugar…people who eat healthy and don’t like fats and oils,” Wakeel told Reuters in the brief. Gaza City store.

Buying muffins and cookies from the shop, Emme Moataz, 22, said: “I’ve been a healthy style for a while and finally found a place to make these things. I’m taking my stuff to them now.”

Wakeel said parents of children with diabetes are among his best clients.

“Many children have diabetes and it’s good to hear mothers and fathers say they let their children choose what they want without worries,” she said, mixing low-fat chocolate to make pancakes.

Palestinian health officials said around 100,000 people have diabetes in the Gaza Strip, which has a population of 2.3 million.

“It makes me happy that there are people who care about this category of people. It makes it possible to come to a guaranteed store, without having to think where to go,” said Mahmoud Abu Al-Ouf, a diabetes patient.

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Written by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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