The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Diabetes UK have issued a joint statement condemning foods which claim to be suitable for diabetics as of no real benefit.
The two organisations called for an end to the use of terms such as 'diabetic' or 'suitable for diabetics' on food labels, saying that the led consumers to believe they were helpful - or even essential - in fighting the disease.
"Many people with diabetes and their families believe that 'diabetic' foods are beneficial or even essential. This is simply not the case. People with diabetes should eat a normal healthy balanced diet, the same as anybody else. This can include a biscuit or some normal chocolate as long as it is done in moderation," said Suzanne Lucas, director of care at Diabetes UK.
Sir John Krebs, chairman of the FSA, said: "The Food Standards Agency welcomes this opportunity to work with Diabetes UK to help improve nutritional advice for people with diabetes. Labelling confectionery and biscuits as 'suitable for diabetics' undermines advice to people with diabetes to eat a healthy diet, high in carbohydrates like cereals, pasta, rice and bread, including fruit and vegetables, but low in fat. 'We are joining forces to promote this message and discourage industry from labelling foods as 'diabetic'."
The European Commission is currently looking at the issue of how to control foods intended specifically for people with diabetes. In the UK, this is currently an issue for local trading standards officers.
There are currently 1.4 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and a further million who have the condition but are not yet aware of it.