What’s in Shape Diet Meal Replacement Shakes?

There were many comments from our readers after we shared the article on Shape Diet Meal Replacement Shakes. We share the relevant ones with feedback by registered dietitian and diabetes nurse educator, Tammy Jardine.

The carbs in Shape is high. How can it be diabetic friendly?

Diabetes management is tricky since every person is affected differently by this disease and the amount of carbs that one person can tolerate is not the same as somebody else.

A basic rule is to have no more than 45g carbs per meal which is about equal to a meat and salad sandwich. Every person is different and to determine your individual limit it is advisable to see a dietitian who specialises in diabetes. 

I currently use a meal replacement shake with high nutrition and am happy with my choice. Must I change it?

There are many meal replacement options on the market. Always seek the advice of a qualified dietitian to ensure you are getting the best option that works for you.

Is there sucrose in Shape?

No, there is no sucrose but sucralose (an artificial sweetener).

The non-nutritive sweeteners, sucralose (in the shakes), and sugar alcohols (xylitol) are safe to use for people living with diabetes. They don’t cause a rise in blood glucose levels.

There will always be controversy about sugar substitutes since they require processing to achieve final product. The debate is not whether it’s natural (since sucrose sugar is natural), but rather about the process and the chemicals required to process the product. In studies, there is no scientific reason to avoid sugar substitutes in diabetes.

What is the carbohydrate source in Shape?

The first three ingredients listed on the label are: skim milk powder, maltodextrin, whey protein concentrate and does not include sugar at all. The carbohydrate source of this product is maltodextrin.


Tammy Jardine is a qualified diabetes educator and a registered dietitian. Living with diabetes for over 15 years means that she knows first-hand how difficult it can be to achieve and maintain optimal blood glucose control with good lifestyle habits. She believes that diabetes affects every person differently and takes the time to understand how it’s affecting the individual and to help them manage it effectively. With more than 20 years of experience working as a dietitian in the UK and SA, she has a passion for helping people live a better and happier life with good food. Tammy currently works from Wilgeheuwel hospital. Email: tamjdiet@gmail.com

De Villiers Chocolate no added sugar range

De Villiers Chocolate’s new no added sugar offering is now available. We get the lowdown on this new product.

Research indicates that indulgent purchases in comfort food, like chocolate, have increased during lockdown, and now De Villiers Chocolate, one of Africa’s first bean-to-bar chocolate brands, is making it even easier to find comfort.

At a time when consumers can all do with some guilt-free pleasure in their lives, this proudly South African chocolate brand has made one of the world’s most craved foods more accessible, by not adding sugar, dairy or gluten.

Years of experimentation

After years of experimentation on no added sugar options, De Villiers Chocolate is now officially the first South African chocolate brand to develop a wholly plant-based, keto, and Internationally Vegan Certified chocolate bar. The most unconventional bar in the De Villiers Chocolate range to date.

“We have been trying to perfect a no added sugar De Villiers Chocolate option for several years, but we couldn’t get it quite right. While there are many no added sugar chocolates on the market catering to health-conscious consumers, people with diabetes and those following the ketogenic and low-carb diets, most of the available options are a cheerless substitute for the real deal.  The most common downsides one usually associates with these products is the unpleasant aftertaste left by many of the sugar replacers, as well as unwanted gastrointestinal side effects. Then there is also the undesirable spiking of blood glucose levels,” says Master Chocolate Maker and owner, Pieter de Villiers.

Giving the consumers what they want

De Villiers Chocolate makes all its chocolate and inclusions in its factory just outside Paarl, near Cape Town. Their chocolate is made using cocoa beans sourced sustainably from farmers in Western Uganda. The bars are recognised by their colourful labels and loved by consumers for their moreish taste. Though many have been hoping for an option that is equally indulgent, but less ‘sinful’.

De Villiers Chocolate no added sugar range

Having worked tirelessly during South Africa’s lockdown period to perfect a no added sugar chocolate range, this chocolate brand is now ready to spill the (cocoa) beans, and share the joy.

“In our mission to develop a wholesome chocolate range, we refused to compromise on the flavour and texture of our bars,” says Pieter. “After extensive research, we finally landed on the right combination of ingredients to use in our no added sugar range, without compromising on flavour or wholesomeness.”

The secret? A curated blend of erythritol, monk fruit and soluble corn fibre; ingredients which have been carefully selected for their unique ability to mimic the sensory profile of sugar without causing any unwanted side effects. Without any milk or grain content, these bars are also suitable for lactose and gluten intolerant chocolate lovers.

To ensure that consumers can rely on these bars to be as good as they taste, De Villiers Chocolate worked with research consultant, Dr Lindie Schloms, who performed research on sugar alternatives to help the brand develop this diabetic- and keto- friendly chocolate range.

For Dr Lindie Schloms, it’s all about the development of healthier products by including antioxidant-rich superfoods, botanicals and adaptogens and reducing harmful ingredients, such as gluten and sugar.

Consumers will also appreciate that these bars carry International Vegan Certification, are Keto Certified and registered with the Rainforest Alliance in support of a mandate to do no harm and to ensure a better future for the planet and its people.

Spoilt for choice

Further cause for celebration is that consumers are spoilt for choice too, with Dark Chocolate and Nut Butter options. Chocolate enthusiasts can take their pick from 70% Dark Chocolate or Salt and Seed Dark Chocolate, as well as a range of nut-butter chocolate bars made entirely from scratch, using ingredients prepared and made in the De Villiers Chocolate kitchen. These include Sea Salt and Caramel Nut Butter, Chocolate Cookie Nut Butter (yes, also gluten free!), Almond Pieces Nut Butter, Cashew Nut Butter, Hazelnut Nut Butter and Coconut Nut Butter.


What makes De Villiers Chocolate’s no added sugar options different than other brands?

While there are several no added sugar chocolates on the market to cater for health-conscious consumers, people with diabetes and those following the ketogenic diet, most of the available options are not nearly as palatable as one would like. They often leave a bitter aftertaste, include ingredients other than sugar that still cause blood glucose levels to spike, or cause unwanted gastrointestinal side effects.

Since De Villiers Chocolate didn’t want to settle for any of that, extensive research was done to find the right combination of ingredients to use in the no added suagr range, to tick all the boxes without compromising on taste.

The brand-new range is not only keto certified, but also vegan and sweetened with a curated blend of erythritol, monk fruit and soluble corn fibre. What is erythritol?

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol (polyol) that occurs naturally in fruits, such as melons, grapes and pears. It’s 70% as sweet as sugar, contains almost no calories (0 to 0,24 kcal/g) and has a zero glycaemic index.

Erythritol is considered to be one of the best sugar substitutes for people with diabetes and those on the ketogenic diet since it doesn’t increase blood glucose levels at doses of 20-64g. De Villiers chocolates contain only 16g erythritol per 80g bar.

How does erythritol differ from other sugar alcohols?

Erythritol is well-tolerated. It has the highest digestive tolerance of all the sugar alcohols, and long-term consumption of high amounts of erythritol hasn’t been associated with any serious side effects.

Unlike other sugar alcohols, which are fermented by bacteria in the colon and produce gas as a by-product, ± 90% of ingested erythritol is absorbed into the bloodstream before it reaches the colon. Since humans don’t have the enzymes required to break it down, erythritol can’t be metabolised and is excreted completely unchanged in the urine. The remaining 10% of erythritol, which is not absorbed into the bloodstream, travels undigested and unfermented through the colon.

The new range contains a variety of nuts, all boasting major health benefits. In other words, guilt-free chocolate?

Nuts are great for people with diabetes since they are low in carbohydrates and rich in healthy fats, fibre, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Nuts, such as almonds, have also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce the rise in blood glucose levels after meals.

Almonds are one of the best dietary sources of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant which helps to support immune-, heart- and skin health, while cashews have been linked to benefits like weight loss, improved blood glucose control and heart health.

Did you know that hazelnuts, for example, provide significant amounts of antioxidants protecting the body from oxidative stress?

To purchase this no added sugar chocolate, visit the De Villers Chocolate online store

Dry skin conditions

We learn more about dry skin conditions that are characterised by dry skin, and how to manage dry skin.

The cause of dry skin

Dry skin is a very common condition and often results in visits to dermatologists. Symptoms vary according to the severity of dryness, but skin can be tight and rough and/or prone to itching, scaling, flakiness and redness. In extreme cases, skin is pathologically dry.

The main reason for skin dryness is an impaired skin barrier function which results from:

  • A lack of lipids that help to protect skin from moisture loss.
  • A deficit of urea and natural moisturising factors (NMFs) which bind moisture into the skin.

The skin is not only the body’s largest organ but also plays a vital role in regulating body temperature and acts as a barrier protecting the body against infection.

However, dry body skin that is cracked can lose its ability to perform these functions. A good skin care routine using products formulated specifically for rough and cracked skin, like Eucerin UreaRepair PLUS, can help to restore skin to a healthy state.

The causes of rough and cracked, dry skin vary from poor skin care and environmental factors to health-related conditions, such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and diabetes.

Symptoms of dry skin

  • Extreme tightness
  • Extreme roughness
  • Skin cracks or fissures
  • Intense itching

Different types of dry skin conditions

Xerosis cutis is the medical term for abnormally dry skin. This name comes from the Greek word “xero” which means dry.

Psoriasis is a chronic, recurrent inflammatory skin disorder. The most common type is psoriasis vulgaris, characterised by slightly elevated reddish patches or papules covered with silvery white scales.

Ichthyosis vulgaris is a rare inherited skin condition that is characterised by extremely dry skin. It produces large scales in the skin that can resemble fish scales.

Keratosis pilaris is a common, harmless skin condition. It causes small, hard bumps that may make your skin feel like sandpaper. They usually appear on your upper arms, thighs, and buttocks, sometimes with redness or swelling


Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease caused by inherited and/or acquired deficiency in production of insulin by the pancreas, or by the ineffectiveness of the insulin produced. It is very common for people living with diabetes to have dry skin.

The best way to treat dry skin

In 2018, a group of renowned physicians published a medical paper on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Xerosis cutis. The report summarises the latest research findings in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dry skin and gives doctors’ practical advice on how best to treat the condition.

The medical paper states that dry skin can, in principle, be treated effectively. The decisive factor in the effectiveness of dry skin treatment is choosing the appropriate care product.

Moisturising should involve a combination of hydrating and lipid-replenishing ingredients, formulated to restore the skin’s natural barrier function in the best possible way and prevent skin from drying out further.

Urea –  Gold standard treatment  

The paper explains that “based on the available scientific data, urea is the gold standard for the therapy of xerosis cutis.1

Urea has the advantage of being effective on two fronts; as a natural moisturising factor, it binds moisture into the outermost layers of skin. Plus, it also supports desquamation which is the natural process by which skin sheds dead skin cells. Healthy desquamation is linked to smooth skin.

The Diagnosis and Treatment of Xerosis cutis paper also explains that when urea is combined with other moisturising ingredients and lipids, the effect is even better. It states, “The combination of urea with ceramides, NMF and glycerol shows a significantly better effect than the effect of urea or the vehicle alone.2

Eucerin UreaRepair PLUS

Eucerin scientists were the first to effectively include urea in a dermo-cosmetic product, and now have more than 25 years’ experience of maximising the benefits of urea in skincare formulas. Experience that includes more than 30 clinical and dermatological studies, involving 10 000 volunteers.

The lotions and creams in the Eucerin UreaRepair PLUS range offer people with dry skin exactly what the independent expert paper recommends.

The formulas include:

  • Various concentrations of urea (ranging from 5% to 10%).
  • Other natural moisturising factors (NMFs), ceramides and gluco-glycerol.
  • The range is clinically and dermatologically proven to offer immediate and 48hour dry-skin relief.3

For more information please visit www.eucerin.co.za


  1. Augustin M et al., Diagnosis and Treatment of Xerosis Cutis. JDDG, July 2018: Suppl 4, Volume 16.
  2. Weber TM et al., J Clin Aesthet Dermatol 2012, 5:29–39.
  3. Beiersdorf. Data on file.

The science behind the Amajoya Sugar Free Collection

Ever wondered how sugar free sweets are made? Read more on the science behind the Amajoya Sugar Free Collection.

The history of Amajoya

To be a surgeon, one needs to possess certain qualities, including a complex understanding of science, extreme precision, natural talent and a whole lot of passion. These same qualities are just as essential for a master confectioner. Fancy that!

It was just over twenty years ago that a Cape Town-based surgeon decided to follow his heart (or was it was his sweet-tooth?) and train as a sweet-maker at one of Germany’s most prestigious confectionery schools. Here, his doctor’s understanding of science and chemistry gave him a distinct edge.

On his return to the Mother City, he could craft and hone his recipes, using the finest ingredients to create distinctly different and delightful candy. And so, the Amajoya artisanal confectionary company was born.

Extraordinary and unique

The Amajoya commitment is to use fewer ingredients, ingredients closer to nature and fewer processed ingredients. We continually reformulate using less processed ingredients where possible on our quest for cleaner, simpler labels with less ingredients.

Our philosophy is that of balance and awareness of how you treat yourself in relation to your total daily food intake and activity.

Amajoya focuses on a unique way of combining and making the delicious collection of sweets. Our process is proprietary. Our founder, a medical doctor who left his career in neurosurgery, and followed his passion for sweet manufacturing, has a talent for technology and truly applies art and science to the process and recipes of the Amajoya Collection. Nothing in our way of making our sweets or our recipes is ordinary. The Amajoya Way is always extraordinary and unique.

We blend quality ingredients to create a taste that is unique in the world of luxurious sumptuous candy. When you pick Amajoya, you can be sure you’re getting a real product made with the best ingredients, care, integrity and a whole lot of love.

Authenticity is important for Amajoya. So, cleaner labelling (GMO free, no hydrogenated fats, real ingredients) and striving to keep our indulgent sweet collection packed with better stuff, is important to us. By the end of the year, all our sweets will only contain natural colourants.

The Amajoya Collection

Amajoya is the leading retail hard candy brand in South Africa. In 2013, we launched our first range of solid sugar free sweets, a classic Butterscotch, Buttermint and a three Fruit flavoured packet.

In 2018, we launched a luxury range of filled sugar free sweets with cocoa crème filling: Butterscotch, Buttermint, Coffee and Vanilla Raspberry.

Understanding the science of sugar free

Now a quick lesson on the science that goes into the sugar free world of products. It is important to understand a few scientific facts.

What is the definition of sugar free confectionery?

In nearly all countries in the world, it means that the total sugar content must be less than 0,5 g per 100 g.

What is a sugar?

A sugar is either a monosaccharide, such as glucose (dextrose) or fructose, or a disaccharide, such as sucrose (normal granulated sugar), maltose or lactose (milk sugar).

A saccharide is the most basic unit of sugar/carbohydrates. It is either a 5-membered ring, such as fructose, or a 6-membered ring, such as glucose.

A disaccharide, for example sucrose, consists of one fructose unit and one glucose unit. These can be split by a process, called hydrolysis, which requires one molecule of water, heat and acidity, or it can be broken down by the enzymes in your small bowel. This is why your blood glucose rises so quickly.

Making sugar free sweets

Sugar free sweets have a very low glycaemic index. Food items, such as bread (75) and sugar (65) have high glycaemic values. Isomalt (the ingredient we use in Amajoua) has a very low glycaemic index of about 5.

To make sugar free sweets, the sugar and glucose syrup must be replaced by something. These are called bulk sweeteners (polyols), such as isomalt, maltitol, erythritol or sorbitol.

Our preferential sweetener is isomalt. We buy our isomalt from Germany. It is made from granulated sugar in a two-step process.


Polyols are generally less sweet than sugar, so normally non-nutritive (intense) sweeteners are added. These substances do not provide any nutrition. The common artificial sweeteners are sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame K or saccharin .

Sucralose is made from sugar. These substances are generally 400-600 times as sweet as sugar and are used in parts per million. Stevia is an example of a natural non-nutritive sweetener.

Polyols are not well-absorbed in the small bowel and pass to the large bowel (colon). Here they are fermented, giving rise to short-chain fatty acids. The colonic cells first choice of nutrients are these fatty acids. There is also evidence that a healthier type of bacterial growth is encouraged in your colon.

Why are polyols known to cause laxative issues?

When too much polyol passes into the colon, one get excess fermentation which produces gas and osmotic pressure which can cause diarrhoea.

In practice, consumers all over the world get used to this and usually know the number of sweets they can consume per day.

We recommend you start with two per day and gradually increase until your limit is achieved. Within two weeks of regular intake, many people can consume more. Usually the number of sweets ranges from three to 10 sweets spread out over the day.

The laxative tolerance also depends on your diet. Isomalt belongs to a group of carbohydrates called Low Digestible Carbohydrates, such as fibre, beans, onions, grains, etc. Our Western diet is lacking in these. Your individual tolerance will also depend on the mix of foods that you are eating.

Why are sugar free sweets more expensive? 

Isomalt is about four times as expensive as granulated sugar.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by a progressive loss of beta cell function in your pancreas, frequently on the background of insulin resistance. Usually there are both genetic (predisposition) and lifestyle factors, such as being overweight or having the metabolic syndrome.

Eating sugar free sweets will give you pleasure. But, will also reduce your insulin demand and prevent continuous blood glucose elevation from frequent snacking. Sugar free sweets are also lower in energy (calories).

Remember that sugar free sweets are no good in an emergency if you experience hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose).

Amajoya Sugar Free Collection

Our new sugar free filled sweets contain isomalt in the casing and maltitol in the cocoa crème filling. Our cocoa is natural, non-alkalised, meaning it is much higher in polyphenols. The vegetable fat in the cocoa crème is non-hydrogenated and comes from sustainable sources. The casing has dairy components i.e. low lactose milk powder and butter.

All the filled sweets contain only natural colourants and natural flavours. We are in the process of changing all our sweets to natural colourants which will be complete by year end.

Production takes place locally in Atlantis, Cape Town, with one of the most high-tech sugar free plants in the world. We are obsessed with quality and this is evident in our processes. We are British Retail Consortium (BRC) accredited which means we have global food safety certification.

All our raw materials pass through 0,2mm or 0,4mm inline wedge wire filters. We also pass all the sugar free sweets through two highly-sensitive metal detectors.

Our collection is available at leading retailers around the country including Checkers, Pick and Pay, Spar, Clicks, Dischem and the Alpha Pharmacy Group.

Visit amajoya.com

Because everyone deserves a little indulgence.