Australia's silent assassin is a deadly epidemic - but it's not the one you're thinking of. It stalks an increasing number of us every day, preying on a new potential victim every five minutes. In the 22 months of the coronavirus, about 2000 people have died of COVID-19 in Australia - about 90 deaths a month. But the pandemic toll is dwarfed by the number of Australians dying of diabetes. According to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, diabetes was the underlying cause of 4700 deaths in 2018 - almost 400 people a month - and a contributing factor in a further 12,000 deaths. Today almost 1.4 million Australians are living with some form of diabetes, an estimated 500,000 have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and a further 2 million have pre-diabetes. The disease creeps up quietly on 331 of us every day - that's someone diagnosed every four and a half minutes. A condition characterised by high levels of sugar in the blood, diabetes is a leading cause of crippling heart attacks, strokes, amputations and blindness and costs Australia at least $15 billion a year. But it doesn't have to be like this. Not only is type 2 diabetes - more prevalent by far than type 1 diabetes - largely preventable, it's also viewed by an increasing number of experts as reversible. In a special editorial series lauching online and in print on December 1 and running over the next two weeks, the ACM network - publisher of this masthead - will explore the latest evidence about Australia's silent assassin and introduce you to the experts exposing the bitter truth about our sugar addiction and the dietary myths making us fatter and sicker. We'll also show you how you can reclaim your health by junking ultra-processed foods for a low-carb, healthy fat approach to nutrition. Elite sports medicine clinician Dr Peter Brukner, author of the book A Fat Lot of Good and founder of Defeat Diabetes, says Australians need to understand the damage they are doing to themselves. "We have to give people living with this chronic disease - and the millions of others facing the prospect of it - the information they need to take back control of their health," he says.