If present trends continue, as many as 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes in 2050. This is a staggering number!
A February 2013 study directly correlates sugar intake to higher rates of diabetes. The study was conducted by four researchers, including Dr. Robert Lustig, presenter of the 2009 “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” talk that became a YouTube sensation at more than 3 million views.
What Does Blood Sugar Have to Do With It?
Indulging in sugar cravings can lead to inconsistent blood sugar levels, a major contributor to type II diabetes. Keep your energy stable throughout the day by adopting a few key rules:
- Forget simple and go for complex carbs like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains over simple carb counterparts (cookies, chocolate, cakes, soda, white pasta/rice/bread).
- Don’t skip meals; throughout the day, eat balanced snacks and meals, spaced no more than 2-3 hours apart.
- Pay attention to protein (from vegetable or animal sources) as this helps slow the release of glucose into your blood. In addition, make sure each meal includes some form of fiber (found in fruit and vegetables) and heart-healthy fats (found in flaxseed, olive oil, avocado, and nuts).
Type 2 Diabetes IS Preventable
Although your genes influence the development of type 2 diabetes, they don’t trump behavioral and lifestyle factors. Studies suggest that type 2 diabetes can be attributed to: excess weight, lack of exercise, a poor diet, smoking, and abstaining from alcohol.
Fortunately, data from several clinical trials strongly supports the idea that type 2 diabetes is preventable. Here are the main things to focus on when it comes to prevention:
- Controlling your weight: Being overweight increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes seven-fold.
- Getting active (and turning off the television!): Every two hours you spend watching TV instead of pursuing something more active increases the chances of developing diabetes by 20 percent.
- Tuning up your diet: Choose whole foods over processed foods, skip sugary drinks, and limit red meat intake.
- If you are a smoker, try quitting: Smokers are roughly 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers.
- Indulging in alcohol occasionally: Some studies indicate that moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink per day for women; 2 drinks per day for men) decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The bottom line: Staying lean and staying active are your best bets for beating the odds of suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC
Sugar: The Bitter Truth, lecture by Dr. Robert Lustig
Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes, Harvard School of Public Health