Beyond Cutting Sugar: 5 Ways to Cut the Risk of Diabetes
Take a moment and picture someone with diabetes. You are probably seeing an image of someone mowing down on a candy bar, because you have been told repeatedly that eating sugar causes diabetes.
Unfortunately, this misconception has led many people astray. Research has shown that sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes, but the myth still prevails. People that listen to this myth have become very picky about eating sugar, while practicing other lifestyle habits that place them at a higher risk of developing the disease.
Busting the Myth – Sugar Doesn’t Cause Diabetes
Diabetes UK points out that consuming too much sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes. This
“In Type 1 diabetes, the insulin producing cells in your pancreas are destroyed by your immune system. No amount of sugar in your diet – or anything in your lifestyle – has caused or can cause you to get Type 1 diabetes.
With Type 2 diabetes, though we know sugar doesn’t directly causes Type 2 diabetes, you are more likely to get it if you are overweight. You gain weight when you take in more calories than your body needs, and sugary foods and drinks contain a lot of calories.”
Sok-Ja Janket, DMD, MPH, with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, recently conducted a study that supports this conclusion.
"People have always assumed that sugar consumption causes higher blood sugar levels, that sugar is bad," said Janket.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that consuming too much sugar is good by any means. Eating too much sugar can cause you to gain weight, which increases the risk of developing the disease. It just means that people shouldn’t be overly skittish about it and ignore much greater risk factors.
Other Ways to Manage Diabetes Risks
Cutting sugar consumption isn’t the only thing you can do to manage diabetes. There are a lot of other factors people are overlooking, which is one of the reasons people have a higher risk of developing the disease.
Don’t Sit Too Much
Sitting too much is terrible for your health. Not only do you burn far fewer calories while you are sitting, but your metabolism also slows to a crawl throughout the rest of the day. This obviously raises your risk of gaining weight, which leads to a higher risk of developing diabetes.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming that they can make up for sitting all day by working out more in the evening. Even if you work out two hours a day, you won’t burn enough calories to make up for sitting all day. You would be better off using a standing desk and working out 20-30 minutes in the day.
However, there is another reason that sitting too much can lead to diabetes. Your muscles stiffen, which makes it more difficult for your body to secrete insulin. One Toronto study found that this raises the risk of developing diabetes, even if the individual didn’t gain weight.
"The consequence of sitting for a long period of time is that there is little muscle use and thus, little energy burn, and the metabolic pathways regulating how we store blood sugars are less active and effective," writes lead author Avi Biswas.
Cut Protein, Fat and Other Carb Consumption
Sugar has been associated with the development of diabetes, because people tend to gain weight from eating sugary snacks and drinking carbonated sodas. Of course, people can also gain weight from eating foods that are high in protein, fat and other carbs. If you are 20 pounds overweight from eating large quantities of meat or pasta, you will be just as likely to get diabetes as if you were 20 pounds overweight from eating too much sugar.
As with everything, moderation is key.
Keep Blood Pressure in Check
Over 80% of people with Type 2 Diabetes have high blood pressure, while only 25% of people with Type 1 Diabetes have it. Experts state that this proves that high blood pressure contributes significantly to the risk. Check your blood pressure regularly. If it is high, you should exercise, change your diet and take appropriate medication to control it.
Using the best elliptical machine is one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular health and keep your weight in check, which minimizes the risk of diabetes.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Long-term alcohol abuse can significantly hurt your body’s ability to produce insulin. Women shouldn’t have more than one drink a day and men shouldn’t have more than two.
Smoking doubles your risk of developing diabetes, partially because it raises the risk of cardiovascular diseases that contribute to diabetes.