Diabetes is a chronic health condition. It affects how your body breaks down food and turns it into sugar (glucose) for energy. The most common causes of type 2 diabetes are obesity and lack of exercise. These factors are responsible for approximately 90% to 95% of obesity cases in the United States.
As with many diseases, our lifestyle and what we consume may not be the overall cause, but it plays a significant role. Keep reading to learn how common everyday habits can cause diabetes to develop over time.
1. Drinking Too Many Sugary Drinks
Regular consumption of sugary beverages like soda, sports drinks, fruit drinks, energy drinks, flavored water, alcohol, and hot drinks with added sugar contributes to obesity. Just one can of soda per day increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults by 26%.
Reduce your intake of such drinks and instead opt for healthier ways to satisfy your thirst. Other than water, healthy drinks include green or mint tea, almond or soy milk, and homemade smoothies.
2. Eating Too Much Processed Food
You might be amazed to find out that a lot of the food we enjoy is highly processed and linked to diabetes. For example:
- Breakfast cereals
- Biscuits and cakes
- Deli meats, e.g. ham, bacon, sausage, and salami
- Ready and microwavable meals
Ingredients like salt, sugar, and sometimes fat are added to processed food to make them more appealing and extend their shelf life. These excess calories can cause weight gain, which increases your risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
Whenever possible, stick to foods with little sugar or that break down slowly, for example, whole grains, protein, and vegetables.
3. Not Exercising
A lack of exercise can cause muscle cells to lose their insulin sensitivity. This consequently causes problems for controlling blood sugar levels. Weight loss from healthy eating and exercise assists muscle cells in using insulin and glucose more efficiently, therefore, decreasing the risk of diabetes.
During your week, try to fit in at least 150 minutes of exercise at moderate intensity, or 75 minutes of exercise at a vigorous intensity, or a comparable combination per week.
4. Not Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation can contribute to increased blood sugar levels. Even one night of limited sleep can increase insulin resistance and raise blood sugar levels. Thus, not getting enough sleep has been associated with blood sugar disorder and diabetes.
Even though it may not always be possible, try to get at least seven hours or more of sleep each night for better health and wellbeing.
Smoking can cause numerous conditions and diseases. A smoker is 30% to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Smoking cessation is one of the best choices for better health you could ever make. If you smoke and are thinking about quitting, there are many support services available that can help.
Lifestyle Adjustments for Diabetes Prevention
Diabetes is when your body either doesn’t make sufficient amounts of insulin or cannot process the insulin it creates well. An unhealthy lifestyle over time can lead to a type of diabetic condition. In addition to not getting enough sleep and exercise, what we consume is a major cause of poor health.
To keep your calorie and sugar intake low, try to avoid processed foods. A great way to spot a highly processed product is to check the ingredients for a long list of unpronounceable ones.