5 Bad habits that increase risk of Diabetes

With the staggering statistics on Diabetes staring us in the face, it is safe to say that Diabetes has become not just a global public issue of great concern, but most likely the biggest epidemic in human history yet.

Diabetes Statistics from IDF

Let’s go over some of the alarming real-time data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) on diabetes:

  • 540 million people worldwide have diabetes
  • 3 in 4 adults with diabetes live in low and- middle-income countries
  • Over 90 percent of people with Diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which is by far the worst form of the disease.
  • There’s a steady rise in cases of Diabetes in children and teens between 10-19 years.

Costs and Complications

However, it is not only risky but also very costly to have diabetes. The sickness can take a toll on a person’s finances and drain their resources. This is a result of the high cost of diabetes medication and treatment. In the United States, it is estimated that about $327 billion is spent annually on medical costs for Diabetes.

Also, people living with diabetes are at high risk of developing severe health complications such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney diseases, visual impairment, or blindness.

5 Bad Habits that increase your risk of Having Diabetes

Since diabetes is primarily caused by poor lifestyle choices, let’s look at 5 bad habits that may significantly up your chances of developing diabetes. Some of these habits are things we ignorantly considered harmless.

1. Not getting enough sleep

If you’re going after night after night without getting adequate sleep, you might just be edging toward type 2 diabetes. Three valid premises link sleep deprivation to the high risk of diabetes.

First is that constant sleep loss distorts a person’s hormonal balance. This causes the body to release more stress hormones called cortisol. The problem with cortisol is that it causes a spike in blood sugar levels.

Secondly, research shows that poor sleep will make a person hungry all the time, even shortly after a heavy meal. They will constantly crave carbs and sweets. You already know where all this is leading to. Weight gain, of course! Obesity and diabetes go hand in hand.

In a study of almost 337,000 people, published in 2022 in the journal Diabetes Care, participants who reported difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep had higher blood sugar levels than those who said they rarely had sleep issues, suggesting that insomnia may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

2. Eating a lot of Processed Food

Results of studies published in the journal Nutrients reveal that every 10 percent increase in the amount of ultra-processed foods in participants’ diets consumed was associated with a 15 percent higher risk of developing diabetes.

Processed food is also closely linked to excessive weight gain.

Kara Mitchell, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Duke Health and Fitness Center in Durham, North Carolina explains below the harm processed food does to our bodies:

“More highly processed foods tend to correlate with higher calorie intake. Too many calories lead to excess weight; excess weight leads to increased risk of insulin resistance.”

3. Drinking Excess Alcohol

The ADA and other health organizations recommend that alcohol consumption should be limited to one drink per day for women and two per day for men. Anything beyond this might not go down so well with your health.

Excess alcohol in the system can lead to chronic inflammation of the pancreas. When that happens, the pancreas will lose its ability to secrete insulin, which will most likely result in type 2 diabetes.

study published in 2022 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involving about 312,000 drinkers showed that participants who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol with meals, especially wine, had a 1 2 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes — compared with those who drank outside meals.

It’s therefore advisable to stay beyond the safe confines of ‘one drink a day for your health.

4. Skipping breakfast

Skipping breakfast? Yes, you read that well. In the words of, Melinda Maryniuk, a registered dietitian and owner of Diabetes and Nutrition Consultants in Boston “skipping breakfast sets you up to overeat the rest of the day”. The actual issue is not about food, but the effect missing breakfast can have on a person’s eating pattern for the rest of the day. People who miss breakfast regularly are in a habit of overeating throughout the entire day and end up gaining extra weight.

In addition, findings from an extensive study published in the 2019 Journal of Nutrition concluded that people who skip breakfast are at greater risk of getting diabetes than those who sit down for a meal in the morning.

5. Sitting for more than 30 minutes at a stretch

Sounds like a joke, right? But it’s a proven fact that sedentary habits such as sitting for an extended period at the computer, on a couch, or behind the wheel — increases the risk of developing diabetes.

However, the risk of having type 2 diabetes by be reduced by 6 to 31 percent by simply replacing just 30 minutes of sedentary behavior with physical activity.

According to Sheri Colberg, professor emerita of exercise science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and author of The 7 Step Diabetes Fitness Plan :

 “Many studies now show that interrupting sitting with frequent movement improves how well your metabolism works and increases insulin sensitivity,”

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