How to Cut Your Risk of Diabetes

Man vs. Food
(Marin/Free Digital Photos)

Do you eat the typical American diet—high in soft drinks, including diet soda, white flour, French fries and processed meats, like cold cuts and hot dogs?

Eating that way can increase your risk of developing diabetes by 300 percent.

Are you carrying around extra weight? That raises the risk of getting diabetes—a lot. A woman who is mildly obese—for example, weighing 190 at 5-feet-6—has a 55 percent chance of getting diabetes. A man who is mildly obese, who weighs 225 pounds and is 6 feet tall, has a 57 percent chance of developing diabetes.  

This can be prevented, and I will share with you the exciting research on nutrition and foods that can help prevent and reverse diabetes in a moment. But first, a closer look at the problem.

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The Diabetes Epidemic

  • There are 21 million diabetics and 41 million people at risk of becoming diabetic in the U.S.
  • 1 out of 3 American children born in the year 2000 is predicted to develop diabetes during his or her lifetime. For children of African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American descent, the odds are closer to 1 in 2.
  • Diabetes is predicted to increase by 481 percent among Hispanics, 208 percent among blacks and 113 percent among whites by mid-century.
  • The estimated total costs of health care for diabetes rose from $23 billion in 1969 to $132 billion in 2002. It is expected to reach $192 billion by 2020.
  • It is in the cost to the individual and their families where diabetes takes its human toll.
  • Diabetes is the No. 1 cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations and nerve disease in the U.S.
  • Diabetes causes damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves.
  • A diagnosis of diabetes doubles your risk of dying over the next 10 years.

What makes this so unacceptable is this simple fact: Type 2 diabetes, the form of the disease responsible for this epidemic, is almost totally preventable. 

Staying fit and lean reduces your odds of developing diabetes by over 90 percent.

What Is Insulin Resistance?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells do not respond normally to insulin, a hormone made by your pancreas. This condition is called insulin resistance, and it leads to high blood sugar, high blood levels of fat (triglycerides) and high blood pressure.

Once it was a disease seen only in people over 40 and referred to as “adult-onset diabetes.” Today, Type 2 diabetes occurs even in young children. Almost half the new cases of childhood diabetes are now Type 2, reflecting the sharp increase in obesity and lack of physical fitness among our children.

At least 171 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, and this is expected to reach 366 million by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.

Clearly, prevention of Type 2 diabetes must become an international priority.

Dr. Leo Galland is a board-certified internist who is internationally recognized as a leader in nutritional medicine. He has written several dozen scientific papers, textbook chapters, and three highly acclaimed popular books, The Fat Resistance Diet, Power Healing and Superimmunity for Kids.

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