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Diabetes is one of the most worrisome chronic diseases in modern society, to the extent that it has been described as a silent epidemic. It is a condition that significantly deteriorates the quality of life and is considered one of the leading causes of death in the world, last 2020 killed three times more people than the coronavirus. The truth is that diabetes in most cases is a completely preventable condition, it is directly related to lifestyle and eating habits. It is a fact that type 2 diabetes generally develops in adulthood as a result of simple decisions we make every day. Therefore the million dollar question is What can we do to reduce risk? A lot, starting with avoiding the number one cause of type 2 diabetes: follow a diet with a high consumption of ultra-processed foods, which are also related to other serious degenerative health conditions.
The first is the first: diabetes is the body’s inability to process sugar (glucose). Normally when a person without diabetes consumes sugar, the pancreas releases an enzyme called insulin to convert sugar into energy. In a diabetic person, the pancreas does not produce insulin or the body becomes resistant to it. As a result, blood sugar builds up in the arteries and damages them; This is why diabetes is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, blindness, poor circulation, and even amputation. On the other hand, type 1 diabetes, popularly known as “juvenile diabetes”, can develop spontaneously at any age.
The worrying thing is that currently the incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing enormously in the United States: experts predict that one in 10 people will have diabetes by 2045 and directly relate the increase in cases to diet and lifestyle choices.
Although there are many risk factors that are directly involved in type 2 diabetes, health professionals agree that the main cause is a poor diet rich in processed foods and added sugar. The first thing that happens when the body is flooded with sugar is that it can easily become insulin resistant, and a high intake of processed foods is the perfect setting for far exceeding your sugar intake per day. Diabetes occurs when the body cannot provide enough insulin to allow glucose to enter starving cells, therefore the best way to avoid it is to follow a diet that does not control insulin supply.
It is no secret to say that we have been hearing about devastating effects of excessive sugar consumption, it is a potential health risk. It is directly related to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, sleep and mental health disorders, dental problems, and liver conditions. The truth is that it is a very worrying public health problem and certainly very characteristic of modern society, according to information revealed by Harvard Health, until the early 1900s, the average American consumed around 15 grams of fructose per day, said intake was not so alarming since it was obtained mainly through the consumption of fruits and vegetables. However, currently the number has skyrocketed and it is estimated that an average person consumes around 55 grams of fructose per dayHowever, the problem is not only the increase in the average daily consumption It’s the kind of sugar! Which comes from ultra-processed foods that are high in calories and of very low nutritional value.
What are ultra-processed foods? As its name says, it is about foods that have been chemically processed, with the aim of lengthening its life span, improving its preservation, texture and flavor. They are characterized by their high content of sugar, sodium, artificial ingredients, refined carbohydrates and trans fats, they are considered one of the main contributors to obesity and a long list of chronic diseases around the world. The worst thing is that they are everywhere and it is very easy to consume them more than necessary.
It has an interesting reference. A recent study involving 20,000 adults found that those who consume plus 4 servings of processed foods per day have an increased risk of all-cause mortality Worst? For each additional serving, the risk of all-cause mortality increases by 18%. Its direct relationship with weight gain was also proven.
What are added sugars? Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. It is worth mentioning that these types of sugars are very different from natural sugars, such as those in fruit or milk, which are not added sugars. Today in the food industry, added sugars are given many different names and thus they are “hidden” in numerous everyday consumer products. Some of the “most popular” ingredients that are often listed on the ingredient labels of many foods are: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose.
Although a high consumption of processed and added sugars, it is the leading cause of type 2 diabetes in adults. It also deteriorates health in many ways that reduce life expectancy. Therefore the key is challenged to reduce risk and be healthy is to choose foods that break down slowly or have little sugar. Also, it is especially important limit or avoid drinks with added sugar, such as soft drinks and commercial beverages. The sugar content these drinks can contain is impressive, literally a can of soda contains much more sugar than the body can handle. Remember that sugars are considered one of the main diabetogenic foods, which means that they increase the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
Experts agree that the best way to lower your risk of diabetes, is eating real food: plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables, lean proteins (with a special emphasis on fish), whole grains, seeds, legumes, nuts, and healthy fats (like avocado and olive oil). Being physically active is also key: exercise increases muscles and insulin sensitivity. Now you know a simple change of habits, it will make a difference, finally, it is the best kept secret in the prevention of all types of chronic diseases.
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