How Can I Protect My Kids From Developing Type 2 Diabetes
These steps can help reduce your kids’ risk for developing type 2 diabetes and the health problems it can cause:
- Make sure kids eat a healthy diet. Encouraging your kids to eat low-fat, nutrient-rich foods like whole-grain cereals and breads, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and lean proteins can help prevent excessive weight gain, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
- Limit sugary foods and beverages. Consuming lots of sugar-filled foods and beverages like sodas, juices, and iced teas can lead to excessive weight gain.
- Encourage lots of physical activity.Staying active and limiting the time spent in sedentary activities like watching TV, being online, or playing video or computer games can help reduce the risk of weight gain and help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Being active can be as simple as walking the dog or mowing the lawn. Try to do something that gets you and your kids moving every day.
If you think your child may be overweight and at risk for type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you learn what your child’s weight goals should be and how to reach them.
How Refined Sugars Are Linked To Diabetes
The relationship between refined sugars and diabetes can be complicated. The direct effects of refined sugars include blood glucose spikes and liver insulin resistance, but there are also many interrelated secondary effects.
Diets high in refined sugars are clearly linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes, resulting from a rapid rise in blood glucose values that can overwhelm your liver in the post-meal state, resulting in fat and cholesterol synthesis in your liver.
Obesity, in turn, leads to a higher risk for insulin resistance, which is the underlying cause of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. But this relationship is not always a direct cause-and-effect relationship.
The big picture is whats important to understand: a diet high in refined sugar is a strong risk factor for weight gain, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes whereas a diet high in natural sugar from whole carbohydrates decreases your chronic disease risk.
Added Sugars Consumption In Children And Young Adults
- In 20172018, the average daily intake of added sugars was 17 teaspoons for children and young adults aged 2 to 19 years.4
- Among 2- to 5-year-olds, the average intake was 13 teaspoons for non-Hispanic Black children, 12 teaspoons for non-Hispanic White children, 11 teaspoons for Hispanic children, and 7 teaspoons for non-Hispanic Asian children.
- Among 6- to 11-year-olds, the average intake was 19 teaspoons for non-Hispanic Black children, 18 teaspoons for non-Hispanic White children, 16 teaspoons for Hispanic children, and 12 teaspoons for non-Hispanic Asian children.
- Among 12- to 19-year-olds, the average intake was 20 teaspoons for non-Hispanic Black young people, 20 teaspoons for non-Hispanic White young people, 15 teaspoons for Hispanic young people and 14 teaspoons for non-Hispanic Asian young people.
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Being Overweight Increases Your Risk
Theres no one cause of type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Genes and family history can play a role, and there isnt much you can do about that. But when it comes to the factors you can control, maintaining a healthy weight is on the top of the list in preventing the disease, delaying its onset, or slowing its progression.
Carrying excess weight, especially around the abdomen, increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as of other diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and even stroke, says Licalzi.
A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine suggests waist measurement can be as equally important as body mass index a ratio of weight and heightwhen it comes to predicting a persons disease risk, especially in type 2 diabetes.
Men should aim for a waist circumference of 40 inches or less and women should aim for 35 inches or less, according to the American Heart Association. Those who are lower weight, but have a large waist circumferencemeaning, more belly fatare also at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
One Last Question: How Much Sugar Can People With Diabetes Have
Grieger adds that there isn’t a set recommendation for the amount of sugar people with diabetes should or should not consume, as sugar is a subgroup of carbs and carbs are important to monitor on a daily basis because they can have a direct effect on blood sugar.
But the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend keeping added sugar below 10 percent of your overall daily caloric intake. And the American Heart Association suggests consuming no more than 9 teaspoons equal to 36 grams or 150 calories of added sugar if you’re a man, and 6 tsp equal to 25 g or 100 calories if you’re a woman. “Naturally occurring sugars don’t count in these recommendations,” notes Grieger, which means you should worry less about those sugars in fruits and veggies, for instance, than you should about those in processed fare.
To help cut down on added sugar in your diet, keep it simple by avoiding packaged, processed foods, and opting instead for whole foods. Try eating an apple instead of applesauce, an apple pastry, or apple juice, Grieger suggests.
Additional reporting by Melinda Carstensen
If you’re aiming to lower the amount of sugar in your diet, check out Diabetes Daily’s article “10 Ways to Reduce the Sugar in Your Diet!”
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Quick Myth Check What About Low
Low-carb diets, like the Paleo diet and the ketogenic diet, originated from a mistaken understanding of human evolution, and a flawed understanding of the function of insulin.
In individuals living with existing insulin resistance, high-carbohydrate diets can cause spikes in blood glucose, especially when those carbohydrates come from processed foods.
As a result, some doctors recommend high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets, with the goal of eliminating these blood glucose spikes.
However, its actually high-fat diets that cause insulin resistance in the first place, decreasing the ability of your liver and muscle to uptake glucose from your blood.
So while the short-term results of reducing your carbohydrate intake can lead to decreased fasting blood glucose, decreased fasting insulin, and a lower A1c, the long-term result is an increase in insulin resistance, which in turn increases your risk for chronic disease.
You can learn more about the topic in our article on 7 misleading claims about low-carbohydrate diets.
The Effect Of Sugar In The Body
Consuming too much unhealthy sugar/added sugar can greatly affect the natural balance of hormones in the body causing various abnormalities. Once you increase your intake of unhealthy sugar, the level of sugar in the blood increases significantly causing the pancreas to release insulin.
If the level of insulin is high the bodys response is to store calorie in the body in the form of fat. Too much insulin can also affect the level of leptin, a hormone which acts as a natural appetite suppressant. It is the one responsible for controlling our food intake.
It signals the brain that the body is already full and that you need to stop eating. If you take in too much sugar, you will develop a condition called leptin resistance. The brain no longer comprehends the message of the hormone leptin. Even if your body is already full your brain will continue to make you feel hungry causing you to eat more.
The last thing you know you already have a lot of fats all over your body. Not only it affects your figure, it also affects your level of activity. You will feel sluggish and not have the drive to move your body which could lead to further weight gain.
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Do Artificial Sweeteners Increase Diabetes Risk
Artificial sweeteners are man-made, sweet-tasting substances that cannot be metabolized by humans for energy. As such, they provide sweetness without any calories.
Though artificial sweeteners dont spike blood sugar levels, they have still been linked to the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes .
Drinking just one can of diet soda per day has been associated with a 2567% increased risk of type 2 diabetes, compared to drinking no diet soda at all .
Its unclear why artificial sweeteners increase diabetes risk, but there are a variety of theories.
One thought is that artificially sweetened products increase cravings for sweet-tasting foods, leading to higher sugar consumption and weight gain, which increases diabetes risk .
Another idea is that artificial sweeteners disrupt your bodys ability to properly compensate for calories consumed from sugar since your brain associates the sweet taste with zero calories .
Some research has found that artificial sweeteners can change the type and number of bacteria that live in your colon, which may contribute to glucose intolerance, weight gain and diabetes .
While there does appear to be a link between artificial sweeteners and diabetes, more research is needed to understand exactly how theyre related.
What’s A Safe Level Of Sugar
Unfortunately, Americans eat too much sugar. They don’t seem to know where to draw the line, whether or not they have diabetes. A national survey published in 2016 showed that American adults averaged at least 77 grams of added sugar per day. Children were found to eat a startling 82 grams. To put things in context, 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon.
These numbers are way above the daily limits recommended by the American Heart Association :
- Men: 36 grams
- Women: 24 grams
- Children ages 2 to 18: less than 24 grams
If you have diabetes, your healthcare provider will probably advise that you eat less sugar than the AHA’s recommendations. With a typical diet, you can quickly reach your sugar limit at breakfast. A pastry and a couple of cups of sweetened coffee will likely be above what’s safe for you.
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What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.
When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up in your body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA is very serious and can cause a coma or even death. Common symptoms of DKA include:
- Fast, deep breathing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Stomach pain.
If you think you may have DKA, test your urine for ketones. Follow the test kit directions, checking the color of the test strip against the color chart in the kit to see your ketone level. If your ketones are high, . DKA requires treatment in a hospital.
DKA happens most in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign of type 1 in people who havent yet been diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but its less common.
Nothing Special About Sugar
Recently, the debate has turned to sugar-sweetened drinks, such as fizzy drinks. Sugars in drinks are less satiating than sugars in solid foods, and this may drive our appetite to eat more. Sugary drinks have been linked to type 2 diabetes, independent of body fatness. But so have artificially sweetened low calorie drinks. Fruit juices, though, have not been linked to type 2 diabetes despite having similar sugar contents to fizzy drinks.
There is nothing special about sugar that sets it apart from other foods, and sugar does not cause type 2 diabetes on its own. Generally, people eating lots of sugar tend to have poorer diets and unhealthier lifestyles. These, as well as other factors including urban growth patterns, the built environment, the food environment, stressful jobs, poor sleep and food pricing probably contribute more to the rising incidence of type 2 diabetes than dietary sugar.
More on evidence-based articles about diabetes:
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Harm: High Blood Pressure
Usually, salt gets the blame for this condition, also called hypertension. But some researchers say another white crystal — sugar — may be a more worrisome culprit. One way they believe sugar raises blood pressure is by making your insulin levels spike too high. That can make your blood vessels less flexible and cause your kidneys to hold onto water and sodium.
How Can I Manage Or Prevent Diabetes And Gum Disease
Before you’re caught in the loop of diabetes and gum disease, follow your doctor’s and dentist’s recommendations regarding your overall physical and oral health.
For diabetes, your doctor might advise medicine and major lifestyle changes such as eating a balanced, healthy diet in normal portions and exercising more.
We noted that the American Diabetes Association developed a nutrition therapy meal plan, which includes a diet with less added sugar and less processed foods. It’s better to eat fresh and lean: fruits, vegetables, plant-based protein sources, and lean meats.
Your dentist and dental hygienist might set you up with a special oral hygiene routine and a personalized schedule for gum disease checkups. You could also receive a referral to a periodontist.
Between visits to your dental professional, a good oral home care routine is essential:
- Brush your teeth twice daily using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss at least once daily. Flossing aka interdental cleaning helps remove plaque brushing might miss.
- Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash daily.
And then there’s your sugar consumption. Does eating too much sugar cause diabetes? The answer is maybe, so why risk loading up on sugar and carbs that factor into tooth decay and diabetes?
Moderation in all things can translate into a healthy body, mouth, and smile to last a lifetime.
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The Sugar And Type 2 Diabetes Story: Not So Sweet
After the suspicion that sugar was the cause of diabetes, the scientific community pointed its finger at carbohydrates. That makes sense, notes Grieger, explaining that simple and complex carbohydrates are both metabolized as sugar, leading blood sugar levels to fluctuate.
Yet carbs are processed differently in the body based on their type: While simple carbs are digested and metabolized quickly, complex carbs take longer to go through this system, resulting in more stable blood sugar. It comes down to their chemical forms: A simple carbohydrate has a simpler chemical makeup, so it doesnt take as much for it to be digested, whereas the complex ones take a little longer, Grieger explains.
Sources of complex carbohydrates include whole-wheat bread and brown rice, legumes like black beans, and quinoa. These foods contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are appropriate for any eating plan, regardless of whether you have prediabetes, have diabetes, or are perfectly healthy. In fact, experts know including complex carbs in your daily diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, among other health benefits.
The Importance Of Portion Control For Reversing Prediabetes
Whelan notes that if you are overweight, losing weight can decrease your odds of developing type 2 diabetes. Cutting back portions is one way to lose weight. In addition, the Joslin Diabetes Center notes that portions are closely related to blood glucose control: If you eat more than recommended, your blood sugar will go up.
Whelan offers the following tips for portion control:
- Use a smaller plate and skip second helpings.
- Write down what you eat and drink for a week, which will make you more aware of how much youre consuming.
- Try to avoid snacking between meals.
- When dining out, share your main course with a friend or family member, or try taking half of it home in a to-go box.
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What Is Prediabetes Key Facts To Know
Prediabetes is a state in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of full-blown type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is also referred to as impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance, depending on the blood test used to make the diagnosis.
A diagnosis of prediabetes means that an underlying condition called insulin resistance is present, Whelan explains. Insulin a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows sugar in the blood to enter the cells. When you become insulin resistant, insulin can no longer perform this job, and the pancreas ends up producing more and more insulin to compensate, Whelan says. Initially this compensation works, and blood sugar levels remain normal or only slightly elevated, she explains a condition called prediabetes.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than one of every three adults in the United States or 84 million Americans have prediabetes.
And the majority of these people, more than 90 percent, dont even know they have it. Left unchecked, insulin resistance usually progresses to type 2 diabetes because the pancreas is no longer able to compensate for the insulin resistance effectively, Whelan says.
How Does The Body React To So Much Sugar
So, whats a smart shopper to do? Its tempting to look to alternative sugars as a magical solution. Products made with honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar or turbinado sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and dextrose, for example, are perceived as healthier choices. Dont be fooled. Your body sure isnt! Too much sugar is too much, no matter the source.
It all comes down to how fast the sugars get absorbed. For example, your body spends more time digesting an apple because of the fiber content, so the natural sugar absorbs more slowly. On the flip side, the added sugar in soda arrives all at once in your system like a sugar bomb. All that extra sugar gets converted to calories much more quickly. Not so good for your system!
If youre looking for no calories, your best option might be a plant-based sweetener like stevia or monk fruit. These sweeteners are generally recognized as safe based on published research, a conclusion which has been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration .
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