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Simple Tricks to Avoid a "Deadly" Diabetes, Say Doctors Now

Sugar building up in your blood can be fatal. Follow these tips to save your life. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

You can have diabetes and love a long life, managing it—but it's also deadly, one of the leading causes of death in America. Why is it so dangerous? "Diabetes is the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy," says the CDC. "Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in your blood." Better, then, to not get it at all. There are some simple tricks you can use to avoid ever getting diabetes (although some people are genetically disposed). Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.

1

Do This Exact Workout

Female athlete with protective face mask doing plank exercise with hand weights in a gym.
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You already know that exercising benefits your health, but what exercises to do exactly? The CDC has the answer: Develop or find a fitness program for yourself that has both aerobic activity—swimming, cycling, running, rowing, for example—and also resistance training (grab a dumbbell, do some pushups). Research shows that mixing both can help control diabetes and prevent diabetes. As a result, you'll lower your blood sugar, lose weight and also keep your blood sugar within normal range. Aim for 30 minutes minimum, 5 days a week.

2

Lose This Percentage of Your Current Weight (if You Are Overweight)

Doctor measuring obese man waist body fat.
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"Excess weight is the single most important cause of type 2 diabetes," according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School for Public Health. "Being overweight increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes seven-fold. Being obese makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight. Losing weight can help if your weight is above the healthy-weight range. Losing 7-10% of your current weight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half."

3

Up Your Fiber Intake

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Make sure each meal includes a good fiber source. These sources can help prevent blood sugar spikes and stabilize insulin levels. Peas, corn bran, oat bran and psyllium have been proven to have "substantial reductions" in blood glucose, but simple legumes, nuts and seeds, while grains, whole oats and veggies all help. 

4

Make Sure You're Getting Enough of This Vitamin

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Studies have shown that ensuring you have enough Vitamin D can help. "Vitamin D is believed to help improve the body's sensitivity to insulin – the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels – and thus reduce the risk of insulin resistance, which is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes," according to the UK's diabetes authority.

RELATED: The #1 Cause of Diabetes, According to Science

5

Drink These Beverages

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Added sugars can be found in everything from breads to pasta sauce, but they are never more nefarious than in sugary drinks; by drinking your calories, you get zero fiber. Instead, drink water, tea or coffee. Don't think diet soda is all that much better. One "study also found that drinking more artificially sweetened beverages in place of sugary beverages did not appear to lessen diabetes risk. However, replacing one daily serving of a sugary beverage with water, coffee, or tea was linked with a 2–10% lower risk of diabetes," according to Harvard.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Prevent Dementia, Says Dr. Sanjay Gupta

6

Quit Smoking

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We saved this one for last because it's the most obvious—smoking contributes to almost every most-common cause of death, including diabetes. "We now know that smoking causes type 2 diabetes. In fact, smokers are 30–40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers," says the CDC. "And people with diabetes who smoke are more likely than nonsmokers to have trouble with insulin dosing and with controlling their disease." For free help to quit, call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit CDC.gov/tips. And to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss these 13 Everyday Habits That Are Secretly Killing You.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more
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