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Dr. Rajeev Kurapati: 10 causes of diabetes you just can’t ignore

By Dr. Rajeev Kurapati
NKyTribune columnist

More than 380 million people worldwide have diabetes, about 8.5 percent of the world’s population, making it one of our most significant health problems.

Here are 10 things you might not be aware about keeping your blood sugar in check.

1. Less sleep = more risk for diabetes

Inadequate sleep disrupts our body’s metabolism and increases the risk of diabetes and obesity. This translates into a yearly weight gain of more than 10 pounds if diet and activity are unchanged. The result: Increased glucose concentration and poor insulin secretion leading to an increased risk for diabetes.

It’s clear that getting enough sleep is vital for health, and that sleep should be at night for best effect.

2. A yogurt a day keep diabetes away

Harvard researchers found that consumption of one ounce serving of yogurt per day was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

The study showed that probiotic bacteria found in yogurt improves fat profiles and antioxidants and can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

3. Moderate coffee consumption may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes by 25 percent

Coffee consumption has a positive effect on your blood sugar. Drinking three to four cups of coffee per day is associated with an almost 25 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to those who consume less coffee. And, it doesn’t stop there. Each additional cup can reduce your relative risk by another 7-8 percent. Studies also suggest that the same risk-lowering effects are brought on by decaffeinated coffee, as well. However, this is only a general guideline because scientists also discovered that the effects of coffee vary from person to person based on their genetic makeup. So, if you happen to be one of those who bounce off the walls after a single cup of coffee, limit your consumption to a minimum.

4. Fast-foods fuel diabetes.

In general, fast-foods are high in total fat, trans-fatty acids and sodium. Adding to this, the portion sizes have increased two to fivefold over the last 50 years. Your proximity to fast food chains has been linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For every additional two fast food spots per neighborhood, studies show one additional diabetes case. If you are in a neighborhood with several fast food chains, be mindful of this fact.

5. Daily breakfast can mean lower risk for diabetes for children.

Children who don’t eat breakfast have higher glucose levels than those who eat a healthy breakfast. Regular breakfast consumption, particularly involving consumption of a high fiber cereal, could protect against the early development of type 2 diabetes risk.

6. The traditional Mediterranean diet protects against diabetes

The major protective characteristics of a Mediterranean diet are high fiber and vegetable fat, low intake of trans fatty acids (Trans fats in our diet raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels), and a moderate intake of alcohol. In addition, a key element of the diet is the abundant use of virgin oil for cooking, frying, spreading on bread, and dressing salads. Such a diet can work to prevent cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes.

7. High-fat meals could be more harmful to males than females

Male and female brains are not equal when it comes to our biological response to high-fat diets. Females have a better biological mechanism to help protect them from the harmfulness of bad diets. The brains of females seem to have a chemical shield that protects against the dangers of fats and sugars. Men, be especially mindful of your diet!

8. Our mom’s diet effects our own, even in the long-term

Mothers who eat an unhealthy diet during pregnancy may be putting their children at risk of developing long-term, irreversible health issues including obesity, raised levels of cholesterol and blood sugar, according to research. Studies show that the more weight that pregnant women put on, the higher the risk of obesity for that child. In many ways “we are what our parents eat.”

9. Sunshine may slow weight gain and diabetes onset

Exposure to moderate amounts of sunshine may slow the development of obesity and diabetes, studies show.  Exposure to sunlight, together with plenty of exercise and a healthy diet, may help prevent the development of obesity in children. With shift in work habits from open fields to closed office spaces, most of us are not exposed to adequate sunlight, making us increasingly susceptible to chronic illnesses such as Diabetes.

10. A soda a day can increase risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 22 percent

Just one 12-ounce sugar-sweetened soft drink a day can mean a meaningful increase in risk of developing diabetes or obesity. Whereas, consumption of pure or diluted fruit juice was not significantly associated with diabetes risk. Take Home: Consumption of sugar-sweetened soda is linked to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.


Dr. Rajeev Kurapati is a board certified family physician practicing at St. Elizabeth Hospitals in Northern KY. He is the author of the award-winning book “Unbound Intelligence,” released in January 2014. By uniting the theories of science, the nature of biology and the wisdom of spiritual traditions, Dr. Kurapati empowers readers to understand the complex workings of the mind and the role this plays in the journey to happiness. He lives in Cincinnati with his family. Contact him at RAJEEV.KURAPATI@gmail.com


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One Comment

  1. I have read somewhere that too little sleep may fuel insulin resistance. Don’t know how much of it is true.

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