If you struggle with diabetes you already know that controlling blood sugar levels is a fundamental part of managing the progression of diabetes.
You probably also know that avoiding sugary foods can help you avert unwanted blood sugar spikes.
But can eating too many sugary foods actually cause diabetes in the first place?
In this article we will explore the role that sugar plays in diabetes, and if eating sugary foods can actually cause type two diabetes.
What Is Diabetes?
While there are many roads that can lead to diabetes, many different challenges that prevent a person from overcoming diabetes, and a myriad of complications that can arise from having diabetes, those things are not diabetes.
What diabetes is is actually very simple:
Diabetes is chronically high blood sugar.
When you go to the doctor they will take a blood test called HbA1C. Your A1C is an average of your blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. If your A1C is above a certain threshold (meaning that your average blood sugar levels were above a certain amount on average over the past few months), your doctor will tell you that you have diabetes.
If your average blood sugar is too high, you have diabetes.
That seems too simple...
Diabetes can manifest itself into a number of other complications, such as insulin resistance, pancreas beta cell damage, neuropathy, carbohydrate sensitivity or intolerances, and many other complications or disorders.
All of these things are important, and should be addressed, but ultimately when we are talking about diabetes, we are talking about chronically high blood sugar.
The good news is..
The good news is that if you can lower blood sugar levels below a certain threshold, your doctor will tell you that you are pre-diabetic or perhaps no longer diabetic at all.
How you actually go about lowering your blood sugar will again depend on what kind of other complications you have (if any), and that's a discussion for later, but just know that if you can lower blood sugar levels back under the "diabetic threshold" it means that by definition, you no longer have diabetes.
So does eating sugary foods cause diabetes?
Whether or not a person develops type two diabetes is based on a number of factors including:
- Your diet (including whether or not you eat sugary foods)
- How physically active you are
- Your age
- Your genetics
- Stress levels
- Your social circle
- Whether or not you smoke
- And so much more
While sugar intake can be a major factor that puts people at risk of diabetes, there is no "one thing" that will determine whether or not a person will develop diabetes. There are many more factors at play. Here are a few questions you can ask to decrease your likelihood of becoming diabetic.
- Do you eat a lot of carbs, sugar, and processed foods?
- Do you rarely exercise?
- Do your parents or siblings have diabetes?
- Do most of your friends have diabetes?
That last one might seem confusing because clearly diabetes isn't "contagious" in itself, so why is that a question to ask? The reality is that people tend to live similar lifestyles to those in our social circles, and if many of the people you spend a lot of time with have diabetes, the same "lifestyle risk factors" that contributed to their diabetes may also contribute to an increased risk for you.
Diabetes is a cumulative disease, not an acute one.
The cold is an acute disease. It's caused by bacteria or a virus, and once your immune system kills that pathogen, the cold is over. A broken arm is an acute injury. The bone is broken, you put it in a cast, and once it heals, the injury is gone.
Diabetes is a disease that accumulates over time. It could be a choice to eat at your unhealthy but convenient workplace café instead of packing a healthy lunch from home. It could be a choice to start driving to work rather than riding your bike. Maybe it was a choice to cancel your gym membership when finances got tight or a choice to eat more fast food rather than buying fresh produce or groceries.
Over time these choices compound, and increase your risk of getting diabetes.
Diabetes is a series of choices.
When you think about diabetes in this way, you realize that diabetes isn't about whether or not you eat sugary foods. Diabetes is ultimately made from a series of choices. The choices you make about your diet, exercise regimen, to smoke cigarettes or not, who you spend your time with, and so much more. That is why the solution for diabetes must be a change to your lifestyle.
Taking a pill might help, but it will never truly reverse your diabetes. The only thing that can do that is to replace old habits with new ones. To help those struggling with type two diabetes we created the 14 Day Blood Sugar Challenge. Think of it as a way to jumpstart new, healthy habits that will ultimately help you avoid the struggles that can come with diabetes.
It's designed to help jumpstart your success and allow you to start seeing results with your blood sugar levels in as little as 14 days. This program focuses on dietary changes, but also teaches you simple tips and tricks to help you to develop healthier habits along the way.
Diabetes isn't like a broken bone, or a cold, or a sunburn. It isn't something with one obvious cause and one obvious solution. Instead, diabetes is made up of a series of lifestyle choices and decisions that have been compounded over years or even decades.
If you want to improve your condition, it's going to be up to you to make changes. We aren't talking about superficial changes. You really do need to live differently if you want to get a different result.
Our 14 Day Challenge is our attempt to make it easier.
We give you everything you need to succeed at living a healthier lifestyle, and a roadmap to start seeing healthier blood sugar levels in as little as 14 days.
If you're tired of being confused about what to eat and what to do, give the challenge a try. It's worked for thousands of people and it can work for you too.
We look forward to seeing you in the program and helping you achieve all your health goals!