Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, which occurs when the body cannot properly use insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Certain things such as inactivity, obesity, smoking, consuming too much alcohol, and regularly eating high-glycemic foods that spike your blood sugar all can cause insulin-producing cells to become exhausted and fail.
There are however other, less talked about behaviours that can increase your risk of the condition. Take these four dietary habits, for example which.may seem totally harmless, but avoiding them can help lower your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
Eating Starchy Vegetables Only
It’s always nice to add vegetables to your diet as they can help to provide a healthy blend of nutrients, and a new study has also found that antioxidants found in vegetables could help reduce type 2 diabetes risk.
However, it’s best not to pair starchy vegetables with other carbohydrate-rich foods such as sweet potatoes. While too much starch doesn’t directly raise your risk of diabetes, it can contribute to weight gain and blood sugar spikes, both of which could up your risk. As with any food, moderation is key.
To make sure every meal is a balanced one, fill half your plate with non-starchy produce like leafy greens, then fill the rest with equal parts protein and grains or starchy vegetables.
Regularly Eating Dried Fruits
Dried fruits may seem like a healthy snack but they have the ability to cause a spike in your blood sugar levels and fail to ward off hunger like fresh fruits. If you eat a whole apricot, you will probably feel full from just one fruit, however, if you’re eating dried apricot, you probably have to eat quite a few of them for the same effect.
What this means is that you’re consuming a lot more sugar without the fiber that will blunt its effects on your blood sugar. Drying fruits takes away a lot of the fibrous content that promotes satiety and helps to regulate blood sugar. It is as such best to eat dried fruits sparingly. Instead, opt for a fresh apple or juicy oranges.
Eating Too Much Red Meat
Although red meat is typically associated with heart disease risk, there’s evidence that eating it even in small amounts can increase the risk of diabetes. Even though researchers are not certain as to how red meat causes an increased risk, its high iron content could play a role by damaging insulin-producing cells.
Swapping a daily serving of red meat for a healthier source of protein, such as nuts, dairy, or whole grains can significantly lower your risk of type 2 diabetes up to 35 percent.
Eating Processed Foods Instead Of Fresh Ones
Research has also shown that eating a small amount of processed meat every day increases diabetes risk by 51 percent. The high levels of preservatives and sodium in processed meat may play a role in spiking your blood sugar levels.
What Should You Eat Instead?
Lean amounts of protein, be it from animal sources or other sources are the best. Avoid processed meats the best you can, except for mildly processed ones. If you want to lower your risk of developing diabetes, it’s best to choose whole foods whenever possible, including whole grains.
Research shows that diets rich in whole grains reduce diabetes risk, while those rich in refined carbohydrates increase risk. Meanwhile, whole grains like rolled oats have fiber that slows down digestion and wards off blood sugar spikes. They’re also rich in nutrients and phytochemicals that may help fight off diabetes.