The International Diabetes Federation says the global burden of diabetes will surge from 382 million to 592 million by 2035. That is a lot of people suffering from an often preventable disease. It is also estimated that one in ten people have or will have diabetes worldwide, and the age of onset is getting younger and younger – kids as young as 8 are now being diagnosed with what used to be called “adult onset diabetes.” The upside to these dreary statistics is that most of this disaster is preventable.
But we need to act. If not, simply ignoring the problem will cause an inevitable burden on our health care system, affected individuals, as well as the families trying to care for them.
China, India and the US have the most number of people affected worldwide, but that is only because they have the most numbers of people, so we can’t get cocky. Canada is marching stiffly toward the same ratios, and The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates that 9 million Canadians have diabetes or pre-diabetes, many of them without the symptoms that would prompt them to get help.
Lifestyle choices have the biggest impact on preventing this disease; one that can cause nerve and kidney damage, as well as increased risk of liver and heart disease. It really is that simple. For instance, preventing weight gain or losing just 10% of your current weight has a massive impact on your risk.
But there is good news, and you can go a long ways yourself to prevent diabetes.
Ridiculously simple ways to protect yourself against diabetes:
- Get more sleep. A lack of sleep has a profound impact on weight gain, even or perhaps especially in children. Cut back on one superfluous activity each day (TV? Gaming? ) and to bed.
- Simply dropping liquid calories from your day can make up the difference. We drink 300-500 calories each day from cream and sugar in coffee to juice to pop. Go for 50% reduction today. Dump soda, water down juice and get used to half the sugar in your java. Go all the way asap!
- Implement NEAT in your life. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis. That is all the action you do in your day that isn’t actually working out. Parking at the end of the lot and walk 3 minutes actually saves you time trying to troll for that spot near the door. And, it pumps up your metabolism. Walking up or down a flight of stairs is more efficient that waiting for an elevator and goes a long way toward getting 30 extra minutes of movement into your day. That is all you will need.
- Be sure you are getting enough fibre. Not only does it bulk up your stool, new evidence shows that a healthy gut converts it to a chemical called acetate which passes the blood brain barrier to activate the brain’s “full” sensors.
- Add chia to your day. This tiny, tasteless grain contains plenty of micronutrients plus is the best form of both fibres you can find.
Managing diabetes is a difficult, uphill battle but preventing it is almost completely within your control. So what are you waiting for? Tie on some shoes and take a walk to the grocery store for some chia!
Do you have any tips to share or experience with combating diabetes?