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Is Type 2 Diabetes Preventable? UK’s National Health Service Has An Answer

Research suggests that by 2030, every 1 in 10 people will be diabetic. To prevent this, the UK government started an NHS program. The program aims at changing people’s lifestyles for the better. They plan on doing this by helping people shed weight through exercise, dietary changes, and by embracing a healthy lifestyle. The nine-month-long program trains people in several exercises to do and given customized diet plans to suggest healthy food intake. Also, participants were supposed to wear health tracking devices to monitor their sleep and eating habits and to help them set goals.

According to Manchester University research, the program was successful, as it prevented 18000 people in the UK from developing type 2 diabetes between 2018 and 2019. Here’s what the NHS researchers want everybody to know about the role of body weight, physical exercise, and eating habits in preventing type 2 diabetes.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity is one of the most prominent reasons for developing type 2 diabetes. An obese person is seven times more likely to develop diabetes than a person maintaining a healthy weight. This is because extra fats and weight do not allow the pancreas to work properly and produce less insulin in the body to consume sugar from the food, which leaves a heavy amount of glucose floating around the bloodstream.

If an obese person reduces his weight by 7 to 10 percent, he will reduce the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by half.

Exercising is a great way to enable our pancreas to work efficiently, producing sufficient hormone insulin to consume sugar as the energy from the food consumed.

Dietary Changes

Before World War 2, only wealthy people were likely to develop type 2 diabetes because their diet used to include, oily food, excessive red meat, and sugary desserts and beverages. Hence, diet plays a crucial role in developing diabetes. Adopting healthy eating habits can prevent diabetes to a great extent.

People should consume more whole grains and whole-grain products rather than processed carbohydrates. Whole grains are rich in fiber, and bran, which is difficult for the digestive system to break down into glucose, which slows down the glucose release process in the bloodstream, hence, reducing the burden on the pancreas to produce insulin faster, thus preventing type 2 diabetes. Whole grains are also rich in essential minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals which can further help to prevent diabetes.

Sugary beverages including cold drinks, processed juices, and sweetened tea and coffee should also be avoided because they are high in glycemic load, which increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

The type of fats included in the diet matters. Not all fats are harmful. There are some healthy fats such as polyunsaturated fats which can be found in nuts, vegetable oils, and seeds. These fats are beneficial for warding off diabetes. On the other hand, trans fats are extremely harmful and should be excluded from the routine diet.

Red meat consumption also immensely raises the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. According to research, regular consumption of 3-ounce meat increases the chance of diabetes by 20%. Even a lower quantity of regular meat consumption is equally dangerous. Hence, red meat should be replaced with healthy substitutes like fish, whole grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy products. Such healthy sources of protein diet reduce the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 35%.

Other Factors

Other than the dietary changes in the lifestyle, it is also important to quit smoking and heavy consumption of alcohol. Some studies have proven that smokers are 50% more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers. Heavy smokers have even more at risk.

However, there are some pieces of evidence that show that light consumption of alcohol can prevent type 2 diabetes just like it prevents heart diseases. But it doesn’t mean a person should start drinking alcohol because alcohol is addictive, and its addictive characteristics will lead to overconsumption, which is extremely hazardous to health.

There are many other uncontrollable factors that can lead to developing type 2 diabetes, like genetics. However, it can be prevented to a great extent by adopting a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise, maintaining weight, eating healthy food in controlled portions, and quitting smoking and alcohol.

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