Records of the World Health Organization show the prevalence of diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate, from 108 million numbers of people in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. What makes it even more worrying is that data show diabetes is progressively becoming more common in teenagers and children.
Diabetes is a difficult disease. Complications could lead to other serious health complications, such as blindness, amputation of the lower limb, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke.
Genes may play a role on being at risk of developing diabetes, but your lifestyle is a bigger health influence.
What Causes Diabetes?
Cells in your body require a simple sugar called glucose for energy. The digestion process converts carbohydrates into glucose which is absorbed into the blood stream. To make sure your glucose levels do not drop too low or rise too high, your pancreas will release insulin. It is a hormone that signals the cells in your body to absorb glucose. When the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient levels of insulin or when the body cannot properly utilize them diabetes can occur.
Type 1 diabetes refers to the deficiency of insulin wherein the patient will need administration of insulin every day. It usually occurs during childhood and it cannot be prevented. Type 2 diabetes is the type that affects the majority of the people worldwide. It refers to the body’s inefficiency to utilize insulin which usually results from the lack of physical activity and from being overweight.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes take a time to surface and in most cases, health complications have occurred without the person noticing it. Diabetes is a chronic disease; however, it can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. According to the World Health Organization, maintaining a healthy weight, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet helps to reduce a person’s risk of developing diabetes.
Will Cutting Out Processed Meat Help Control Diabetes?
Bacon, deli meats, ham, hot dogs, and sausages can make anyone drool, but not when you know that eating just a small portion of these processed meats can possibly make you doomed for life.
Studies show that eating a few grams of processed meats daily drastically increases a person’s risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes.
A study by researchers from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that eating 50 grams of processed red meats increases a person’s diabetes risk by 32 percent.
Additional supporting evidence comes from a statistical summary of several studies including the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study I and II. Analysis of data gathered from these studies shows that eating a three-ounce serving of red meat a day increased a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 20 percent. Eating a piece of hot dog or two slices of bacon daily increased a person’s risk of diabetes by 51 percent.
Processed red meats contain a high amount of preservatives in the form of nitrates or compounds that can damage cells in the pancreas responsible for insulin production. These foods are also high in saturated fat which can increase your body’s resistance to insulin and therefore increase your risk of diabetes.
Further, processed red meats are high in sodium and calories. Regular consumption along with a lack of physical activity may lead to excess weight gain which makes you more at risk of diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
Interestingly, different studies show that even after losing weight, people who consumed the most processed meats are 20 to 60 percent more likely to develop diabetes that those who consumed the least.
The good news results from these studies also showed that ditching red meat and processed meats for healthier protein sources, such as nuts, low-fat dairy, fish, poultry and whole grains can significantly reduce diabetes risk.
Processed meats are satisfying to the palate, but are they worth making you at risk of a chronic disease? Ditch processed meats now and switch to a healthy, balanced diet mainly comprised of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Don’t forget that other healthier lifestyle choices, such as increased physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake and choosing not to smoke are also necessary to lower your diabetes risk.