5 Healthy Food habits You Never Knew Could Raise Your Diabetes Risk and blood sugar

Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, which occurs when the body cannot properly use insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. There are a number of things that can cause insulin-producing cells to become exhausted and fail. Top offenders include: inactivity, obesity, smoking, consuming too much alcohol, and regularly eating high-glycemic foods that spike blood sugar, say Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health experts. But there are other, less talked about behaviors that can increase your risk of the condition.

Take these five dietary habits, for example. They may seem harmless, but nixing them could lower your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

Eating only “starchy” vegetables
It’s great that you fit vegetables into your diet—they provide a healthy blend of nutrients, and a new study found that antioxidants found in produce could help reduce type 2 diabetes risk.

However, it’s best not to pair starchy vegetables with other carbohydrate-rich foods. (Think: rice with 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.
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Today, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes. It’s the underlying cause of over 79,000 deaths per year—and contributes to hundreds of thousands more, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, which occurs when the body cannot properly use insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. There are a number of things that can cause insulin-producing cells to become exhausted and fail. Top offenders include: inactivity, obesity, smoking, consuming too much alcohol, and regularly eating high-glycemic foods that spike blood sugar, say Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health experts. But there are other, less talked about behaviors that can increase your risk of the condition.

Take these five dietary habits, for example. They may seem harmless, but nixing them could lower your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.


1-Eating only “starchy” vegetables
It’s great that you fit vegetables into your diet—they provide a healthy blend of nutrients, and a new study found that antioxidants found in produce could help reduce type 2 diabetes risk.

However, it’s best not to pair starchy vegetables with other carbohydrate-rich foods. (Think: rice with 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.


“Many people don’t consider vegetables like sweet potatoes, corn, and peas to be sources of starch,” says Jenifer Bowman, RD, a dietitian at UCHealth in Fort Collins, Colorado. “But if you’re trying to regulate your blood sugar, you need to be aware of overall carbohydrate content.”

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. (So, quinoa or corn—not both.)

2 - Regularly snacking on dried fruit
It may seem like a healthy snack, but dried fruits can cause blood sugar spikes, and don’t ward off hunger like their fresh counterparts.

“If you eat a whole apricot, you’ll probably feel somewhat full from just one fruit,” says Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, an obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center. “However, if you’re eating dried apricot, you probably have to eat quite a few of them for the same effect.” This means you’re consuming a ton more sugar—without the fiber that will blunt its effects on your blood sugar.

“When we dry food, we take away a lot of the fibrous content that promotes satiety and helps to regulate blood sugar,” Stanford explains.

The occasional dried fruit snack won’t hurt you, but Stanford recommends eating this snack sparingly. Instead, opt for the real deal—a fresh apple or juicy grapes, for instance. (The water content in these fruits may also help to keep you fuller, longer).

3 -  Not eating enough nuts
The healthy polyunsaturated fats found in nuts and seeds have been found to help prevent type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity, according to a Swedish study. What’s more, walnuts, in particular, may activate a part of the brain that’s involved in appetite control. Snack on them in the afternoon to help you resist sugary snacks or drinks that contribute to diabetes risk.

Consuming 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. One meta-analysis from the Harvard School of Public Health found that a daily serving of red meat was associated with a 19% increased risk of type 2 diabetes. (These are 5 other health concerns linked to type 2 diabetes.)

Although researchers aren’t certain 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, like nuts, low-fat dairy, or whole grains was associated with up to a 35% lower risk of type 2 diabetes in the meta-analysis.

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5 Healthy Food habits You Never Knew Could Raise Your Diabetes Risk and blood sugar