There's nothing sweet about diabetes

06.16.14 |

Over 100 million Americans have diabetes or are at high risk of getting this chronic disease.

One-hundred million. That’s a massive number, representing almost one-third of the American population, and it illustrates just how serious of a problem diabetes has become in the U.S.
Even worse, this trajectory is accelerating!

Between 2010 and 2012, 3 million additional Americans developed diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This worrisome rise in diabetes—which can cause serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputation of toes, feet, or legs, and premature death—will overwhelm our medical delivery system in the near future.

It’s our small, daily choices—that sugary iced mocha yesterday, fried chicken and dessert tonight, a donut tomorrow—that created this trend, and we need to reverse course before we’re buried under a mountain of sugar-induced health complications.

To halt this slide down the slippery slope toward diabetes, we need to eliminate these unhealthy choices from our daily routine and establish a new path, one that focuses on a new orientation toward health and individual responsibility.

In 95 percent of those with diabetes and in almost all pre-diabetics, adopting the Habits of Health can arrest the progression and, in most cases, eliminate the condition entirely. It starts with helping individuals align their daily choices with health production, not disease, in mind.

Our food options are limitless in today’s world.

There’s a Starbucks on every block, and golden arches planted next to a giant crown are never far away.

It’s this convenience, though, that leads us down a path of unhealth and encourages the development of Habits of Disease. The processed foods and drinks offered by these establishments are loaded with unnecessary sugars, animal fats, and preservatives, leading to a variety of health complications, like diabetes. And if the recent numbers from the CDC are any indication, we have a national crisis on our hands.

“These new numbers are alarming and underscore the need for an increased focus on reducing the burden of diabetes in our country,” said Ann Albright, who directs the division of diabetes translation at the CDC in an interview with NBC News. “Diabetes is costly in both human and economic terms. It’s urgent that we take swift action to effectively treat and prevent this serious disease.”

Understand that the choice is yours. Your health is your responsibility, and diabetes is preventable.

We know that healthy choices produce long-term health and longevity, but incentive doesn’t trump instant gratification. We need to create short-term wins that together help develop permanent, healthy habits.

Develop healthy habits

Instead of opting for a fast-food burger, pack a lunch or a quick snack—veggies and nuts are delicious and fulfilling, and you’ll feel great about the healthy choice you made as you speed past the line of cars stranded at the drive-thru. On top of this, you will feel energized the rest of the day instead of experiencing the lethargy that accompanies post-fast-food ingestion.

If you don’t have time to pack and prepare meals every day, consider pre-made healthy snacks or meal replacements. These meals are portion-controlled, low-glycemic, and they are designed to fuel your body without filling you out.

In addition, a 30-minute walk every day will do wonders for stabilizing your blood sugar levels. Physical activity has a profoundly positive impact on individuals with diabetes, a point highlighted in a study conducted by the American Diabetes Assocation.

It concludes:
“Ultimately, all patients with diabetes should have the opportunity to benefit from the many valuable effects of physical activity.”

Also, exercising as little as 20 minutes will boost your mood for a whole day! Combined with the healthy snacking and food choices, this physical activity puts you squarely on the path to becoming a healthier, happier individual.

Again, by aligning short-term benefits with long-term health goals, we can reverse diabetes and in many cases afford a cure.

These methods for creating health are ingrained in the Habits of Health. Diabetes is largely a product of an unhealthy lifestyle, and by placing a priority on your health and by making health-conscious choices, you will reduce your risk of contracting this ever-present disease.

Together, we can make 100 million a number of the past. The choice is ours.