There are currently 29 million Americans living with diabetes, an overwhelming majority of those cases being Type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is most prevalent in adults over the age of 35, but that demographic is starting to change; currently, more than 200,000 Americans under the age of 20 have the disease.
Diabetes occurs when the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin, and as a result, the pancreas strains to produce more of it. Eventually, the pancreas can no longer maintain a healthy level of insulin production, which can lead to a number of adverse, long-term effects such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, gum infections, skin infections, and even life-threatening comas.
While the leading predictors of diabetes are age, genetics, and family history, an individual’s eating habits may ultimately determine whether he or she develops the disease. Diets reliant on processed fast food, sugary beverages, refined carbohydrates, and red meat are more likely to rapidly spike blood sugar levels, leading to insulin resistance down the road. No foods need to be eliminated from your diet completely, but swapping in high-fiber, slow-release carbohydrates whenever possible will prevent the body from producing too much insulin.
Here are 10 eating habits that are raising your risk of developing diabetes.