You sure don’t need me to tell you that downing sugary foods from Snickers Bars to snickerdoodles all day long is like a recipe for type 2 diabetes. And it’s certainly no newsflash that tossing back a six pack or more of soda every day is bound to eventually knock your blood sugar out of balance.
But the results of a recent Swedish study may still leave you a bit stunned. Because, according to researchers, drinking just a single soda a day could more than DOUBLE your risk for diabetes.1
That finding alone is pretty shocking. After all we’ve been led to believe moderation is the key when it comes to most things in life. And a single soda, especially if you’re eating well otherwise, seems like a minor indulgence.
But wait, that’s not all the scientists uncovered. Far from it.
Regular OR diet soda raises diabetes risk
It turns out it doesn’t matter if that single glass of soda a day—what amounts to about a can and a half—is a full sugar soft drink, or a sugar-free diet version. Regardless, they both send your diabetes risk skyrocketing!
Experts say, even in more modest amounts, sugary drinks are likely triggering insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes. And they theorize diet sodas mislead your brain stimulating your appetite so you eat more, as well as mess with your gut bugs, leading to glucose intolerance.
The solution, of course, is to kick the soda habit. Try lemon or lime infused water, unsweetened tea or coffee instead.
But a soda a day isn’t the only surprising habit that can send your blood sugar climbing. Following are three more everyday things that could send your diabetes risk rocketing right through the roof.
1. Burning the midnight oil:
You may already know how critical getting enough shut eye is to staying healthy. Shortchanging your sleep is linked to everything from blood sugar issues to heart problems.
But what you might not know is simply burning the midnight oil—even if you’re clocking in at the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep—makes you 1.7 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
And guys who stay up late have nearly three times the risk, according to research published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.2
The Korean researchers say it’s the kind of the sleep that most night owls are getting that’s likely to blame. Poor sleep quality tends to mess with your metabolism, increasing your diabetes risk.
But experts also say if you regularly stay up late other factors are probably contributing to your risk too. For example, staying up late means you likely end up eating late too.
Plus research has found regular exposure to bright lights, and the glow of electronics late at night, confuses your circadian rhythm, lowering your insulin sensitivity and messing with your blood sugar.
If you’re a dedicated night owl who is always burning the midnight oil try slowly pushing your bedtime a bit earlier. Even just 15 minutes a week will move you in the right direction.
In the meantime avoid late night snacking, opt for a single lamp, switch off your devices at least an hour before bedtime and consider a melatonin supplement until you’re back on track.
2. Asking for unneeded antibiotics:
Antibiotics are fantastic. They literally save lives. But unfortunately in this case, as is true with most things in life, too much of a good thing has turned bad.
Antibiotic overuse is an epidemic in the Western world. We’ve been using these powerful drugs to “treat” every sniffle, cough and cut that comes along regardless of whether or not they’re needed, or even effective.
The result is antibiotic resistance, which means when we REALLY need these drugs we can’t always count on them anymore. And despite having known about this issue for years, research shows we’re still asking for them and docs are still writing scripts for them.
But it turns out antibiotic resistance may not be the only consequence of taking a lot of antibiotics. A major study has linked taking a number of these drugs to a significant increase in your risk for type 2 diabetes.
According to researchers taking just two to four antibiotics within the last 15 years is linked to a 23 percent higher risk for diabetes. And, shockingly, five or more sent that risk skyrocketing 53 percent.3
Although we can’t yet say for sure that frequent use of antibiotics directly causes type 2 diabetes, the link is very clear and there’s plenty of smoke to have experts concerned. Plus other research has connected the overgrowth of bad belly bacteria—a common consequence of taking antibiotics—to the inflammation and insulin resistance that leads to diabetes.4,5
Commit to only using these drugs when they are needed. For example, antibiotics do nothing for viruses such as the common cold. And in many cases allowing a minor infection to run its course, and using natural antibiotics instead, is perfectly safe. Just check with your doctor first. And you can boost your good belly bug levels by eating more probiotic rich foods such as yogurt, kefir and miso.
3. Putting up with pesky pesticides:
If you haven’t already made the switch to organic foods, you might want to now. Because according to a recent analysis of 21 studies, pesticides are linked to a stunning 61 percent increase in your risk of developing diabetes.
When the researchers drilled down even further into the studies that looked specifically at associations between pesticides and type 2 diabetes the risk jumped to 64 percent, according to the research presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.6,7
More research is under way, but in the meantime it would be wise to limit your exposure to pesticides. Make the switch to organic fruits and veggies, which are well worth the extra cost. And if you’re a gardener quit using chemical pesticides at home.