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What cause diabetes?

8/17 8:56:33

Question
Hello,

I am 19 years old. I am trying to live a healthy lifestyle. I eat lots of Fruits, Vegetables (7+ servings), and whole grains. I limit sugar and salt, and eat healthy fats (from olive oil, avocados, etc). I take a Green Drink, one that has wheat grass, barley grass, etc. I Exercise regularly (I am not overweight). But in my family, diabetes runs high. What cause it? Am I during enough to try to prevent the disease?

What about eating one treat (Sweet) per day? At the end of the day, I like to indulge myself in a little sweet, like a donut or a cookie (I try to eat the ones that has the lowest sugar/carbs/fats. Is this bad? Will that increase the risks of diabetes? I do not feel guilty because I ate healthy all day long. Please give your medical advice. I do not want diabetes, and will stop if such sweets can cause it.

Thanks,

Answer
Dear Ray,
You certainly know a lot about healthy diets for someone your age!
We don't know what causes diabetes, but we do know that being overweight greatly increases the chances of developing Type 2 (which is the type people get as adults). You don't mention your weight, but from what you tell me I assume it is within a healthy range.
As you age you are more likely to begin to experience a decrease in your body's response to handling sugar properly. If you were very overweight this could happen next year, and if you kept taking care of yourself you could put it off until your 60's even though it runs in your family. Look at the relatives you have with diabetes... are they usually overweight?

Having a sweet won't cause diabetes, but having excess calories that leads to being overweight is more likely. Think about modifying your treat at the end of the day. I'm not sure what kind of cookie you are having and if it's less than 100 calories it's not a bad choice--donuts, on the other hand, can have 250 calories, depending on the size, brand, icing, etc. Perhaps you can have a lower-sugar treat occasionally like popcorn or a bowl of cereal (which also has more nutrition--especially from the milk--than a donut) or a fruit or a small sandwich.
Part of the reason I suggest this is because if you get in the habit of having daily sweets and then have to cut them out if you get diabetes in 20 years, it will be an extremely difficult habit to break!

Keep up the good work paying attention to your diet and activity level. Your body will thank you :)
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