World Diabetes Day, observed annually on November 14th, aims to raise awareness about diabetes, promote its prevention, and encourage effective management. This global initiative was established through collaboration between the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The central theme for World Diabetes Day in 2023 is ‘Access to Diabetes Care.
Diabetes, a persistent health condition, results from the body’s inability to regulate blood sugar levels effectively. It manifests primarily in two forms: type-1 and type-2. Type 2 diabetes emerges when the body becomes resistant to insulin’s effects or when the pancreas fails to produce adequate insulin. Lifestyle factors such as obesity, poor dietary choices, and insufficient physical activity are often linked to its development.
Both types of diabetes can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, which, if unmanaged, can give rise to severe health complications affecting various bodily organs and systems. Several foods can exacerbate the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, particularly when consumed excessively or as part of an unhealthy diet. Below, we discuss the impact of certain foods on increasing the risk of diabetes.
Here are 10 foods that heighten the risk of diabetes
Sugary beverages: Regular consumption of sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices elevates the risk of diabetes. Opt for healthier alternatives such as water, unsweetened teas, or fruit-infused water.
White bread and refined grains: Foods made from white flour and refined grains have a high glycemic index, leading to blood sugar spikes. Choose whole-grain options like brown rice, quinoa, or whole-grain bread.
Processed meats: Bacon, sausages, and deli meats often contain excessive sodium and preservatives, contributing to the risk of diabetes. Opt for lean sources of protein like skinless chicken, fish, or legumes.
French fries and potato chips: These items are typically fried in unhealthy oils and significantly increase the risk of type-2 diabetes. Consider baking homemade sweet potato fries or selecting air-popped popcorn as a healthier snack.
Sugary breakfast cereals: Most breakfast cereals are laden with added sugars, which can elevate blood sugar levels. Choose whole-grain cereals devoid of added sugars or opt for oatmeal garnished with fresh fruits and nuts.
Fried foods: Fried foods like fried chicken or fried snacks can foster inflammation and insulin resistance. Instead, choose baked or grilled alternatives to mitigate the risk of diabetes.
High-fat dairy products: Full-fat dairy products contain saturated fats that can heighten the risk of diabetes. Opt for low-fat or non-fat dairy options such as skim milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese.
Foods high in trans fats: Trans fats, often found in processed snacks, cookies, and margarine, elevate the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Seek trans-fat-free alternatives or select healthier fats like olive oil or avocado.
Artificially sweetened beverages: Despite being calorie-free, artificial sweeteners can still augment the risk of diabetes and disrupt blood sugar control. Choose sparkling water or herbal tea as healthier, sugar-free alternatives.
High-sugar desserts: Cakes, cookies, and pastries are replete with refined sugars and unhealthy fats, increasing the risk of diabetes. Consider homemade desserts using natural sweeteners like dates, maple syrup, or fruits to make healthier choices.
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