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How does a Type 2 Diabetic Develop

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When one eats sugar or starch, the blood sugar level rises and the pancreas releases the proper amount of insulin to keep blood sugar within the normal range. In someone who is a type 2 diabetic, the production and/or action of insulin is inefficient, so after eating your blood sugar goes up but doesn’t return to normal levels.

Clinicians look at diabetes not as a sugar problem but as an “insulin inefficiency.” There is, however, an important caveat here: Even though eating sugar does not cause diabetes, “if you have the gene for diabetes, eating an excess of sweets, over time, may accelerate the onset of diabetes by over-stressing your beta cells causing them to become compromised,” says Dr. Gerald Bernstein, director of the Diabetes Management Program at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City.

Bernstein also says that consuming too many calories and too much fat contributes to insulin resistance, which hastens the expression of the gene(s) for diabetes. Dr. Bernstein advises that if you are a type 2 diabetic risk and like to eat sweets, you should make sure you get enough physical activity to burn off excess calories and keep your weight in check. This will help neutralize stress to the beta cells. If you are a type 2 diabetic you’ve probably already lost some beta cell function, but maintaining a proper weight and getting regular physical activity can help halt further loss.

If you don’t have the gene for diabetes, then no matter how much sugar or fat you consume, you will not get diabetes, except there’s a caveat here too: your age, says Dr. Bernstein. When you are eighty years old, your beta cells may not work quite the way they did forty years ago and may be unable to withstand the stress of too many sweets or too much weight as they once did.

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