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6 Weird Things That Might Raise Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

​Mouthwash can up your risk of type 2 diabetes? Yep, and so can these other science-backed links to the common disease.

We were surprised by these science-backed links to type 2.


By Marygrace Taylor, Prevention

Did you know using mouthwash could up your risk for type 2 diabetes?

1. Really?! I had no idea
2. Yes, I've heard that!

If you consider yourself even a little health-savvy, you probably know the basic rules for keeping your type 2 diabetes risk as low as possible: Eat right, be active, and maintain a healthy weight. But guess what? Those aren’t the only things you can do.

Believe it or not, there could be other factors at play that can up your odds for type 2. And some of them are pretty surprising. Here, six to watch for.


Going gluten-free when you don’t have to

Here’s more proof that you shouldn’t ditch the wheat, barley, and rye unless it’s truly medically necessary. People who regularly consume gluten are 13 percent less likely to develop diabetes compared to those who steer clear, found an American Heart Association study of nearly 200,000 adults.

That could be because people who avoid gluten tend to eat fewer fiber-rich whole grains, which play an important role in lowering diabetes risk. “High-fiber diets are associated with improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol,” says certified diabetes educator Deborah Malkoff, MS, RDN.

When buying grains, go for whole. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and nutrients than their refined counterparts.


Spending too much time alone

Sure, it can be nice to just curl up on the couch, watch Netflix, and not talk to anyone every once in a while. Just not all the time. Research shows that social isolation is tied to a greater risk for type 2 diabetes. (It ups your chances of dementia, too.) In fact, women aged 40 to 75 who didn’t participate in social activities were 112 percent more likely to have diabetes compared to those with strong social networks, according to new BMC Public Health findings.

Experts don’t fully understand the connection, but it’s known that people who isolate themselves from family and friends are more likely to be depressed—which is a risk factor for diabetes, says Sathya Jyothinagaram, MD, an endocrinologist at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix. So call a friend and make plans to grab coffee or see a movie. You’ll be glad you did.


Cutting out coffee

There are plenty of reasons to feel good about drinking your morning mud. Including this: People who cut their coffee consumption by more than a cup per day over a four-year period were 17 percent more likely to get diabetes compared to those who didn’t make a change, according to a Harvard University study. And those who added an extra cup fared even better—lowering their diabetes risk by 11 percent. (The findings only applied to caffeinated coffee.)

Experts don’t fully understand java’s protective effects, but drinking it seems to promote steadier blood sugar levels. Just don’t nix the benefits by pouring in sugar or another sweetener, Malkoff says. If you can’t stand the taste of black, try using stevia instead.


Using mouthwash

File under weird but true: In a University of Alabama study, people who rinsed twice daily were 55 percent more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 3 years compared to those who never used the stuff.

More research is needed to understand the association, but mouthwash works by wiping bacteria out of your mouth—both the bad and good kind. Some of those friendly bugs are thought to play a role in blood sugar regulation, and killing them off could make it harder for your levels to stay steady, Jyothinagaram says.

Still, clean teeth and gums can support better overall health. So if an oral rinse is a regular part of your routine, talk with your dentist. She can help you weigh the pros and cons to see if using mouthwash is still the right move for you.


Eating too much salt

Excess sodium consumption can make you more likely to be overweight or develop hypertension—two big diabetes risk factors. But that’s not all. Going crazy with the salt shaker may also have a direct impact on insulin resistance, say Swedish researchers. In fact, for each extra 1,000 mg of sodium subjects consumed, their diabetes risk increased by 43 percent.

Your best bet? Try to keep your sodium intake under 2,300 mg daily, the American Heart Association recommends. If you can get below 1,500 mg, even better.


Taking statins

The meds can be an important tool for getting your cholesterol in check. But taking statins is also tied to slightly increased risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a 2010 analysis of 13 studies that looked at 91,000 participants. More recent findings, published in 2017, found that statin use upped the odds for diabetes by as much as 36 percent.

How the two are related isn’t totally clear. Having high cholesterol in itself is a risk factor for diabetes, so it could be that people who take statins are already predisposed to developing T2D. Still, it’s worth considering your options if your doctor says you need to do something about your cholesterol. “For some, lifestyle choices like eating right, exercising, and quitting smoking may be a better route,” says Jyothinagaram.


See more at: Prevention

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Health Magazine: 6 Weird Things That Might Raise Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
6 Weird Things That Might Raise Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
​Mouthwash can up your risk of type 2 diabetes? Yep, and so can these other science-backed links to the common disease.
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