Lately, thanks to an increase in health awareness (and hipster health trends) among Malaysians, many healthy habits have been rising in popularity. Which is great!
Most, if not all, of us are aware that overindulging in food and not getting enough exercise can lead to dire consequences. Many health problems are on the rise, not just in Malaysia, but the whole world. One of the most terrifying issues is diabetes as it’s a long term condition with the potential of serious health complications. According to The Star, approximately 3.5 million Malaysians today have diabetes, and with each passing year, the statistics continue to rise at an alarming rate.
So, why is it that these numbers are rising so sharply when it seems like healthy trends are also increasing steadily? The reason is that there’s lots of misinformation out there and our “healthy” habits can actually increase our chances of diabetes instead. Similar to how there are wrong ways to work out, there are also countless ways to mess up your diet; and when you do, it can lead to diabetes as well! Jeng jeng jeng!
Hence, if you plan to live healthier or are currently taking steps to take care of your health, be sure to avoid these habits because they’re all a big no-no to prevent diabetes:
1. Eating vegetarian food
Excess consumption of meat has been found to be linked with increased risk of high cholesterol, heart disease and certain cancers, so it’s perfectly understandable that some people choose to limit their intake. As a result, some people turn to a vegetarian diet to get healthy, but what they don’t realise is that it can lead to serious health problems if you do it wrong. Say what?!
Well, Malaysia has many varieties of “vegetarian meat” dishes (or “fake meat”) which are impressive replicas of our favourite foods, from deep fried chicken to mutton curry. However, these tend to be terrible for your health as the majority of these are made up of refined flour that are heavily flavoured with sugar and MSG. What’s worse, most people would eat that with a side of rice. Thus, it’s an overload of carbs, and when the digestive system breaks it down and turns it into sugar, this increases our blood sugar levels sharply and can lead to an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes (not to mention heart disease and colorectal cancer)!
2. Trying to satisfy cravings by stuffing yourself with healthy foodEver had one of those days where you really wanted that bar of chocolate, but thought you could curb the craving by eating a bunch of fruits because it was a healthier option? Well guess what? By replacing unhealthy food with “healthy food”, we often make ourselves think that it’s okay to have more. In doing so, we end up chomping down more calories (yes, healthy food contains calories too) compared to if we’d just eaten a bit of chocolate in the first place.
Next time you’re craving something unhealthy, don’t fall into the trap of eating a lot more of something because you believe it’s a healthier alternative. Find out the trade-off between a small bit of your guilty pleasure versus a reasonable portion of its healthier alternative and choose wisely!
3. Waking up super early and/or sleeping super late to fit in more exerciseGetting enough exercise is crucial for anyone, but getting the right amount of sleep is also vital for those who want to lead a long and healthy life. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, a research carried out on almost 5,000 people found that those who slept less than 4.5 hours or more than 8.5 hours a night, had higher A1C levels. This means that individuals with too little or too much sleep risked facing high blood sugar levels, which is super unfair when you are exercising hard and not even overindulging in your favourite foods. So make sure you catch up on some Z’s!
4. You exercise but don’t cut down on any of the unhealthy food
Exercise is super important for your health but it’s not exactly a free pass to eat whatever you want 24/7. There’s a pretty unfair exchange rate between food and exercise because exercise is actually not that effective at burning off calories. What, sure or not?!
Yes, it’s true! Think about it, according to Procon, an individual weighing about 60kg would need to jog a whole hour to burn approximately 341 calories. To put this into perspective, according to The Star, just one Roti Telur and dhal already come up to about 414 calories. This isn’t to say exercising isn’t important, it is! Just make sure you also watch what you eat!
Basically, unless you made it your full-time job, you probably wouldn’t have enough hours in a day to burn off your excess calories if you don’t exercise any self-control when eating your favourite foods!
5. You avoid anything and everything FAT
Yes, too much of fatty foods like nasi lemak and hokkien mee is bad for you. Duh. However, completely cutting your fat intake is a horrible idea as well.
In fact, the fat your body gets from food is vital to create essential fatty acids like linoleic acid. According to Medline Plus, these acids are essential because they are critical for brain development, blood clotting and controlling inflammation. Without the fat from foods, our bodies are unable to create these acids on its own. The fats you eat also provide energy for your body to work. Running on low fuel would automatically make you hungry much faster and you might end up replacing that void with calories from carbs and sugar instead! What’s worse is that, unlike fat, the sugar from carbs will result in a quick surge and dip in your blood sugar, causing you to want more food (even though you just ate), and of course increase your blood sugar levels.
Eat small amounts of healthy fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts, fish, etc.) instead of avoiding them completely. Moderation is the key!
6. Eating everything from health food storesThere’s an insane amount of products in the market that are sold as healthy and target you for wanting to take better care of your health. For example, granola bars and muesli because they contain healthy ingredients like oats, seeds and fruits. However, hidden between all this healthy goodness is an incredibly large amount of calories from the product’s sweeteners, like sugar and honey. Even the fruits itself in granola and muesli contribute to the high sugar content. What’s more, according to the Food Network, just a bowl of granola or muesli could actually add up to about 600 calories!
So if you think shopping at the health food store automatically means you’re eating healthy, think again. Next time you go grocery shopping, make sure you read up on the ingredients and nutrition facts behind the packaging. Know what you’re eating!
7. You replace your meals with fruits and juices
According to a study published on The Lancet, it was found that juices are so high in calories and sugar that they’re almost similar to carbonated drinks. It may seem like the healthier choice, but it won’t keep us full for very long AND, it will cause our blood sugar to spike like crazy!
If you really want to benefit from fruits, eat them whole. Eating whole fruits will give you much more fiber and according to the American Dietetic Association, fiber helps with digestion, lowering cholesterol and controlling blood sugar too. On the other hand, according to an article by CNN, if you go on an all-fruit diet or simply replace meals with fruits, you not only miss out on important nutrients but the high sugar content can overwork your pancreas as it constantly tries to release insulin to control the sugar levels. You’ll also be depriving your body of much needed calories, which can put your body into starvation mode. In the long run, this can lead to osteoporosis, severe dehydration, and even heart failure!
So have your fruits, but just make sure it’s in moderation and NOT to replace any meals!
As you can probably tell by now, there are countless ways your supposedly ‘healthy’ behaviours could mess you up as all that hard work can lead to major health issues such as diabetes!
In fact, according to our Health Ministry, one in five Malaysians suffers from diabetes.
That’s a scary statistic! There is unfortunately no cure for diabetes and individuals facing this have a much higher chance of suffering from stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, amputation, major cardiac events, and so forth. That’s scary!
Maybe you, or someone you know, is dealing with diabetes, and although that means you have to be very careful with your diet and overall health, it doesn’t mean you can’t still live a worry-free life.
If you have Type 2 Diabetes, one way you can still lead a stress-free life is with the Allianz Diabetic Essential plan!
So if you know someone with Type 2 Diabetes, make sure you tell them about this new plan ASAP!
Find out more about Allianz Diabetic Essential here!
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