Bad news for Big Pharma--a slew of new studies finds that diabetes meds do little to prevent diabetes-related death, and virtually nothing at all to stop new cases of the disease.

The answer from the latest research is resounding: Drugs won't save your life. In fact, the studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine should make anyone wonder why these nothing pills are even given at all:

  • The popular diabetes drug Starlix did nothing to prevent new cases of diabetes in people at risk for the condition.
  • Starlix also did nothing to lower the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and death in those patients.
  • The blood pressure med Diovan lowered the risk of diabetes by only 14 percent--while doing nothing to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.
  • Cholesterol meds did nothing to boost levels of "good" HDL cholesterol in diabetics.
  • Drugs commonly used to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics did nothing to protect the heart.

Meanwhile, all of the meds frequently given to diabetics and people at risk for the condition come with side effects, and some of them are even potentially deadly. I've told you quite a bit lately about Avandia, the diabetes med linked to an increased risk of heart attack. The FDA's own numbers associate this med with at least 83,000 heart attacks--and that estimate was made back in 2007.

Other drugs may be less deadly... but they're not much better. In addition to the potential for side effects, many people who take these meds also suffer from a false sense of security. More than a few diabetics believe that drugs alone will save them, and refuse to make the lifestyle changes that will really make a difference.

And that's a huge mistake. We have more drugs for diabetics than ever before... yet the number of cases keeps on growing.

There are 24 million diabetics in the United States, and some 57 million more who are overweight and have dangerously high blood-sugar levels. One recent study estimates that we could have as many as 44 million diabetics by 2034.

Are all these people really crying out for more meds? Of course they're not. All they really need is a commitment to the lifestyle changes that have helped thousands of diabetics live longer, healthier lives, and kept others from ever getting the condition in the first place.

One decade-long study published last year found lifestyle changes had double the power of a popular diabetes drug when it came to lowering the risk of the condition.

You can slash your own risk by cutting out the carbs, starting with sugar. Then, work in 20-30 minutes of steady exercise each day. It's a pretty simple formula--but it's powerfully effective.

And while all these meds keep falling short, one simple mineral might succeed.