Ask most diabetics if they would have made changes to their lives earlier if they knew they could have stopped the disease, and the answer is always yes.
It's always yes, but far too many people don't make those changes until it's too late.
A new study shows the direct – if obvious – connection between lifestyle and diabetes.
The study, published in a recent issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, followed nearly 5,000 seniors over 10 years and looked at four key lifestyle habits: physical activity, diet, smoking, and drinking alcohol.
The researchers found that folks who get their exercise and eat well had a 46 percent lower incidence of diabetes. Folks who did well in all four areas and weren't overweight were 89 percent less likely to develop the disease.
On the one hand, this study offers little new information. The risk factors for diabetes are as obvious as an approaching tornado, regardless of age.
On the other hand, we know this, yet – like that approaching tornado – as a nation we've been powerless to stop it. This study at least helps lay out that direct impact of our lifestyles on the condition, because we're really not powerless when it comes to avoiding diabetes.
Part of the problem, of course, is that many people make their bad lifestyle decisions entirely on their own.
But that's not the whole story.
Even folks who want to eat and live right often make terrible decisions, and that's because almost everything we've been told about eating is flat-out wrong.
For generations, the conventional wisdom has been that all fat is bad. No distinction was made between healthy and necessary fats – like those that contain essential omega 3 fatty acids – and bad fats.
As a result, we've been programmed to look for low-fat foods that are high in carbs and low in nutritional value – the main ingredients in what I call the Torture Chamber Diet.
And that, more than anything, is responsible for the epidemics of obesity and diabetes, along with our rising levels of heart disease and overall poor health.
Stop killing yourself inside that torture chamber. Don't wait until it's too late – if you find you're gaining weight, eating poorly and not moving around as much as you should, make some changes now.
The alternative is waiting for that tornado to hit.