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The Daily Tonic: The Diabetes Dilemma, Halloween Candy, And More

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(8.1.2022) According to the CDC, currently over 37 million Americans live with diabetes, or approximately 1 out of every 10. Of those people with diabetes, it is estimated that about 1 out of every 5 don’t even know they have it.

Now add to that another 96 million Americans that have prediabetes, and that figure jumps to 1 out of every 3. Think about that—one third of the U.S adult population is either diabetic or prediabetic. One third! That is a crazy statistic and a huge problem.

Every single year, the death rate associated with diabetes rises. Between 2019 and 2020, the death rate for diabetes jumped by a whopping 14%. Now of course, 2020 was a rough year all around; but to see a single year, double-digit percentage jump in deaths associated with a preventable lifestyle disease is pretty jarring. 

So what are we doing about it? Well, we love our prescription drugs here in the U.S.; so it should be no surprise that Metformin, a drug that works by reducing the amount of sugar released by the liver and improving how the body responds to insulin, is ranked fourth on the list of most prescribed drugs in the U.S. 

That’s right—doctors dish out over 85 million prescriptions for Metformin annually, according to recent data. 

You don’t necessarily need pills to combat diabetes

While Metformin is indeed a helpful drug for many people with diabetes, it has side effects that, in rare but serious cases, may include Lactic Acidosis, a condition that can sometimes be fatal. 

While the chances of a serious case of Lactic Acidosis is extremely rare, there are more common side effects like excess gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Now, it isn’t all cons for Metformin, though. On the positive side, Metformin puts little if any strain on the organs, doesn’t cause weight gain, and is the most affordable diabetes medication on the market.

Which finally brings us to the miracle solution for diabetes we wanted to talk about today. Imagine a solution with zero side effects and nothing but upside. According to this study, exercise alone was more effective at reducing the cardiovascular risk in older adults with Type 2 diabetes than Metformin, and Metformin combined with exercise.

How can that be the case? Well, it turns out that moving our muscles through exercise is the most effective way to absorb glucose and regulate blood sugar spikes. 

The key takeaway? Prescription drugs can serve a very important role in treating and sometimes even helping to reverse the lifestyle diseases we see today. But most times it is actually lifestyle changes that can give us the most bang for our buck. 

By simply taking a 10 minute walk after every meal, you can turn your body into a blood glucose lowering machine. Now, does this mean you can completely disregard diet? Of course not, but it does mean that we all have the built-in ability to better regulate our blood glucose and create a hedge against prediabetes and diabetes if we simply get off our heinnies and get those steps in after we scarf down breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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