The Top 3 Causes of Diabetes

A whopping 25.3 million people in the U.S. right now are diabetic, with an additional 79 million Americans in the pre-diabetes stage. Those figures, according to research firm PhRMA, are downright scary, because diabetic patients come with a growing list of health complications and could place an incredible human and financial burden on our health-care system. The American Diabetes Association's latest study in March, for instance, estimated that the total cost of care related to diabetes jumped to $245 billion last year from $174 billion in 2007.

In the U.S., diabetes is currently the leading cause of new cases of blindness, kidney failure, and amputations of the feet and legs not related to accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, life-threatening complications such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, and possibly Alzheimer's disease have been associated with this disease.

What's truly worrisome about diabetes mellitus -- a condition in which the body is either unable to produce insulin (type 1 diabetes), or the body's cells don't know how to use the insulin produced to establish a proper glycemic balance in the body (type 2 diabetes) -- is that many of the risk factors are often preventable. Unfortunately, as the following graph from the CDC demonstrates, few people are heeding the seriousness of diabetes' risk factors as the number of diagnosed cases has jumped dramatically over the previous three decades.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Today, I propose examining the three primary factors that lead to diabetes and see what's being done to treat each factor.

Obesity/lack of physical exercise
It really shouldn't be a surprise that not taking care of your body by eating poorly or electing not to exercise is the primary cause of diabetes. This isn't to say that all of the people who are overweight or obese will develop diabetes, but there's statistical evidence in the numbers that 80% of those people who are diagnosed with diabetes tend to be overweight or obese.

Certain factors of obesity are unavoidable, such as genetics and socioeconomic status, which can play a role in how the body reacts to what you eat and exactly what quality of food you can afford to buy. However, more obesity cases than not can be improved through a lifestyle change of choosing to eat healthier foods and exercising regularly.

In cases where this isn't an option, or a little extra help is needed, there are always the two newly approved chronic weight management drugs -- Qsymia by VIVUS (NASDAQ: VVUS  ) , and Belviq by Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARNA  ) . It's a bit early to tell which drug could ultimately prove to be the go-to drug in weight loss, with Qsymia providing a bigger weight loss in trials and Belviq delivering a marginally better safety profile, but the treatment group that could benefit from either drug is certainly growing, not shrinking. Assuming both drugs attract adequate nationwide insurance coverage (since consumers very much dislike out-of-pocket costs), they both have a chance at being blockbusters.

Smoking
Feel free to add diabetes to the growing list of health complications that smoking will bring to the table. A study conducted over 14 years of 1.3 million South Korean adults were who part of the Korean Cancer Prevention Society, and presented on the ADA's website, notes that incidences of diabetes were higher in those who smoked, and that risk rose proportionately with the amount of cigarettes smoked daily. If there were ever a risk factor that could be easily eliminated from the equation, it would be to stop smoking.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration and CDC are certainly doing their best to increase public awareness about the dangers of smoking. In March of last year, the CDC unveiled an aggressive and graphic $54 million advertising campaign across TV, radio, and online mediums aimed at reducing the number of smokers -- particularly young smokers. The FDA followed just weeks later with its request for the quantity levels of some 20 harmful ingredients found in cigarettes, with the plan of releasing that data to the public sometime this year.

While these agencies might appear to be making little progress, the effect is certainly hitting home with tobacco producer Altria (NYSE: MO  ) . In response to declining sales, Altria has turned to raising prices and cutting 15% of its workforce to reduce its expenses. In addition, a proposed 93% increase in the federal cigarette tax in President Obama's 2014 budget proposal to $1.94 per pack from $1.01 could further cramp tobacco sales. 

Genetics
Understandably, genetics also plays a big role in whether a person develops diabetes. If a person's parents have diabetes, then they could be genetically at a higher risk of developing the disease -- especially with regard to type 2 diabetes. However, genes alone aren't enough to trigger diabetes, as a multitude of other risk factors, including obesity and smoking, are the triggers that push these high-risk people into pre-diabetic or diabetic territory.

For patients who have diabetes and who have a family history that supports preventative treatment based on a history of obesity or other complications, there are numerous medications available. None, however, is more exciting than a new class of type 2 diabetes drugs known as SGLT2 inhibitors. Instead of working via the liver and pancreas as previous diabetic treatments have, SGLT2 inhibitors work in the kidneys and allow patients to excrete excess glucose through their urine. Even more, this class of drugs has also been shown to cause modest weight loss in patients, although it isn't indicated for such use.

Johnson & Johnson's (NYSE: JNJ  ) Invokana is one such treatment that received FDA approval in late March to treat type 2 diabetes after lowering A1C levels in trials and helping provide better glycemic balance. Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY  ) and AstraZeneca also have an SGLT2 candidate known as Forxiga, which was approved in Europe last year but failed to get past the FDA because of elevated concerns about breast and bladder cancer in January 2012. It seems only a matter of time until Forxiga gets the FDA nod of approval and diabetic patients gain another therapeutic option.

The two key takeaways
There are two primary takeaways from the top three causes of diabetes. First is that many of these risk factors are preventable. By choosing to live a healthier style, eating right, exercising, and not smoking, you could be dramatically reducing your chances of getting diabetes in your lifetime. It's true we can't do anything about our genes or about getting older (age has been shown to slightly increase our risk of diabetes as well), but focusing on putting good things in our body and keeping the bad things out is a big step toward avoiding unwanted health complications.

The other takeaway is that the therapies available to treat diabetes are rapidly improving. SGLT2 inhibitors could completely replace DPP-4 and other classes of diabetes drugs by the end of the decade as the gold standard in care. Also, weight-loss drugs such as Qsymia and Belviq offer investors a growing pool of potential patients. Really, any of the health-care companies I've mentioned here have a shot at becoming a leader in treating diabetes symptoms in the coming years.

While pharmaceutical companies continue to develop new treatments for both type 1 and 2 diabetes, the entire health care system in the United States is rapidly changing. Obamacare will undoubtedly have far-reaching effects. The Motley Fool’s new free report, “Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare,” lets you know how your health insurance, your taxes, and your portfolio will be impacted. Click here to read more. 


Read/Post Comments (45) | Recommend This Article (24)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 2:37 PM, marp11 wrote:

    BELVIQ for all 3

    blockbuster? maybe the biggest in 20 years

    shorts are fried

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 3:39 PM, lydk wrote:

    You truly are a fool!

    Look at that hockey stick chart. That is when the Clintons took office and opened the floodgates for GMO foods to be mainstream in our food chain and it has only gotten worse over time. Look it up - when did GMO foods start being fed to livestock and added slowly into our foods.

    Also, the drug companies are beating us up with medications. I know this because my family is living with this and the problems caused by it. Diabetes is showing up outside of genetic lines. Within short periods of time, this is turning to fatty liver disease, which becomes non-alcohol related cirrhosis of the liver. There's no cure, no medication at that point. There's some maintenance if you are dedicated to actually doing it, or a transplant, and right now, there aren't enough livers to go around. The liver specialists are now seeing kids as young as 12 coming in in liver failure. They already developed diabetes and it turns bad quickly. And now we just had the senate vote to NOT allow labeling of GMO foods. We need to be demanding to know why. We need to expose the trail of how many Monsanto people work for this Administration or are now representatives, and we need to follow the money.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 3:57 PM, bufnyfan1 wrote:

    what about Mannkind's Afreeza--this will be a "game changer" in the way diabetics give themselves insulin--convienient (no more needles-a simple inhaler the size of an average thumb) and without the horrible "hypoglycemic lows" diabetics often suffer from

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 4:24 PM, csimms2 wrote:

    I'm begging you -- please stop using "diabetes" to cover both type 1 and type 2. You can't "prevent" type 1 diabetes -- if you have the genetic make-up to develop the disease, you'll get it. Type 2 is really what you're talking about here. Neither is a worse type, but they are really, really different diseases. As a type 1 diabetic, it's kind of insulting to have people always asking me if I used to be fat and if there are things I could do to eliminate my need for insulin. And this is the kind of article that leads to comments like those. Be sure to get the facts straight in your future articles about diabetes, please. Thanks.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 4:36 PM, jjohnson2324 wrote:

    Agree with above comment...type 1 diabetes is NOT preventable! If you are going to be taken seriously as a health writer, you have to know the difference and carefully distinguish between the two.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 4:58 PM, ogreeno wrote:

    Obesity does not cause type 1 diabetes. Smoking does not cause type 1 diabetes. If you want to write an article about type 2 diabetes, write an article about type 2 diabetes and leave type 1 diabetes out of it. It is because of uneducated fools like you that incorrect stereotypes about type 1 diabetes are perpetuated.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 5:07 PM, tom33952 wrote:

    Genetics, smoking (which is in decline), and lack of exercise are not new factors so they cannot explain the recently rising rate of diabetes in the US. The blame lies in a new environmental factor - the food and drinks sold to and consumed by the American public. The trillion dollar food and drink industry (US Sugar, Coca-cola, et al) is in full denial, a stupid strategy that is likely to provoke government intervention.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 5:10 PM, janejones123 wrote:

    Ugh, this kind of article drives me bonkers. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that is NOT preventable! Nor is it curable. Please use caution when writing articles like this! Despite being a healthy vegetarian eater and thin person my whole life, I get comments like "Wow, you must eat a lot of sugar if you are diabetic!!" Not even close. The misinformation in this article is what leads to questions and comments like that. If you want to write an article about Type 2 diabetes, PLEASE specify.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 5:42 PM, jwarndt wrote:

    There are lies, damned lies and lies by omission.

    Not surprisingly, this puff piece for the pharmaceutical industry fails to mention that a major cause of type 2 diabetes is the class of wickedly toxic, so-called atypical antipsychotic drugs that are being forced on nearly a million American schoolchildren for behavior control and bogus diagnoses of bipolar disorder.

    And no, I'm not a Scientologist, so don't bother accusing me of being one for having the temerity to criticize p$ychiatry. If that daffy cult didn't exist, the pharmaceutical/mental health complex would have to invent it to distract the bovine American public from its crimes against humanity.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 5:53 PM, friends1stu2 wrote:

    Well Mr./Ms. Williams, bet you wish you'd consulted with someone who knew what they were talking about, because you certainly don't.

    Other readers have already pointed out your grevious error not distinguishing between T1 and T2. Now I'll let you in on a little secret. None of your three main causes of T2 diabetes in the #1 cause. Improper nutrition is. Tom33952 is exactly right. Sure, genetics is a contributing factor. A small one. T2 is up 500% in the last 40 years. If you think genetics is responsible for that rise, I suggest you go back and review your genetic studies. Sure, smoking may be a contributing factor. A small one. Tom 33952 also pointed out the silliness of that comment (smoking down, T2 up dramatically).

    The only legitimate primary cause of T2 you covered is lack of activity. In a recent study done at Masstricht University, The Netherlands, it was found that modern activity levels have declined some 56% since the early 19th. century. Stated another way, historical people expended 2.3 times more energy every day than their modern equivalents. This, is a primary cause of T2, but most experts do not recognize lack of activity as the primary cause of T2. Poor or improper diet is.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that consumption of soft drinks has increased 500% in the last 50 years. During that time, childhood obesity in the U.S. jumped 54% for 6-11 year-olds, and 40% for adolescents. A typical 12 oz. can of soda pop has 40-45 grams of carbohydrate. To give you an idea, that’s about 50% more carbohydrate than a diabetic should consume in an entire day! Worse, carbs from a soda are totally worthless carbs. Soda drinks assault the body while it starves.

    Processed foods are the other culprits that are everywhere. People should eat real food. Real food is what grows on a tree, bush, vine, plant, underground, or walks around on 4 legs! Real food should look like real food when you eat it. When’s the last time you ate French fries from a French fry tree? Or something from a Hamburgerhelper bush?

    Sometimes food still looks real but isn’t. Like all the sugar and salt in canned and processed products. This is madness and we have to get back to eating real food the way nature intended it to be eaten.

    We clearly know from the Trobriand Islanders Study and the Marshall Islands Intervention Study that once a people or culture returns to a lifestyle (diet and activity level) of their forefathers, their diabetes (and yes I mean only T2 when I say diabetes) and their whole health profile improves within weeks. After 12 months, many people return to their near-perfect health.

    I've talked with thousands of chronic T2's over the last 15 years, and most of them would be far worse off if they listened to the crank advice you just wrote.

    Shame on you.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 5:54 PM, dimwit16 wrote:

    type ll- blame on farmers!!! central CA valley is probably the most heinous offenders of pesticide and artificial fertilizer use and mis-use on this planet. they produce lots of food, so no one wants to complain too much- except the very millionaire farmers and cattlemen that have destroyed the land and rendered the air un-breathable- type ll thank a farmer and food processor. if anyone says different, they are gaining something from their position. food is the culprit!!!

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 6:00 PM, ltntn wrote:

    Your article above is completely MISLEADING. There are no none causes, factors, etc of TYPE I diabetes. You have gone down a path that implies that TYPE I diabetics are also the cause of this disease, when nothing could be farther from the truth. TYPE I diabetes is an autoimmune disease where a single cell type is attacked by ones auto immune system. TYPE II on the other hand is a metabolic disease and can certainly be delayed by a healthy lifestyle.

    As a type I diabetic I resent the implications above. I am most likely in far better condition today, after having had TYPE I for 25 years, than you are. Even more so 25 years ago.

    I hate it when stupid people spew ignorance and create stereo types when they have NO IDEA what they are talking about.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 6:03 PM, sidred123 wrote:

    I was at my ideal weight, I got to be a little bit of a couch potato but ran 1/2 marathons prior to diagnosis, did not have a sweet tooth,.

    However was prescribed statins for slightly high cholesterol. I am now reading that this may be a contributing factor in type 2 diabetes.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 6:25 PM, donaldamartin wrote:

    how about uncle sam sprag us with agent orange durning the vietnam war. look it on the internet and see for yourself.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 6:32 PM, Cochief wrote:

    Reading Dr. William Davis's book, Title; "Wheat Belly" real information on genetically altered wheat and its effects on the body. Major crop producers getting 10 times the amount of wheat per acre by altering this crops over they past 50 years, now leading to higher obesity rates, diabetes T2 and other medical concerns. Like the tobacco industries, these companies have the federal watch dogs in their pockets and care more about the mighty dollar.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 6:38 PM, skinny123 wrote:

    The medical mafia always ignores the fact that some prescription drugs CAUSE diabetes. I'm only 40 and my blood sugars are 600 and have nerve damage "thanks" to the psychiatrist who prescribed me Zyprexa. Right after I took it I had all the symptoms. Nobody else in my family has diabetes and I used to weigh at most 160 lbs now I weigh 230 lbs.

    The damned psychiatrist considered this "great new medicine" and of course blames everything but the drug and her evil self. She injured me.

    I wish psychiatrists would take their own medicines. That way they would suffer heart attacks, strokes and amputations.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 6:42 PM, CountryRooster wrote:

    Having been a Nurse for 32 yrs. I often told my patients that if you don't take care of your diabeties it most certainly will take care of you. Esp. in a way you don't want it too. I have seen way too many people take this advice for granted & ended up in far worse shape than they could have imagined.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 6:52 PM, Laura512 wrote:

    I appreciate many for correcting the misguided individuals on the causes of Type 1 Diabetes. I was diagnosed in 2004 at the age of 37. It does NOT run in my family, I was in the Army and always exercised and eat fairly healthy and have always been thin. I DID have gestational diabetes at the age of 21 and they told me I had a greater chance of getting diabetes later in life. Well, all I can say is that I wish the Army and all of my doctor's after I got out would have tested me and gave me information on what the signs and symptoms were because I know now that I have probably had T2 before 1992. Very upsetting because now I have an insulin pump and a glucose monitoring system to keep me alive. I do not feel the highs or the lows... I've never been overweight or have never stopped exercising. Again thank you to all that have done their research and corrected all the bogus information people are posting!

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 8:36 PM, Atheria wrote:

    My mother became severely hypoglycemic around age 34 and is now an insulin dependent Type 2 diabetic. At age 44, I suddenly became severely hypoglycemic and am doing everything I can to not go down the path my mother has gone down (she has NOT taken care of herself). I'm very thin and I am active. I hate to see a bunch of drugs offered up as the only solution to diabetes. I have been testing various ways of eating, and am on day 3 of a VERY low fat vegan diet and am shocked at how well my blood sugar is doing. I'm actually eating a lot more carbs than I ever thought I could handle. Granted, it's too soon to say this is a cure, but perhaps Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. John McDougall are right. I do beg all the diabetics here to at least read Neal's book on diabetes. The theory is that it's actually fat in the diet that causes insulin resistance, etc.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 8:38 PM, jox1234 wrote:

    Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by obesity. You have confused Type 1 with Type 2. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease and type 2 is a lifestyle disease. Please research anywhere on the web, and once you agree, please publish an apology and correction.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 9:05 PM, b14211 wrote:

    I became a Diabetic at 25, not overweight, have always eaten very healthy most of my life and so what does that tell you, some people CAN NOT prevent it.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 10:07 PM, ydidyouwritethis wrote:

    Glad I know what diabetes is before this article. If I was trying to figure out what diabetes is by this article I would look like an idiot trying to tell someone else about it. I've been living with T1 diabetes for a little over a year and I've always been active with sports and exercise and didn't have to much of a sweet tooth. I really enjoyed reading some of the comments of this article.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 10:28 PM, Andersonpdvm wrote:

    You are a complete fool!

    Do not dare write an article without knowing what you are writing about! I'm a type 1, diabetic and have been since I was 6 years old. After being diagnosed, I remember the doctors telling me that I was lying about my diet because, "It was too healthy." Fortunately education, has come a long way in the past 20 years.

    Although type 2 diabetics can become type 1, it doesn't work the other way. Your article has no validity in regards to type 1 diabetes, although your lack of education lumped the separate diseases together. Feel free to educate yourself by utilizing google, Wikipedia or my email.

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 10:52 PM, Aaabbbaaa wrote:

    Type 1 diabetes IS NOT largely preventable. I am so sick and tired of the mis-informatioabout these two separate diseases. Get your facts straight. You discredit the whole article by ot getting the basics right. Dum ass

  • Report this Comment On May 25, 2013, at 11:07 PM, TypeIMother wrote:

    I am so sick and tired of armchair doctors who think they know everything about diabetes after watching a few commercials geared towards elderly type II diabetics. I demand you print a retraction and apologize for your gross ignorance and spreading misrepresentations to the equally ignorant masses!

    Type I diabetes is an unpreventable immune disease that can show up in families with no history of diabetes, if there is a predisposition for immune disorders (some forms of arthritis for example). Diet and exercise do NOT cure type I diabetes. The immune system is triggered to target the islet cells that produce insulin and kills them. They can never be regenerated. It is a lifelong disease.

    Type II can be cured with diet and exercise because living a slob lifestyle that creates large amounts of fat, and a slow metabolism, slows down and can even stop the body from processing insulin. It's there, but unused. You can wake up the system by losing weight and exercising regularly.

    Do NOT write an article you are so grossly inadequate and underqualified to write.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 12:47 AM, stevof25 wrote:

    Its Type II diabetes which is normally preventable. The USDA, FDA and so on have a lot to answer for with their food pyramid and diet 'guidelines' which the public has followed for decades now, without question. The USDA is an organisation which supports US agriculture and making as much money from farm income as possible. It will always argue that wheat, barley etc needs to be a major component of people's diets. Cutting out cereal grains and all other foods and drinks which contain or convert to sugars will help prevent and cure Type II diabetes.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 1:16 AM, too33deep wrote:

    "What's truly worrisome about diabetes mellitus -- a condition in which the body is either unable to produce insulin (type 1 diabetes), or the body's cells don't know how to use the insulin produced to establish a proper glycemic balance in the body (type 2 diabetes) -- is that many of the risk factors are often preventable."

    It's quite easy to spot an article masquerading as informative, but is really a corporate ad. I usually respect the Fool's due diligence. Clearly, that step was skipped for this writing. As others have noted, Type 1 is an autoimmune disease and is still impossible to prevent. It's a common mistake made, but an unforgivable one by an online journalist. (A simple Google search would've made the distinction clear.)

    I am also disappointed at the plugs for all the pharmaceutical companies. Why are drugs still so heavily pushed for Type 2's? By your own words, diet, exercise, and smoking cessation are the best preventatives for the majority of at-risk patients.

    This was a poorly thought article. There should be a follow-up article to clarify the mistakes and leave out any mention of drugs. In my opinion, journalistic integrity is at stake.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 1:54 AM, Oorfeo wrote:

    Let's get real. It is easy to simplify the cause(s) of diabetes, but it is not so simple. The truth is that diabetes is just one of many symptoms of a broken system, a broken America.

    Self-styled patriots call for people to be able to eat what they want, when they want, and for the food industry to have the "right" to produce anything that is marketable with little regard to health consequences. So here's the big question: is a commitment to a healthy public patriotic? Or put to the other extreme: is disregard for the health of the American public an act of treason?

    The cardinal earmark of the social conservative is the inability to see the big picture. They have no conceptualization of the relationship between a high firearms homicide rate and type 2 diabetes and terrorism and Monsanto. They lack the insight to connect welfare moms with homeless veterans with endless wars for profit. And it is easy for them to be convincing, as theirs is a language of hate and fear.

    Diabetes will be controlled when MacDonald’s serves healthy food, when the FDA regulates free of industry restraints, when drug companies are required to provide education along with medications, and when pigs fly.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 4:17 AM, SpaceVegetable wrote:

    Isn't it interesting how the increase in Type2 diabetes occurred at the same time as the whole push toward low-fat diets. The problem with low-fat is that the fat gets replaced with carbohydrates. As others have pointed out, those carbs are not a good thing. Recent studies are showing that low-carb diets don't cause heart disease, as many seem to think and can, in fact, lower cholesterol. Fat is not a bad thing. No one is saying to go and eat 5 pounds of bacon every day, but eat real meat and vegetables and stay away from grains and processed franken-food and you'll be far healthier. If people learned to find and use their kitchens, we'd have a whole lot less obesity and related illnesses.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 5:56 AM, cash3p wrote:

    For those of you that are confused - Type 1 diabetes is generally thought to be an autoimmune disease and is not thought to be preventable. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin because their body no longer produces enough. Most people are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when they are children or young adults, but people can be diagnosed at any age. Their is no cure.

    Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in older people (40+), but is beginning to be diagnosed in children more than it used to be. Type 2 diabetics usually have plenty of insulin (at least early on in the disease), but their bodies do not use the insulin effectively (insulin resistance). Type 2 diabetes is very complex and no one truly understands it's causes. Genetics appear to play a significant role in type 2 diabetes since most type 2 diabetics have a family history of the disease. Obesity is also connected to type 2 diabetes, but it's connection is not well understood. Many type 2's are overweight or obese at diagnosis, but some are thin or of normal weight. Most people who are overweight or obese do not develop type 2 diabetes, but many who get it are overwieght or obese. The question has also been raised: Does obesity cause type 2 diabetes or does type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance) cause weight gain? Increasing activity and losing weight may help to control type 2 diabetes, but it does not "cure" it. There is no cure for either type 1 or type 2.

    Type 2's often do not have to use insulin early in the disease, but some have to use insulin to control blood sugar as the disease progresses. Type 1's cannot become type 2's and type 2 cannot become type 1, although a type 1 can develop insulin resistance, which might lead to the diagnosis of "double diabetes".

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 6:44 AM, illuminati2 wrote:

    Sugar is toxic and damages our liver in the exact same mechanism as ethanol Alcohol. . . beer, wine (the supposed heart healthy drink) hard liquor all made from fructose.

    This article is BS at its best and yes sugar is causing depression much like alcohol is

    Yes, there are refined sugars such as cane turned into white powder (table sugar) but your body doesn't know the difference once it is broken down by the body.

    Please watch Dr. Robert Lustigs' video Sugar The Bitter Truth I can't link it because of You tube issues, so just search. Sugar will and does age us, and we need saturated as well as omega 3 fats which are so hyped up today (as a teaser, you don't need to eat fish (I dislike fish) to get omega 3, Flax seeds have the highest ratio, as well as egg yolks and mayonnaise. All in all nice to hear from you, but as my English teacher used to say "Do your homework. . .before discussing anything. . .and always question"

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 6:46 AM, illuminati2 wrote:

    Sugar is toxic and damages our liver in the exact same mechanism as ethanol Alcohol. . . beer, wine (the supposed heart healthy drink) hard liquor all made from fructose.

    This article is BS at its best and yes sugar is causing depression much like alcohol is

    Yes, there are refined sugars such as cane turned into white powder (table sugar) but your body doesn't know the difference once it is broken down by the body.

    Please watch Dr. Robert Lustigs' video Sugar The Bitter Truth I can't link it because of You tube issues, so just search. Sugar will and does age us, and we need saturated as well as omega 3 fats which are so hyped up today (as a teaser, you don't need to eat fish (I dislike fish) to get omega 3, Flax seeds have the highest ratio, as well as egg yolks and mayonnaise.

    This was a nice try but as my English teacher used to say "Do your homework. . .before discussing anything. . .and always question"

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 6:47 AM, illuminati2 wrote:

    Sugar is toxic and damages our liver in the exact same mechanism as ethanol Alcohol. . . beer, wine (the supposed heart healthy drink) hard liquor all made from fructose.

    Yes, there are refined sugars such as cane turned into white powder (table sugar) but your body doesn't know the difference once it is broken down by the body.

    Please watch Dr. Robert Lustigs' video Sugar The Bitter Truth I can't link it because of You tube issues, so just search.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 9:39 AM, gracer1 wrote:

    A recent 9 month study with pre-diabetics showed that 1500 mg per day of curcumin (extracted from the spice turmeric) can prevent diabetes and protect the liver.

    Also, a Thailand study with diabetic rats significantly reversed liver damage and circulation problems.

    Curcumin increases the cytokine adiponectin, resulting in greater pancreatic beta-cell function. This shows that curcumin serves to prevent type 2 diabetes. I started taking curcumin after reading about this research in the March 1, 2013 free e-letter available on Dr. Robert Rowen's website SecondOpinionNewsletter.com.

    Then, after reading numerous curcumin product reviews, I chose to take the Jarrow brand "Curcumin 95" 500 mg capsules available from SwansonVitamins.com or many other online vitamin stores.

    Curcumin is a great antioxidant and is being used for cancer and many other conditions. I personally noticed a great decrease in inflammation and pain that I have, which allowed me to take energy supplements like bee pollen and green tea extract with noticeably increasing my pain, thereby enabling me to live a more energetic life. Definitely consider giving curcumin a try if you have liver problems or to "stop the ravages of diabetes" and prevent other diseases like Alzheimer's.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 11:08 AM, wild4612 wrote:

    I have to agree with Oorfeo. Treasonous act! When heads of Big Agra's top farming enterprises (corn, wheat, soy) sit on the FDA board that determines nutritional guidelines and congress designs the Farm Bill (see farm bill 2010) to provide NO taxpaying fool's dollars for any crop other than corn, wheat, soy to be farmed, we the taxpaying fools don't stand a chance. Rule of thumb I follow: the more advertising and hype surrounding any entry from big industrial food, the worse it is for you. Where's the damn broccoli lobby in all this??? Keeping us misinformed, sick and drug dependent is in the best interest of Big Oil, Big Agra and Big Pharma and congress of course. Another good informational resource is Dr. Mark Hyman's "The Blood Sugar Solution".

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 11:20 AM, NorCalRoe wrote:

    Everybody calm down, a little plant called Cannabis takes care of Diabetes...Patent #US 2007/0099987 A1

    Diabetes is a problem, because we refuse to see the solutions.

    Sugar gets a bad rap, yet most food products do not contain any REAL sugar. It contains chemically altered alternatives of sugar. Acesulafame, Neotame, HFCS, Propylene Glycol (aka Anti-Freeze, yes its in our food) Hmm go figure, no wonder why cancer and diabetes is prevalent, the body is trying to kill off damaged mutated genetics.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 1:33 PM, valeskas wrote:

    I have Type 2 Diabetes and I was a very skinny person, but its in my genes, I take 32 pills a day and shoot insulin 4 times a day. The processed foods we have here in our country is the most unhealthy food in the world, some Type 2 Diabetes patients do not have the money to buy food that is healthy, because in some places its double the price then the other unhealthy food is. I try to buy healthy foods as much as possible, but then I have to pay for the greater part of my meds and that is a lot of money, my stomach is in shambles, I am always in pain, for that I used take Nexium, but my insurance will not pay for it, it would be over close to $ 400.00 a month only for Nexium, so don't think that Type 2 Diabetes patients do not want to do the right thing, but we just cannot pay for it. I am now retired and when you retire, your money is much less.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 1:35 PM, devi888 wrote:

    This is not what it seems on the surface. It's not only the chemical, poisoned food you eat but EMF'S, RF's, and dirty electricity from your cell phones, computer's, laptop's, and esp. SMARTMETERS that can cause diabetes. These invisible rays are radiating you and cooking you like a microwave does. These invisible waves LEAK MINERALS including chromium causing diabetes. If someone has recently found out they have diabetes, check when your SMARTMETER was installed. It's the equivalent to having a cell phone tower on your house. Not to mention all your neighbors. People are losing bowel control, having insomnia, autism, angry issues, and chronic fatigue from these DUMB METERS. Protect yourself from dirty smog and your body will heal. Google Dr. Klinghardt and SMARTMETER dangers.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 3:24 PM, FoolInYakima wrote:

    Great, always look for drugs instead of healthier lifestyle choices, and this includes the type 1 diabetics.

    http://robbwolf.com/2008/09/17/paleo-vs-type-1-diabetes/

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 3:30 PM, jox1234 wrote:

    DO THE RIGHT THING; POST AN APOLOGY AND RETRACTION. YOUR ARTICLE IS INSULTING AND HURTFUL TO THOSE INNOCENT CHILDREN AFFLICTED WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES. SHALL WE BEGIN A BOYCOTT OF MOTLEY FOOL?

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 6:01 PM, luckyagain wrote:

    "A whopping 25.3 million people in the U.S. right now are diabetic, with an additional 79 million Americans in the pre-diabetes stage."

    A hundred years ago, diabetes was a death sentence. Can you imagine if 25.3 million were going to die in the next few years instead of being able to be treated? So what has changed in the last year to have caused this many people to be so sick? Obesity, smoking and genetics are given as the cause. There must be something else that is causing this huge increase. Maybe its the thousands of chemicals that are introduced into the environment in the last hundred years that have never been tested.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2013, at 1:09 AM, j2bodydouble wrote:

    Obvious Guy says since "NEW" Coke was introduced in 1985 and HFCS has slowly crept up to about 10 percent of our average diet , Diabetes and Obesity has become much more common. The idea the human genome suddenly changed is ridiculous, yes some people have genetic diabetes but the rate of that did not change significantly in thirty years.This is not some mystery anymore then lung cancer was a mystery when it came to cigarettes. Frustoce is not Cane sugar. We also eat way more sweetners then we ever did. I doubt its even that simple, but the correlation can not be understated.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2013, at 11:33 AM, jox1234 wrote:

    Motley Fool, please review this article. It contains massive misinformation. Mr. Williams, please revise or retract. Lifestyle does not contribute to T1D. Infants only months old develop this autoimmune disease. Please research before you write further articles that insult innocent children.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2013, at 3:46 PM, jox1234 wrote:

    Well great, now this article has been reposted by various other financial websites, so we now have even more misinformation. Mr. Williams, if this is any indication of your investment research, anyone reading your essays should beware. Type 1 diabetes is not a lifestyle disease, but an autoimmune disease. You obviously do not research your subjects carefully. For shame, for shame.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2013, at 4:01 PM, Mega wrote:

    KO, PEP, DPS?

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