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American Diabetes Month: Why Black Americans Should Reduce Sugar Intake


November is American Diabetes Month, a good time to raise awareness about the disease and prevention measures you can take. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Diabetes affects nearly 37 million Americans. Black Americans are twice as likely to die from the disease and three times more likely to be hospitalized from the disease. 

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Diabetes is a serious issue in the black community due to disparity in healthcare and lifestyle choices such as diet. A high intake of sugary foods increases your calories, which may cause obesity, which in turn puts you at risk of diabetes. In this article, we explain why you should consider reducing your sugar intake.

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Benefits of Reducing Sugar Intake

Sugar is important for your general well-being. It can be naturally occurring or added. You’ll find naturally occurring sugar in fruits and milk, while added sugars are in sweeteners.

The American Heart Association recommends men have no more than nine teaspoons of added sugar daily. Women should take no more than six spoons daily. Take the opportunity that American Diabetes Month gives to follow these guidelines. Here’s how you’ll benefit.

Read More: Racial Disparities: How to Reduce Black Maternal Mortality

Avoid Liver Disease

Although research on the link between diabetes and liver disease is developing, it’s becoming increasingly clear that either condition aggravates the other. Too much sugar levels damage the functions of your body organs, including the liver. 

Your liver helps to break some added sugar, but too much overwhelms it. Limiting your sugar levels keeps your liver healthy.

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Blood Sugar Regulation

Type 2 Diabetes is the most prevalent among black Americans, with 90% to 95% getting diagnosed for it. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body can’t regulate your insulin levels, which results in high sugar levels in your bloodstream. 

Consuming a lot of added sugars puts you at risk and lowers insulin sensitivity. Eating foods with less added sugars helps in the proper regulation of insulin, which lowers your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

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Have a Glowing Skin

American Diabetes Month: Why Black Americans Should Reduce Sugar Intake
A woman with radiant skin smiling. Image Source: Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

Diabetes affects your skin. You might develop skin patches, burn blisters, thick skin, and itchy rashes, among other symptoms. A professional eye can detect these changes, but you might not realize it’s diabetes. 

Additionally, too much sugar leads to the production of sebum, which leads to oily skin, hence acne. Slow down on your consumption of sugar to improve your skin condition.

Improve Your Heart Health

Having high sugar levels not only leads to diabetes but also heart disease. According to the Heart Foundation, around 30% of people with type 2 diabetes develop cardiovascular disease, which increases their chances of dying from a heart attack

Staying away from sweeteners keeps your blood pressure at healthy levels and lowers the risk of heart conditions.

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Reduce Your Chances of Developing Depression

Diabetes is a grueling health condition that might lead to the deterioration of your mental health. You might lose interest in things you once enjoyed, the change in diet can be difficult, and you may experience mood dysregulation, among other symptoms, which can lead to depression. 

The CDC states that people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are two to three times more likely to have depression. Only ¾ and a half of people are diagnosed and treated. 

Weight Management

Eating foods with a high level of added sugar leads to obesity, which puts you at risk of diabetes.

The American Psychological Association shows that 48% of American Americans (56.6% of black women and 37.1% of men) are clinically obese. You can take advantage of American Diabetes Month to get back in shape.

It’ll help you to manage your weight gain and avoid having belly fat, substitute added sugars with natural sugars. 

American Diabetes Month is a good time to work on reducing your sugar intake to the recommended limits to lower your risk of the disease. Gradually phase out foods that have added sugars and substitute them with those that have natural sugar. It’s not going to be easy, but in the long run, you’ll be healthier.  

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