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My father and his two sisters all have Type 2 diabetes. They were diagnosed at ages about 60. My mother's side does not seem to have this predisposition.

Currently I am 49, weigh 128 pounds, 5 feet 8 inches, and exercise twice a week (racquetball) and walk with my wife every evening -- but not cardiovascularly. I have cholesterol in the 190 to 210 range.

Can one induce the onset of diabetes by the intake of high amounts of sugar? Conversely, can the early use of sugar substitutes put off the onset of diabetes?

I drink a 6 cups of coffee a day, with two spoons of sugar in it, and drink about 2 soft drink cans (non-diet) daily. I often wonder if there is a reason to NOT do this. Am I pushing my system and accelerating what might be the inevitable? Am I bringing on diabetes?


You've inherited the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and may develop it as you get older. The chance may be as high as 50%. There are several things that you can do that might delay the onset of diabetes.

The "right things" to protect your health include staying slender and physically fit, not smoking, wearing seat belts, drinking alcohol in moderation (if at all), and other such activities; these should help your health in general as well as perhaps delay the onset of diabetes.

I don't personally think that any risk from caffeine (in your coffee and soda pop) is great enough to worry about.

On the other hand, there are ways to increase the risk: get fatter, get sicker, and get older. Can't do too much about the last; it's impossible to occasionally avoid the second (flus and viruses and other such illnesses will always be a risk to all of us); but you can do something about the first.

There's one modification in your present lifestyle that I'd advise: decrease the consumption of sugar: it adds extra calories, which would contribute to obesity in inactive adults. (Sugar doesn't "cause diabetes," except insofar as it contributes to obesity.)


Original posting 2 Sep 96


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