6 tips to significantly reduce your risk of diabetes

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Diabetes is also sometimes referred to as the ‘sugar disease’. That is because the condition develops when the body is no longer able to properly regulate your blood sugar. The two most well-known forms of the condition are type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common: nine out of ten people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, your body stops responding properly to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates your blood sugar level by ensuring that sugars are absorbed by the body’s cells. If the functioning of insulin is disrupted, the blood sugar level rises and this gives rise to symptoms. 

There are a number of known factors that can help to prevent type 2 diabetes. With the help of this information you can take active steps to improve your health.


A healthy lifestyle can prevent type 2 diabetes

A healthy lifestyle can prevent type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and a poor lifestyle. According to Prof. Hanno Pijl, our ‘Western’ diet plays a significant role in this lifestyle. ‘Instead of unprocessed food, we eat processed products containing high quantities of added sugar, salt and fat. That is not surprising, as temptations are often biologically driven, which means we find it difficult to resist sweet foods.’

Pijl explains that we are eating ourselves sick, while we could prevent, alleviate or even cure type 2 diabetes by adapting our living habits. Below we provide 6 different tips that can help you prevent type 2 diabetes:


1. Get enough physical exercise

There is a proven link between a lack of exercise and type 2 diabetes. It is therefore important to ensure you get enough physical activity every day: at least 30 minutes. You don’t need to go to the gym to do this and can simply make it part of your day-to-day routine. For example, take the stairs instead of the lift, go for a short walk more often, use your bike when you go shopping or walk around while you are on the phone. 

2. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, particularly if you have too much abdominal fat. When you are overweight your body produces more insulin, as a result of which the cells in your body become less sensitive to this hormone. This disrupts your blood glucose level. Your insulin sensitivity will quickly improve if you lose weight and exercise regularly; this will reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Do you want to achieve a healthier weight? Then make systematic changes to your diet and pay attention to the composition of the food you are eating. Limit your consumption of ready-made products and opt for unprocessed products instead. Eat more vegetables, drink lots of water and avoid using too many sauces. 

3. Limit your consumption of sugary drinks 

Drinks that are high in (added) sugars include soft drinks, fruit juices and ice tea. You should try to limit your consumption of these drinks as much as possible. They are high in calories, but provide no or few healthy nutrients. In addition, these drinks lead to rapid changes in blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that consuming a 330 ml high-sugar drink every day increases the risk of developing diabetes by 20%.

4. Eat high-fibre foods

Plant-based products, such as vegetables, wholegrain products and fruits, contain various kinds of fibre. This is beneficial for bowel movements and helps you feel full for longer. Carbohydrates are also absorbed more slowly, meaning that blood glucose and insulin levels can be better regulated. When it comes to high-fibre foods it is important to ensure you eat a good variety of products and drink enough water.

5. Opt for a Mediterranean lifestyle

Countries around the Mediterranean Sea have always had a healthy cuisine. People in this region incorporate plenty of olive oil, vegetables, fruit, pulses, wholegrain products, nuts, fish and poultry into their diet. This is a healthy diet and reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

6. Drink a little more coffee or tea

Coffee and tea without sugar are in keeping with a healthy lifestyle. Both of these drinks make good substitutes for soft drinks. Research has shown that people who drink several cups of coffee or tea every day have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. This is partly due to the fact that there are no calories or carbohydrates in coffee and tea (you should therefore avoid adding sugar to them). 

Stay healthy for longer thanks to knowledge of your genes 

It has been scientifically proven that your lifestyle can have a significant influence on your personal health. By incorporating healthy patterns into your daily routines, you can live up to 15 years longer.


An iGene Passport will give you practical, reliable and personal lifestyle advice, based on your own DNA profile. With the help of this DNA profile you can take active steps yourself to prevent type 2 diabetes and other conditions. Your gene passport will provide an insight into your genetic predisposition to various conditions and this will be linked to relevant lifestyle advice. You will receive information on your sensitivity to commonly used drugs and your pharmacogenetic profile will give you a handy overview that you can share with your doctor or pharmacist. Last but not least, you will have access to information about all kinds of personal traits.


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