30 Surprising Habits That Can Cause Type 2 Diabetes

Routinely eating foods that are high in fat and sugar, especially in excess, typically leads to type 2 diabetes. But that is only one of many habits that can raise blood sugar and cause chronic conditions.

The truth is, you might be surprised to learn that many common, everyday habits can considerably increase your risk of developing the disease. Are you one of the unsuspecting millions at risk?

Here are 30 surprising habits that can cause type 2 diabetes…

Not Eating Breakfast

Intermittent fasting diets have become popular and may actually offer some health benefits, but be careful about skipping breakfast, particularly if you are already at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

When you forgo your morning meal, you may become ravenous later in the day, causing you to eat more and gain weight over time. Depriving the body of food for extended periods also disrupts insulin levels.

Using Mouthwash

Beware: Rinsing with mouthwash may increase your diabetes risk significantly. In one Alabama study, people who rinsed twice daily were 55 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes within three years.

How does mouthwash cause diabetes? Researchers aren’t 100 percent certain. They’ve reported that mouthwash kills bacteria good in the mouth – bugs that regulate blood sugar.

Getting to Bed Late

If you’re a night owl, then rethink your sleeping routine. A Korean study found that people who stay up late are more likely to develop diabetes than those who get to bed early, even if they sleep seven to eight hours.

Night owls are often exposed to more artificial light (TVs, etc.), which is associated with poor blood sugar regulation. Staying up late is also linked to poor sleep quality. This can disrupt the metabolism.

Staying out of the Sun

Protecting yourself against the harmful cancer-causing rays of the sun is important, but avoiding sunlight completely is not healthy. It increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other diseases.

Exposing the skin to sunlight enables the body to produce vitamin D. This is a nutrient that affects various functions in the body, including the proper functioning of the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar.

Overexposure to Temperature Extremes

Extreme temperatures can interfere with blood sugar regulation and other bodily processes. Moreover, the effects can be long-term, so it’s always best to stay indoors when it is bitterly cold or swelteringly hot.

High temperatures tend to cause low blood sugar, while blood sugar normally rises when temperatures are very low. People vary in the way that their body responds to heat and cold, though.

Binge-Watching TV

Every hour that you spend sitting in front of the television increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes – by up to 3.4 percent, according to a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh.

Sitting for long periods of time promotes visceral fat storage, adding inches to your waist and belly. This increases the risk that you will develop diabetes by reducing insulin sensitivity.

Not Drinking Enough Coffee

Can’t resist a nice hot cup of Java? That may be a good thing, as studies have shown that consuming caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee can help to prevent type 2 diabetes if consumed regularly.

Coffee contains compounds that reduce insulin resistance, according to researchers. In a Harvard study, men and women who drank six cups a day reduced their diabetes risk by a whopping 33 percent.

Eating Foods Low in Probiotics

As most people know, the stomach contains good and bad bacteria. What a lot of us don’t know is that when the gut contains more bad bacteria than good, the risk of developing diabetes increases.

Eating probiotics, foods that contain good bacteria (yogurt, tempeh, sauerkraut, etc.), promote proper digestion and lowers inflammation levels that can eventually result in insulin resistance.

Microwaving Leftovers

Many people are in the habit of microwaving leftover foods in takeout containers. If this is you, you might want to get rid of the plastic containers, as reheating food can lead to type 2 diabetes.

The main issue with plastic takeout containers and plastic wrap is the chemicals used to manufacture them. They are associated with insulin resistance and an increased risk of diabetes.

Avoiding Carbs

Men and women are often surprised to learn that avoiding carbohydrate foods can actually increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, while whole grains such as barley and oats can improve insulin resistance.

Rather than completely avoiding carbs, nutritionists recommend eating various healthful foods and getting carbs from foods like berries and black beans, not refined grains like white bread and pasta.

Pairing Starchy Vegetables with Refined Grains

Any worthy diet following includes vegetables, but some veggies are starchy high-carb vegetables. When these are regularly combined with refined grains, they can put you at risk of developing diabetes.

For instance, continually pairing starchy vegetables like peas with refined grains like white rice can contribute to weight gain. These food combinations can also cause blood sugar spikes.

Eating Before Bed

Snacking and eating large meals at night can contribute to weight gain as the metabolism slows down, and undigested calories may be stored as fat. Being overweight is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, eating late in the evening increases insulin and blood sugar, studies have found. To prevent diabetes and other problems, eat healthily and stop eating three hours before you go to sleep.

Not Getting Enough Exercise

Exercise keeps your weight down and helps to maintain stable blood pressure and blood sugar. That being said, many people aren’t as physical as they should be for diabetes prevention and optimum health.

Exercising a little occasionally isn’t enough; to stay fit and effectively prevent type 2 diabetes, research has shown that adults must be physically active every day for at least 60 to 75 minutes.

Skipping Strength Training

Don’t skip weight training when you exercise, especially if your risk of type 2 diabetes is higher than the general population. Strength training can lower your risk of developing the disease.

It’s unnecessary to perform resistance training every day to reap diabetes prevention benefits – two to three weeks of training days are sufficient. More training is associated with a lower risk, however.

Going Gluten-Free

While removing dietary gluten has become something of a trend, ditching gluten foods won’t help you unless you have a gluten intolerance, and eliminating gluten for no reason may not be wise.

For people at risk of diabetes, gluten may actually be helpful. An AHA study found that subjects who ate the most gluten had a 13 percent lower risk of diabetes than those who ate the least.

Consuming Too Much Salt

Salt, or sodium, which can be found in abundance in fast food and processed foods, increases insulin resistance. Over time, this can lead to the development of type two diabetes.

In addition to the above, a high sodium intake increases your risk of being overweight and developing high blood pressure – two more diabetes risk factors. For better health, limit salt to 2,000 mg daily.

Taking Drugs to Control Cholesterol

People with high cholesterol have a higher risk of developing diabetes. But, if you already have other diabetes risk factors, taking statins to control your cholesterol increases the likelihood even more.

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes can increase by 30 percent when you’re taking statins, some medical experts report. Thus, it is important to work to reduce cholesterol through lifestyle changes.

Abusing Alcohol

Some studies suggest that moderate drinking may protect against type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, consuming high levels of alcohol regularly can have the opposite effect.

Whether you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes or not, alcohol abuse is harmful and can be dangerous. Stick to a maximum of one standard drink per day for women or two daily for men.

Substituting with Artificial Sweeteners

Many health-conscious individuals opt for diet drinks and use artificial sweeteners because they assume that sugar-free beverages won’t raise their blood sugar. However, that may not be the case.

In a recent study, when 17 obese, non-insulin-resistant people took sips from a beverage sweetened with sucralose, their blood sugar and insulin rose to levels higher than when they drank plain water.

Not Drinking Enough Water

People who don’t drink enough water are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. According to experts, this is because blood sugar tends to rise when the kidneys and liver don’t receive adequate fluids.

There are also other factors that increase the risk of diabetes. When you drink less water, you may eat more because you feel unsatisfied after meals or be less active due to lower energy levels.

Eating Non-Organic Foods

Scientists have found associations between pesticides and diabetes. One meta-analysis found that constant exposure to pesticides could raise the risk of type 2 diabetes by almost 65 percent.

When possible, buy and eat organic foods. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reported that organic produce carries significantly less pesticide residue than conventional produce.

Avoiding Social Situations

Though the reason is unclear, a recent study suggests that less social people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Researchers also believe that addressing isolation can prevent diabetes.

Social connections with others motivate you to get out of your home and job, providing opportunities to live and enjoy life. This is said to have profound effects on both mental and physical health.

Not Managing Stress

Stress can be very harmful. In addition to weakening the immune system and elevating your heart rate and blood pressure, it can raise blood sugar levels and lead to the development of diabetes.

Fortunately, many stress reduction methods and techniques can be helpful. Options include exercise, yoga, meditation, deep breathing, gum chewing, and listening to music.

Taking Antibiotics Unnecessarily

Only take antibiotic drugs when you really need them because: (a) taking them often can lead to antibiotic resistance, and (b) the more antibiotics you take, the higher your risk of diabetes.

Antibiotics are useful for clearing up infections caused by harmful bacteria. However, antibiotic medications also kill good bacteria in the gut. This interferes with how the body processes sugar.

Putting off Treating Depression

There’s a strong connection between the body and the mind and depression and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have confirmed this. Yet, many people with depression do not seek treatment.

Individuals living with depression may not eat healthily or exercise, and they often have poor sleeping habits and abuse substances. These behaviors can lead to obesity, blood sugar spikes, and diabetes.


If you have a chronic snoring problem, particularly one that disrupts your breathing, then you could have a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

OSA is characterized by episodes of shallow or paused breathing during sleep that deprive the body of oxygen. This causes a stress reaction that results in increased blood glucose and, over time, diabetes.

Smoking Cigarettes

Cigarette smoking is terrible for your health. It increases your risk of developing dangerous diseases and health problems, including type 2 diabetes. And the more you smoke, the higher the risk.

Smoking increases the risk of developing diabetes (by up to 40 percent) because it damages cells and can alter how the body processes and regulates sugar. Kick this nasty habit if you can ASAP.

Taking Recreational Drugs

Recreational or illegal drugs are chemical agents that cause changes in the brain and body function. Taking them habitually can cause all kinds of health issues, one of which is diabetes.

Drug usage can lead to type 2 diabetes in a number of ways. Apart from direct effects on the pancreas and blood sugar, it can result in weight gain, depression, sleep disorders, and increased smoking, etc.

Eating Soybean Oil

Cooking oil raises cholesterol and affects cardiovascular health. We have known this for a long time. But it appears that cooking oil, specifically soybean oil, may have implications for diabetes, as well.

Surprisingly, diets rich in soybean oil are linked with more instances of obesity and diabetes than diets high in fructose. These are the findings from studies conducted at the University of California.

Breathing Polluted Air

The quality of the air we breathe matters, and the polluted air of urban environments can have detrimental effects on our health. It can even contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Air pollution, experts assert, increases the risk of diabetes by reducing insulin production and triggering inflammation, which prevents the body from converting blood glucose into energy.