How to prevent diabetes by avoiding these habits

Everyday habits diabetes

“You’re so sweet, you’re giving me diabetes” – it’s time we quit dropping these pick up lines and look into the cold hard facts. Not to send anyone into panic mode but the stats show that 1 in 3 Singaporeans will develop diabetes in their lifetime

To make sure we’re not setting ourselves up for diabetes, drop by Buangkok Square (Community Plaza) on 16th February 2020. To give you a head start, here are 6 lifestyle habits you can axe to keep diabetes at bay.

1. Binge-watching TV

Binge-watching TV

What’s a weekend without a Netflix marathon on the couch or even better, cuddled up in bed with a huge bowl of popcorn? It’s a necessary break we all take before facing another onslaught of client emails, back-to-back deadlines and long meetings. But the unfortunate truth is that this couch potato culture may very well lead to diabetes.

Based on a medical study from Boston University, you burn fewer calories when resting for prolonged hours – so your body starts piling on sugar as fats. This clogs up your bloodstream, making the insulin in your body less sensitive to your blood sugar levels. Imagine having to squeeze through a teeny tunnel – your insulin won’t be able to break down your sugar intake as well. 

2. Eating less carbs

Eating less carbs

There are those amongst us who have diligently taken the wheel to drive diabetes away on their own. One of the many things they do include avoiding foods that are high in carbs. The science makes sense: carbohydrate gets broken down into sugar in our body so too many carbs will increase our blood sugar levels, and in turn, leads to a higher risk of diabetes.

The problem here is that whole grains like oats and barley actually help to improve insulin resistance as published by the good folks at Oxford Academic. So you shouldn’t be completely avoiding carbs, but opting for complex carbs like whole grains and eating them in moderation instead. 

3. Drinking non-caffeinated drinks to be “healthy”

Drinking coffee

Here’s a piece of good news for caffeine lovers: studies from the likes of the American Diabetes Association suggest that both caffeinated and decaf coffee might help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. This means that there may be no need to cut caffeine out of your diet after all! 

Academics around the world, including Korean medical journals and European studies, have found growing evidence that coffee helps break down the process of consumed sugar. However, high sugar content in your coffee can negate said health benefits, so remember to go for less or no sugar!

4. Eating out regularly

Eating out

When you’re working on a 9-6 schedule, you barely have time to prep your own lunches and dinners. By the time you’re home, you’re just dead beat so the easiest way to appease your growling tummy is to eat out

While there’s an increasing number of healthier options out there, we still do not have control over how much fat and sodium we consume – especially when we have char kway teow and laksa cravings. 

Here are some tips to make sure your eating out lifestyle doesn’t pose any health problems in the future: choose veggies – lots of veggies ‘cos they’re packed with essential vitamins and nutrients with little impact on your sugar intake

But limit your consumption of starchy vegetables such as corn and peas ‘cos that’ll instantly spike your blood sugar levels. If the auntie gives you a brown rice option, opt for that because packed in those lil’ tiny brown grains are fibers that help prevent diabetes. 

5. Taking the lift 

Taking stairs

There’s a reason why lifts are installed: to make our lives a whole lot more convenient when travelling from floor-to-floor. But if you’re so comfy with taking the lift that the thought of taking the stairs sends shudders down your spine, it might be a sign that you’re not leading the most active lifestyle

One of the reasons for diabetes is a lack of physical activity to work off the built-up sugar in the blood. So if you’re not one to clock in some gym time or running hours per week, consider taking the stairs every now and then. You’ll come across plenty of options on your daily commute to work and that trip up a flight of stairs will allow you to sweat off the sugar intake based on studies published by the World Journal of Diabetes.

Tip: It’s best to break long hours of inactivity with short exercises – a simple walk to the pantry could keep you healthy. 

6. Drinking fruit juice

Fruit juice

In a bid to stay healthy, you might have replaced your teh pengs with fruit juices but sorry folks, fruit juices contain a significant amount of sugar which can increase blood sugar levels quickly. What you might want to do instead, is to eat whole fruits. 

This way, you’ll still get your dose of fiber from the pulps and skin to slow down the absorption of sugar – which works to improve your overall blood sugar level.

If you’re thirsty, keep yourself hydrated with plain water. Your kidneys and liver function better when your body is hydrated and studies from research centres like the Berlin School of Public Health have shown that you’ll also stand a lesser chance of gaining weight and tend to be more energetic when well-hydrated.

Overcoming pre-diabetes


If you’re feeling anxious right now because you’re guilty of doing everything we’ve mentioned, chin up, it may not be too late to reverse the damage. Pre-diabetes is a precursor of diabetes, but it can be reversed!  All you have to do is to take active steps to prevent it from progressing into diabetes.

Buangkok Square

But before you commit to a lifestyle overhaul, get yourself checked for any signs of diabetes. Head down to Buangkok Square (Community Plaza) on 16th February 2020 so you can find out more about staying healthy and being ahead of diabetes. 

Sprint or Sink

While there, clock in some exercise at the Sprint or Sink Challenge. Your goal here is to get across a non-Newtonian pool as quickly as you can. But here’s the catch: it won’t be your typical pool of water. 

This non-Newtonian pool will be filled with a fluid that’s much like quicksand. So if you’re going too slow or you’re not moving at all, you will sink! This is a reflection of how inaction can lead to diabetes.


Survive the pool and stand to win some prizes like a tote bag, water bottle, towel or foldable bunny or bear umbrella.

Beat diabetes

From eating in moderation to walking around your office every now and then, your lifestyle doesn’t have to change drastically to prevent the onset of diabetes. What you’ll want to do is to first check if you’re at risk of diabetes or not, followed by a lifestyle check to prevent or reverse the likelihood of diabetes.

Find out if you’re in danger of developing diabetes here

This post was brought to you by Health Promotion Board.
Photography by Daryl Goh. 

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