Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Did you see the report saying that people who stop smoking are at higher risk for getting Type 2 diabetes?

Hmmmm… I quit smoking. Does that mean if I start lighting up again my diabetes will go away?

I do enjoy smoking and, although I haven’t had a cigarette in ages, I think about them every day. It’s only by some very strong willpower that I refrain from starting up again. But if it gets rid of my diabetes, it may be worth it. Monetarily, anyway. Even with the escalating cost of cigarettes — what with all of the “sin taxes” added to the cost — it has to be cheaper to smoke than to have diabetes.

By all rights, I shouldn’t have diabetes, if Diane Fennell’s December 24 blog is to be believed. In it, she reports on research noting that drinking more coffee and tea “appears to lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”

Heck, I’ve been drinking both coffee and tea as long as I can remember.

One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my grandfather’s lap at the breakfast table, while he fed me sips of his coffee from a teaspoon. Granted, his was more cream than coffee, but because of that early experience, I was drinking my coffee black from the time I was an adolescent.

Tea? I grew up in the south. We didn’t drink a lot of hot tea, but iced tea was a common drink at the dinner table and a pitcher of it could always be found in the refrigerator. Now, I don’t know if the research noted a difference between iced tea in the South and iced tea anywhere else. It didn’t say. (For those of you who are out of the loop, Southern iced tea is more sugar than tea.)

Today, I drink my iced tea with nothing added: no sugar, no sweetener. I might put about one-fourth of a package of artificial sweetener in hot tea. I’m also finding myself having to specify — even here in the Great American Midwest — that I want unsweetened tea when I go out to eat. Seems that oversweetened Southern-style tea is making its way onto menus no matter where you live. In my opinion, that’s a stupid idea. All we need is the food industry pushing more sugar on us.

Back to the studies, I grew up on coffee and tea — and still drink both, plus water, for the most part. I smoked cigarettes for much of my life, but no longer do. And I go back to my original question: If quitting leads to Type 2 diabetes, will it go away if I start smoking again?

It’s tempting, and will be especially so when the weather gets warmer. My favorite part of the day was always about 5 AM, sitting on the porch with coffee and a cigarette, watching the new day arrive. (Frankly, if I could stop with just a couple of cigarettes in the morning, I’d do it.)

Of course, the research also determined that starting smoking can cause people to get Type 2 diabetes. But if I’m not really starting, but just re-entering, will the diabetes go away?

I don’t put much store in these studies, anyway. According to various and sundry research papers, breastfed babies shouldn’t get diabetes. But I know somebody whose toddler son got Type 1 diabetes… while he was being breastfed.

Drinking coffee lowers your risk. But drinking coffee also can cause your blood glucose to rise. Aren’t higher blood glucose values tied to diabetes?

Also, what about those hundreds… nay, thousands… of research mice who have been cured of diabetes? If we do get diabetes, should we try to come back as a mouse so we can be cured?

Oh, I have to tell you about my favorite one, that I read several years ago. Researchers studied two groups of people: one with sedentary jobs and the other with jobs that required activity. The people with sedentary jobs were at greater risk of getting diabetes. Why? Because they ate more hamburgers than the ditchdiggers (or whatever they did). No, I’m not joking.

A man I know who was a camera operator for a television news show used to drag into my office and ask me to check his blood glucose (which was always high) and give him a hug. (Think he was depressed?) He finally left that job, moved, and got a job in another town working as a groundskeeper and gravedigger for a cemetery. When I saw him some months after that, he was energetic, slimmer, and his depression was gone. I dunno why. Maybe it was because he didn’t have time to go to McDonald’s to eat hamburgers.

You have to read some research with a grain of salt. And you have to know that research results don’t apply to everybody. But I’d really like to know if smoking will make my Type 2 diabetes go away.

I’m sure there’s an ashtray around here somewhere. Not to mention a glider on the front porch waiting for me.

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