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June 29, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Australia:

I am 51 years of age. We have been hearing a lot about diabetes on the news in Australia recently. I am not a diabetic but I am concerned about my health. I am overweight and unfit although I have good blood pressure and I don't have any of the symptoms that I have read about for diabetics. However, I find that I regularly have cravings for sweet things. I might resist for a number of days and then I find myself eating way too much in the way of cakes, chocolates, sweets. Trouble is, I am feeling depressed much of the time about my weight and fitness but don't seem to be able to find the willpower to stop. I will have no intention of eating them, but when I go into a shop, I find myself gravitating to those foods. Can eating too many sweet things lead to diabetes? Is a craving for sweet things linked to the development of diabetes?


The real problem is being overweight which can predispose to diabetes and of course eating too much especially the craving for sweet things contributes. However I think you need to start by seeing your doctor and getting some help with your depression. As you know already, it is a difficult course to follow; but you can be helped.

Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

You can’t get diabetes from eating sugary things but being overweight predisposes your body, if you are also genetically susceptible, to have insufficient insulin production and thus being overweight predisposes to type 2 diabetes. Hard to know about your cravings but perhaps just being depressed leads you to eat more since this is commonly seen in many overweight folk. You may want to talk with your primary health care provider about your weight and see if they can offer some effective approach. What about just going for a walk for 45-60 minutes each day?