For the past week the news has been spreading like butter on a warm, buttermilk biscuit: Paula Deen, the queen of Southern cooking, has been a Type 2 diabetic for three years and kept it a secret while she cooked up her high fat and high caloric foods on her television show. Not only is she a diabetic, but she has smoked for the past 50 years, and she recently turned to Dr. Oz for help in quitting her pack and a half a day addiction. It doesn’t matter whether you have smoked for a short time or all your life, quitting is difficult, but worth it, especially when it comes to your health.
There are three forms of diabetes, but Type 2 is the most common, and it doesn’t discriminate who develops it; both over weight and thin people are susceptible at getting the disease. Some people with diabetes do not have symptoms, but uncontrolled diabetes can cause a multitude of problems such as leg pain, foot numbness, cuts and bruises that take longer to heal, and vision problems.
Smoking cigarettes can cause problems that mirror those of diabetes. Carbon monoxide levels in the blood reduce oxygen levels in the body. Lower levels of oxygen can cause poor circulation in the extremities resulting in bruising and foot sores that may not heal. The tiny blood vessels in the eye are sensitive to smoking; smokers have an increased risk of cataracts, and macular degeneration can cause gradual loss of eyesight.
Just as a chef adds seasonings to a recipe to enhance the flavors of the ingredients, cigarette manufacturers also add flavorings, such as sugars and sweeteners, to make their product more palatable, as well as more addictive. Ingredients such as glucose, honey, molasses and sorbitol help to smooth out the flavor of the tobacco and makes the smoke more pleasant for the smoker. Many smokers, who are diabetic, do not know about all the hidden sweeteners in their cigarette. But these added sugars can play havoc with your blood sugar.
Smoking also decreases your sense of smell. The olfactory nerves in your nose can suffer permanent damage from your smoking habit. Your taste buds also become less sensitive to flavors, which isn’t a good thing if you earn your living by cooking.
There is good news to all of this. Quitting smoking decreases your sugar intake from cigarettes, helping you better control your diabetes. People who have quit smoking have said their sense of smell returns, and foods takes better. Quitting smoking improves your overall health.
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