Could Quitting Smoking Actually Increase Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes?

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Diabetes, Blood Sugar
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

We're all knee deep in New Year's resolutions...if we haven't abandoned them already.

For those of you who smoke, hopefully you've chosen 2010 as the year to quit. 

But a study just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine just might have you scratching your head, at least at first glance.

According to researchers, a review of 10,000 smokers found that the risk of type 2 diabetes actually went up when people quit smoking, most dramatically in the first three years after quitting.

During those first three years, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was about 70 percent higher than those who had never smoked. If you kept on smoking, however, your increased risk of diabetes was just (just?) 30 percent higher than lifelong non-smokers.

The good news of course is that if you've never smoked, your risk of developing diabetes is significanly lower than if you have. But quitting smoking as a cause of type 2 diabetes...how can this be?

After all, we know that quitting smoking reduces your risk of nearly every serious disease, including heart disease and an assortment of lung ailments and cancers. But the connection between smoking and diabetes is clear if you've ever known someone who quit or you've tried it yourself—it's the link between type 2 diabetes and weight.

Sadly, people tend to put on weight when they quit smoking, reaching for a snack when the urge for a cigarette hits. When researchers took into account weight gain after quitting, the increased risk of diabetes from quitting smoking was negligible. 

So if you smoke, you need to quit, and you need to control your weight after quitting, to avoid facing increased diabetes risk.

To make it easier to quit and reduce cravings, Dr. Whitaker recommends the following plan:

Before your start date, get two bottles each of Sulfonil and buffered vitamin C. Sulfonil is a sulfur-based compound that actually binds to the same receptor sites in the brain as nicotine. These receptors become habituated to nicotine, and once you quit smoking they cry out for more. Dr. Whitaker prefers Sulfonil to niotine gums, patches, etc. because it satisfies the cravings without providing the very thing you’re trying to escape.

Starting on your quit day, take two Sulfonil capsules when you wake up, then one every four to six hours during the day, and two more at bedtime. Drink copious amount of water to flush your system. The biochemical addiction to nicotine will dissipate in two to three weeks, so you likely won’t need Sulfonil for longer than that.

But you'll still need to break the habit of smoking, and not replace it with a habit for snacking, to prevent added weight and diabetes risk. When the desire for a cigarette strikes, Dr. Whitaker recommends 500 - 1,000 mg of buffered vitamin C, which can take the edge off intense cravings.

Then...do something, don't eat something. Take a walk, do household chores or paperwork, anything to keep your hands and mind busy.

If you're anxious or edgy (which is highly likely), you should consider supplementing with GABA or l-theanine, two nutrients well known for taking the edge off any stressful situation.

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