For many, the simple answer is “sugar.” We’ve been taught for years that eating too much sugar will result in developing Type 2 Diabetes.

But the actual answer is… a little more complicated.

Type 2 Diabetes is caused by  genetics, weight gain and lifestyle choices.

If one of your parents has diabetes, that doesn’t mean you’re destined to have it in the same way one parent having cancer doesn’t mean you will definitely get it. It does mean, however, that you have a predisposition to it and are more likely to get it than someone whose parents do not have it. Medical researches are still trying to pinpoint the exact genes that lead to diabetes.

Even with the wrong genetic combination, you can still avoid diabetes by making the right lifestyle choices. For example, exercising regularly greatly decreases your risk of diabetes. Physical activity improves your body’s ability to break down sugars and fats.

Unhealthy eating and weight gain are too primary causes of diabetes. While many people think “sugar” alone causes diabetes, it isn’t quite so. A diet high in sugar leads to weight gain, which can lead to diabetes. Overweight people are far more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder.

An unhealthy diet and a lack of physical activity leads to insulin resistance. Insulin transports glucose to our cells, but diabetes prevents insulin from doing its job. This causes the glucose to build up in your blood, which can lead to symptoms like your body crashing.

The best way to avoid diabetes is to practice a holistically healthy lifestyle. It’s not enough to avoid sugar alone. You’ll need a well-balanced, well-planned diet filled with whole foods and plenty of water. Regular exercise will also help your body guard itself against diabetes.

It’s a bit more complicated than just “the sugars,” but at the end of the day, it all comes down to your wellness.