There is no single best diet plan for prediabetes. If you ask 100 people, “What is the best diet for prediabetes?,” you may get 100 different answers – and they may all be correct. Your plan should help you control your weight, provide the nutrients and healthy foods you need to lower risk for diabetes and other chronic diseases, and fit into your lifestyle so that you can make it work for the long term.
Most of us ignored the manual, just plugged it in and tried to figure out the rest. That’s why we all had the blinking 12:00 on. Today, most new electronics now come with a quick start guide which has the most basic 4 or 5 steps to get your machine working and then anything else you needed, you could reference the detailed instruction manual. Instruction manuals are just so much more useful this way.
Type 2 diabetes can lead to a number of complications such as kidney, nerve, and eye damage, as well as cardiovascular disease. It also means cells are not receiving the glucose they need for healthy functioning. A calculation called a HOMA Score (Homeostatic Model Assessment) can tell doctors the relative proportion of these factors for an individual with type 2 diabetes. Good glycemic control (that is, keeping sugar/carbohydrate intake low so blood sugar isn't high) can prevent long-term complications of type 2 diabetes. A diet for people with type 2 diabetes also is referred to as a diabetic diet for type 2 diabetes and medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for people with diabetes.
Fortunately, because environmental factors are modifiable, disease manifestation from these factors is largely preventable. Diet is one of the major factors now linked to a wide range of diseases including diabetes. The amount and type of food consumed is a fundamental determinant of human health. Diet constitutes a crucial aspect of the overall management of diabetes, which may involve diet alone, diet with oral hypoglycemic drugs, or diet with insulin.[11,12,13,14,15] Diet is individualized depending on age, weight, gender, health condition, and occupation etc. The dietary guidelines as used in this review are sets of advisory statements that give quick dietary advice for the management of the diabetic population in order to promote overall nutritional well-being, glycogenic control, and prevent or ameliorate diabetes-related complications.
If you are like me, going to the gym is not your favorite pass time. Physical activity with diabetes is so beneficial. Being active, however, does not mean having to work out. There are tons of ways to sneak in exercise in your everyday activities. For example, when grocery shopping, park at the end of the lot so you have to walk a longer distance to and from the store. If you enjoy watching tv, stand up and walk in place during the commercials. Take the stairs instead of the elevator as often as you can. If you enjoy dancing, instead of at- home work out videos, put on your favorite tunes and dance away! There are so many different ways to be active without “working out”!
As for packaging, frozen veggies without sauce are just as nutritious as fresh, and even low-sodium canned veggies can be a good choice if you’re in a pinch. Just be sure to watch your sodium intake to avoid high blood pressure, and consider draining and rinsing salted canned veggies before eating, per the ADA. If possible, opt for low-sodium or sodium-free canned veggies if going that route.
In general, prediabetes is not associated with any specific symptoms. However, there may be indicators of problems in blood sugar metabolism that can be seen years before the development of overt diabetes. Health-care professionals in the field of endocrinology are now routinely looking at these indicators in patients who are high risk for developing diabetes.
Long bouts of hot, sweaty exercise aren’t necessary to reap this benefit. Findings from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study suggest that walking briskly for a half hour every day reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 percent. (18, 19) More recently, The Black Women’s Health Study reported similar diabetes-prevention benefits for brisk walking of more than 5 hours per week. (20) This amount of exercise has a variety of other benefits as well. And even greater cardiovascular and other advantages can be attained by more, and more intense, exercise.
For most people with type 2 diabetes, the general guideline for moderate alcohol consumption applies. Research shows that one drink per day for women and two a day for men reduces cardiovascular risk and doesn't have a negative impact on diabetes. However, alcohol can lower blood sugar, and people with type 2 diabetes who are prone to hypoglycemia (such as those using insulin) should be aware of delayed hypoglycemia.
Trigylcerides are fatty molecules that travel in the bloodstream. Excess sugar and fat can increase triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are also manufactured in the liver. The body uses triglycerides for energy, but excess triglycerides are a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and obesity. Many lifestyle factors can influence triglyceride levels.
Veggies, first: Research suggests that eating vegetables and lean proteins before carbohydrates may result in a lower rise in blood sugar levels over the next few hours (as compared to eating the same foods in the opposite order). While more research is needed on this topic, it’s possible that eating protein and veggies first is delaying how fast the carbohydrates get absorbed.
Other medications such as metformin or the DPP4 drug class are weight neutral. While this won’t make things worse, they won’t make things better either. Since weight loss is the key to reversing type 2 diabetes, medications won’t make things better. Medications make blood sugars better, but not the diabetes. We can pretend the disease is better, but that doesn’t make it true.
You don't have to live your life at the gym to reap the benefits of exercise. A brisk half-hour walk five days per week can be enough to help improve insulin sensitivity (the opposite of insulin resistance) and prevent diabetes. Also, just being generally more active can help a lot. To motivate yourself, get a pedometer to count your steps, and gradually increase the number of steps you are taking.
Over a period of years, you went from pre-diabetes, to diabetes, to taking one medication, then two then three and then finally large doses of insulin. Here’s the thing. If you are taking more and more medications to keep your blood sugars at the same level, your diabetes is getting worse! Even if your blood sugars get better, your diabetes is getting worse. This is unfortunately what happens to virtually every patient. The body is already overflowing with sugar.
How do sugary drinks lead to this increased risk? Weight gain may explain the link: In both the Nurses’ Health Study II and the Black Women’s Health Study, women who increased their consumption of sugary drinks gained more weight than women who cut back on sugary drinks. (26, 28) Several studies show that children and adults who drink soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages are more likely to gain weight than those who don’t, (28, 30) and that switching from these to water or unsweetened beverages can reduce weight. (31) Even so, however, weight gain caused by sugary drinks may not completely explain the increased diabetes risk. There is mounting evidence that sugary drinks contribute to chronic inflammation, high triglycerides, decreased “good” (HDL) cholesterol, and increased insulin resistance, all of which are risk factors for diabetes. (32)
There’s more troubling news. The pre-cursors of Type 2 diabetes – pre-diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome – increase our risk of heart disease almost as much as Type 2 diabetes does. These pre-cursors are so widespread in 21st century America that scientists now estimate that the majority of the current U.S. population over the age of 65 has them. And they put people at dangerously high risk of developing full-blown Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and dying prematurely.
Low-carb diets, the glycemic index diet or other fad diets may help you lose weight at first. But their effectiveness at preventing diabetes isn't known, nor are their long-term effects. And by excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients. Instead, make variety and portion control part of your healthy-eating plan.
The group that made lifestyle changes was 58% less likely to develop diabetes compared to the placebo group. And the group that took Metformin was 31% less likely to develop diabetes compared to the placebo group. In other words – lifestyle changes and Metformin therapy can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes (weight loss, healthy diet and activity) are the most effective intervention.
Childhood obesity rates are rising, and so are the rates of type 2 diabetes in youth. More than 75% of children with type 2 diabetes have a close relative who has it, too. But it’s not always because family members are related; it can also be because they share certain habits that can increase their risk. Parents can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by developing a plan for the whole family:
As a bonus, stress relief may help you sleep better, which is important because studies show that not getting enough sleep can worsen type 2 diabetes. Sleeping less than six hours a night has also been found to contribute to impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often precedes type 2 diabetes. In fact, a review published in 2015 in Diabetes Care analyzed 10 studies that involved more than 18,000 participants combined and found the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes in the group of participants that slept seven to eight hours per day. That’s the minimum recommended amount of sleep for most adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
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Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal are good sources of fiber and nutrients; and have a low glycemic load making them good food choices. Processed food labels make it very confusing to understand whole grains. For example, "whole wheat bread" is made in many different ways, and some are not that different from white bread in its blood sugar impact (glycemic load). The same is true for whole grain pasta, it's still pasta. Whole grains have less of an impact on blood sugar because of the lower glycemic load. Choose whole grains that are still in their grain form like brown rice and quinoa, or look at the fiber content on the nutrition label. For example, a "good" whole grain bread will have 3+ grams of fiber per slice.
Although most vegetable oils are in some ways healthier than animal fats, you will still want to keep them to a minimum. All fats and oils are highly concentrated in calories. A gram of any fat or oil contains 9 calories, compared with only 4 calories for a gram of carbohydrate. Avoid foods fried in oil, oily toppings, and olives, avocados, and peanut butter. Aim for no more than 2-3 grams of fat per serving of food, e.g., white or wheat bread, most cold cereals, watermelon, pineapple, baking potatoes, sugar.
Food can be powerful in preventing and reversing diabetes. However, dietary approaches have changed as we have learned more about the disease. The traditional approach to diabetes focuses on limiting refined sugars and foods that release sugars during digestion-starches, breads, fruits, etc. With carbohydrates reduced, the diet may contain an unhealthful amount of fat and protein. Therefore, diabetes experts have taken care to limit fats- especially saturated fats that can raise cholesterol levels, and to limit protein for people with impaired kidney function. The new approach focuses more attention on fat. Fat is a problem for people with diabetes. The more fat there is in the diet, the harder time insulin has in getting glucose into the cells. Conversely, minimizing fat intake and reducing body fat help insulin do its job much better. Newer treatment programs drastically reduce meats, high-fat dairy products, and oils.[46,47,48,49,50] At the same time, they increase grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. The study found that patients on oral medications and patients on insulin were able to get off of their medications after some days on a near-vegetarian diet and exercise program. During 2 and 3-year follow-ups, most people with diabetes treated with this regimen have retained their gains. The dietary changes are simple, but profound, and they work.[51,52,53]
Steve Phelps always had a sweet tooth. He blamed that weakness for his weight, the 360 pounds that were too much for his 5-foot, 7-inch frame. He was shocked, then, when the food journal he'd been keeping—a tool he'd started to use after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes—revealed otherwise. "I was under the misconception that my diet was fine [except that] I liked sweets and I ate a lot of sweets," he says. "I discovered quickly that it wasn't just eating cake or pie that was making me fat. It was all the other stuff, too." Fried chicken. Mashed potatoes. Fast food. Phelps ate as much as he wanted without much thought.
Medications and insulin do nothing to slow down the progression of this organ damage, because they do not eliminate the toxic sugar load from our body. We’ve known this inconvenient fact since 2008. No less than 7 multinational, multi-centre, randomized controlled trials of tight blood glucose control with medications (ACCORD, ADVANCE, VADT, ORIGIN, TECOS, ELIXA, SAVOR) failed to demonstrate reductions in heart disease, the major killer of diabetic patients. We pretended that using medications to lower blood sugar makes people healthier. But it’s only been a lie. You can’t use drugs to cure a dietary disease.
Checking your blood glucose levels several times a day helps you understand how your body responds to medications, exercise, and the foods you eat. When first starting out, keeping your glucose within a tight margin can often feel like hitting a moving target. It can suddenly spike with no reason or plummet the next day despite total adherence to your treatment.