Although the genes you inherit may influence the development of type 2 diabetes, they take a back seat to behavioral and lifestyle factors. Data from the Nurses’ Health Study suggest that 90 percent of type 2 diabetes in women can be attributed to five such factors: excess weight, lack of exercise, a less-than-healthy diet, smoking, and abstaining from alcohol. (8)
But contrary to a tossed-about diabetes myth, a lack of motivation isn't always a factor behind a person's need for medication. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, and it's not always possible for people to control their blood glucose levels with diet and exercise alone over time. People with prediabetes or type 2, however, are encouraged to embark on lifestyle changes such as losing at least 5 to 7 percent of their body weight, exercising more, and choosing healthier foods with fewer calories.
Treat yourself as you would a good friend who is struggling with a lifestyle change. You would be supportive and encouraging – a slip is not the end of it all. Sometimes it’s OK to indulge in a treat, but don’t feel guilty – enjoy it to the fullest – then get back on track. It’s OK to sit and read a book one day – just try to not make it the normal thing to do. I realized this morning when I had breakfast with a friend who is struggling with weight loss and I saw that the biggest difference was our attitude. She was moaning about how hard it was to lose and what she couldn’t eat and how much she had to work out, instead of looking at the fact that she has lost 20 pounds! That said, it’s not always easy to be positive, but all I really need to do is look back 4 months and I know I am making a difference.”
While diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar values, type 2 diabetes is also associated with a condition known as insulin resistance. Even though there is an element of impaired insulin secretion from the beta cells of the pancreas, especially when toxic levels of glucose occur (when blood sugars are constantly very high), the major defect in type 2 diabetes is the body's inability to respond properly to insulin.
National Center for Health Statistics reported that socioeconomic status plays an important role in the development of T2DM; where it was known as a disease of the rich.49 On the contrary, the same reference reported that T2DM was more prevalent in lower income level and in those with less education. The differences may be due to the type of food consumed. Nutritionists advised that nutrition is very important in managing diabetes, not only type but also quantity of food which influences blood sugar. Meals should be consumed at regular times with low fat and high fiber contents including a limited amount of carbohydrates. It was observed that daily consumption of protein, fat and energy intake by Saudi residents were higher than what is recommended by the International Nutritional Organization.50
Stay Hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day is always good to keep your organs and skin healthy. Of course, getting some fluid before, during and after exercise is just as important to avoid becoming dehydrated. However, what you choose matters a lot. For example, skip the soda. New findings come out regularly to warn against the negative health effects of added sugar, including fructose (ie, high fructose corn syrup), honey, and agave.
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]
Eat healthy foods. Plan meals that limit (not eliminate) foods that contain carbohydrates, which raise your blood sugar. Carbohydrates include starches, fruits, milk, yogurt, starchy vegetables (corn, peas, potatoes) and sweets. “Substitute more non-starchy vegetables into your meals to stay satisfied for fewer carbohydrates and calories,” Compston says.
Each person needs individualized treatment. Type-1 diabetes always requires insulin, diet, and exercise. Type-2 diabetics require insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents (medication that helps lower blood sugar), if diet and exercise alone fail to lower blood glucose. If you have diabetes, you need to have a medical team (doctor, nutritionist, and health educator or nurse) working with you. Whichever type of diabetes you have, the key to proper control is balancing the glucose and the insulin in the blood. This means adjusting your diet, activity, and sometimes taking medication.[29,30]
The good news is your risk of developing type 2 diabetes may be lowered with lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and weight loss. If you’ve tried and failed to make changes before, remember that persistence is key, and even small changes can have a powerful impact. According to a Diabetes Prevention Program study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), people at a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes who lost just 5 to 7% of their weight with diet or exercise were able to prevent or delay onset of the condition.
Our Shopping List for Diabetics is based on the Pritikin Eating Plan, regarded worldwide as among the healthiest diets on earth. The Pritikin Program has been documented in more than 100 studies in peer-reviewed medical journals to prevent and control many of our nation’s leading killers – heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, metabolic syndrome, and obesity as well as type 2 diabetes.
A growing body of evidence links moderate alcohol consumption with reduced risk of heart disease. The same may be true for type 2 diabetes. Moderate amounts of alcohol—up to a drink a day for women, up to two drinks a day for men—increases the efficiency of insulin at getting glucose inside cells. And some studies indicate that moderate alcohol consumption decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes. (8, 46–51) If you already drink alcohol, the key is to keep your consumption in the moderate range, as higher amounts of alcohol could increase diabetes risk. (52) If you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no need to start—you can get the same benefits by losing weight, exercising more, and changing your eating patterns.
But some pleasant news: When consumed in moderation and made with whole ingredients and without added sugar, fruit smoothies can be a good food for diabetes. Consider stocking your fridge with unsweetened frozen fruit so you can whip up one in a hurry for breakfast. Adding ingredients with protein, such as yogurt or a small amount of nut butter, will also help your body break down the carbohydrates more slowly, leading to less of a spike in blood sugar.

Perhaps you have learned that you have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. You might be overweight or have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes. Maybe you had gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. These are just a few examples of factors that can raise your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.


Each person needs individualized treatment. Type-1 diabetes always requires insulin, diet, and exercise. Type-2 diabetics require insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents (medication that helps lower blood sugar), if diet and exercise alone fail to lower blood glucose. If you have diabetes, you need to have a medical team (doctor, nutritionist, and health educator or nurse) working with you. Whichever type of diabetes you have, the key to proper control is balancing the glucose and the insulin in the blood. This means adjusting your diet, activity, and sometimes taking medication.[29,30]

Choose lean sources of protein. Lean sources of protein include: eggs, egg whites, chicken breast, turkey breast, lean beef, pork tenderloin, fish (e.g., cod, tilapia, orange roughy), beans, or tofu. Adding protein to your daily intake helps to control spikes in blood sugar and helps with fullness to prevent unnecessary snacking on poor choices later.


Note: Type 1 diabetes must be treated with insulin; if you have type 2 diabetes, you may not need to take insulin. This involves injecting insulin under the skin for it to work. Insulin cannot be taken as a pill because the digestive juices in the stomach would destroy the insulin before it could work. Scientists are looking for new ways to give insulin. But today, shots are the only method. There are, however, new methods to give the shots. Insulin pumps are now being widely used and many people are having great results.

In reality, when people in a study followed the Paleolithic diet, it turned out the diet was lower in total energy, energy density, carbohydrates, dietary glycemic load, fiber, saturated fatty acids, and calcium; but higher in unsaturated fatty acids (good fats), dietary cholesterol, and several vitamins and minerals. Research also demonstrates that people with diabetes are less hungry, have more stable blood sugar, and feel better with lower carbohydrate diets.
Fresh vegetables are a great option, and usually the tastiest option. Studies show that frozen veggies have just as many vitamins and nutrients because they are often frozen within hours of harvesting. Just check to make sure there aren't added fats or sweeteners in the sauces that are on some frozen veggies. If you don't like vegetables on their own, try preparing them with fresh or dried herbs, olive oil, or a vinaigrette dressing. Aiming to consume a rainbow of colors through your vegetables is a good way to get all of your nutrients.

Your doctor will be able to check your heart health, which is particularly important if you already have blocked arteries or high blood pressure. You also need to take into consideration any other diabetes-related complications—retinopathy or neuropathy, for example. As you begin an exercise program, your doctor can refer you to an exercise physiologist or diabetes educator to help you figure out the best exercise program that allows you to get in shape for your fitness level.


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.
There are two main types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. At least 90% of diabetics in America have Type 2 diabetes. Studying the evolution and lifestyle habits of humankind, we can confidently assert that Type 2 diabetes is virtually entirely preventable. Worldwide, many populations are now suffering epidemic rates of Type 2 diabetes because many populations live in a “food toxic” environment and exercise little or not at all.
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