It had been about a year since Akua Jitahadi felt like herself. But she was 51 and expected menopause to kick in soon. Plus, she and her daughter had just moved to oppressively hot Arizona. So she brushed off the tired, sluggish feeling as a side effect of being a middle-aged woman adjusting to sweltering temps. And then, overnight, her vision dimmed. Something was most definitely wrong.
The data on dairy products seems to vary. In a study of over 289,000 health professionals, Harvard researchers showed that consumption of yogurt, in contrast to other dairy products, was associated with a reduced risk for diabetes. In a pooled analysis of 17 studies about dairy products and diabetes risk, those who consumed more dairy products had a lower risk than those who consumed few dairy products, A Swedish study found that high-fat dairy products, but not low-fat dairy products, lowered the risk for type 2 diabetes.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Your diabetic meal plan, physical activity, and medication are all balanced to help keep your blood glucose levels normal. You need to check your blood glucose levels at home to keep track of how you are doing. Soon you will learn how the foods you eat and your physical activity affect your blood glucose level. The best defense against diabetic complications is to keep blood glucose in control and take good care of yourself. Keeping your blood glucose in control will help you feel better now and stay healthy in the future.[78,79,80]

Aside from managing your diabetes, a diabetes diet offers other benefits, too. Because a diabetes diet recommends generous amounts of fruits, vegetables and fiber, following it is likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. And consuming low-fat dairy products can reduce your risk of low bone mass in the future.

If you choose to drink alcohol, remember: To drink with your meal or snack (not on an empty stomach!), to drink slowly or dilute with water or diet soda, that liqueurs, sweet wines and dessert wines have a lot of sugar, to wear your Medic Alert (Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia/low blood glucose), reducing alcohol can promote weight loss and help you lower your blood pressure.
The first step is to eliminate all sugar and refined starches from your diet. Sugar has no nutritional value and can therefore be eliminated. Starches are simply long chains of sugars. Highly refined starches such as flour or white rice are quickly broken down by digestion into glucose. This is quickly absorbed into the blood and raises blood sugar. For example, eating white bread increases blood sugars very quickly.
Regular physical activity helps the body cells take up glucose and thus lower blood glucose levels. Regular physical activity also helps with weight loss as well as controlling blood cholesterol and blood pressure. You need to let your doctor and dietitian know about the kinds of physical activities you do regularly. Your doctor and dietitian will help you balance your physical activity with your medication and diabetic meal plan. If you are not physically active now, your doctor may recommend that you increase physical activity. Important benefits of a regular aerobic exercise program in diabetes management include decreased need for insulin, decreased risk of obesity, and decreased risk for heart disease. Exercise decreases total cholesterol, improves the ratio of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), and reduces blood triglycerides. It may also decrease blood pressure and lower stress levels. Walking is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to exercise. This is one activity that anyone can do for a lifetime without special equipment and with little risk of injury. Talk to your doctor about exercise. Supervised activity is best because of the risk of an insulin imbalance. Use the buddy system when you exercise.[71,72,73,74,75,76,77]

Jitahadi bought books on diabetes, nutrition, the glycemic index, and diabetes-friendly meals. Instead of slightly modifying her diet, Jitahadi decided to completely overhaul it. "I started realizing that what ['watch what you eat'] really meant was I needed to eat healthier, more balanced meals," she says. She wrote down everything she ate. And instead of dining out, she cooked meals from scratch. Jitahadi swapped white sugar for lower-glycemic sweeteners, traded in white rice for brown, lowered the amount of sodium she consumed, cut a lot of carbs, and made veggies the mainstay of each meal. (Her favorite: grated cauliflower sautéed with veggies and chicken or egg for low-carb fried "rice.")

To avoid fast food, a convenient temptation, he prepped meals in advance. "A lot of it, especially as I lost a lot of weight, had to do with saying, 'I just walked x miles and burned x calories, do I really want to ruin it by popping in and having a burger?' " he says. "After a while, it got a little easier. Now I drive by [fast-food restaurants] and I don't even give them a second thought."
They would often say to me, “Doctor. You’ve always said that weight loss is the key to reversing diabetes. Yet you prescribed me a drug that made me gain 25 pounds. How is that good?” I never had a good answer, because none existed. It was not good. The key was weight loss, whereupon the diabetes often goes away or at least gets significantly better. So, logically, insulin does not help reverse the disease, but actually worsens it.
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.
Type-2 diabetes is a major, non-communicable disease with increasing prevalence at a global level. Type-2 diabetes results when the body does not make enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin it produces. Type-2 diabetes is the leading cause of premature deaths. Improperly managed, it can lead to a number of health issues, including heart diseases, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, leg and foot amputations, and death. Type-2 diabetes or adult-onset diabetes is most common type of diabetes, usually begins when a person is in his or her mid-50s, but diabetes is not inevitable. Minor changes in your lifestyle can greatly reduce your chances of getting this disease. Therefore, in order to prevent this condition, action should be taken regarding the modifiable factors that influence its development-lifestyle and dietary habits. However, with proper testing, treatment and lifestyle changes, healthy eating as a strategy, promote walking, exercise, and other physical activities have beneficial effects on human health and prevention or treatment of diabetes, promoting adherence to this pattern is of considerable public health importance.

While carbohydrate counting is effective, it can be hard to go from eating whatever you want to calculating and measuring and measuring food intake. Carbohydrate counting is effective in managing blood sugars and controlling diabetes, though eating a balanced, healthy diet can help clients reach their goals. One way to do this is by following the plate method put out by www.myplate.gov. In this image, the recommendation for nutrient intake is to make ½ of your plate vegetables, ¼ of your plate lean protein and ¼ of the plate starch. This allows someone to incorporate carbohydrates into the diet, but in a balanced way that manages blood sugars. Getting a balance of nutrients provides energy, increases satiety and allows for optimal vitamin and mineral intake. The plate method is approachable and easy to incorporate whether you are at a restaurant, at a party, or at home cooking for yourself.


Control portions and eat smaller meals. Consuming generous portions and large meals requires your pancreas to work harder to secrete the needed insulin to bring your blood sugar down. The extra calories consumed due to sizeable portions and large meals also makes it harder for you to lose weight which is usually necessary for better blood sugar control.
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.
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]
Research has found, too, that the Pritikin Program can actually reverse the Metabolic Syndrome. In 50% of adult Americans studied, the Pritikin Program reversed the clinical diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome, and in just three weeks. In research following children with the Metabolic Syndrome, 100% no longer had the syndrome within two weeks of starting the Pritikin Program.
There are a few methods that can be used for diabetic meal planning. It is good to research more than one, but also important to remember that diabetic diet needs are going to vary based on your sex, age, activity level, medications, height, and weight. If you have not yet met with a registered dietitian, seek one out who can help you develop an individualized meal plan that will meet all of your specific needs.
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.
Control portions and eat smaller meals. Consuming generous portions and large meals requires your pancreas to work harder to secrete the needed insulin to bring your blood sugar down. The extra calories consumed due to sizeable portions and large meals also makes it harder for you to lose weight which is usually necessary for better blood sugar control.
Pay attention to the balance of macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) in a meal to support stable blood sugar levels. Specifically, fat, protein, and fiber all slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and thus allow time for a slower, lower insulin release and a steady transport of glucose out of the blood and into the target tissues - this is a good thing.
And finally, behavioral changes that set up environments for success are extremely helpful. These may include daily food/beverage/activity/glucose logging, and food-proofing environments. Logging can now be completed easily with electronic applications and website support, such as www.choosemyplate.gov . Food-proofing takes more doing and family/significant other assistance. Environments to review may include home, shopping, work, driving, and social. Review foods in each environment that sabotage efforts to manage blood glucose, and develop strategies to cope. For instance, when driving, bring a planned carb-controlled snack (e.g. small apple, 3 graham cracker squares, sparkling calorie-free water), in case travels extend past expected times; and check driving patterns, since some automatic routes may go past a favorite fast food place that magically pulls the car in!
To hit your blood sugar level target, eat a variety of foods but monitor portions for foods with a high carbohydrate content, says Alison Massey, RD, CDE, the director of diabetes education at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. “[Foods high in carbohydrates] have the most impact on blood sugar level. This is why some people with diabetes count their carbohydrates at meals and snacks,” she says.
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.
Sometimes life happens and we don’t always have time to prepare breakfast in the morning, pack a nutritious lunch, have healthy snacks readily available,and cook a balanced meal for dinner. If you find yourself unexpectedly stopping at a restaurant for a quick meal, a celebration dinner or to take a break from cooking, go in with motivation to make healthy choices. Try these meal modifications to stay within your daily calorie intake and still feel satisfied. Appetizers Choose an item… Continue reading »

This pattern of eating is very nutrient-dense, meaning you get many vitamins, minerals, and other healthful nutrients for every calorie consumed. A very large recent study demonstrated that two versions of the Mediterranean diet improved diabetes control including better blood sugar and more weight loss. The two versions of the Mediterranean diet that were studied emphasized either more nuts or more olive oil. Since both were beneficial, a common-sense approach to adopting the Mediterranean diet would include both of these. For example, sprinkle chopped almonds on green beans or drizzle zucchini with olive oil, oregano, and hemp seeds.
If you are at risk for diabetes or insulin resistance, be sure to get an annual testing for fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c. If you see these rising over time, this is a sign that your body is having more trouble processing sugar. Your healthcare provider can provide further recommendations for medication and lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) advocates for a healthy diet with an emphasis on balancing energy intake with exercise. Historically, they have advocated for the majority of calories coming from complex carbohydrates from whole grains such as whole-grain bread and other whole-grain cereal products and a decreased intake of total fat with most of it coming from unsaturated fat.
When incorporating fiber rich foods in your diet, which helps with blood sugar control – remember to stay hydrated with enough daily water intake.  Drink water with meals and snacks and keep a water bottle with you to take sips throughout the day.  Staying well hydrated helps with regularity and promotes blood sugar control.  Aim for 60-100 fluid ounces per day.
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.

Diabetes mellitus or type-2 diabetes, is one of the major non-communicable and fastest growing public health problems in the world, is a condition difficult to treat and expensive to manage. It has been estimated that the number of diabetes sufferers in the world will double from the current value of about 190 million to 325 million during the next 25 years.[1,2,3] Individuals with type-2 diabetes are at a high risk of developing a range of debilitating complications such as cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, nephropathy, changes to the retina and blindness that can lead to disability and premature death. It also imposes important medical and economic burdens. Genetic susceptibility and environmental influences seem to be the most important factors responsible for the development of this condition. However, a drastic increase of physical inactivity, obesity, and type-2 diabetes has been recently observed. The fact indicates that obesity and physical inactivity may constitute the main reasons for the increasing burden of diabetes in the developed world.[4,5,6,7,8,9,10]

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]

Another area that I focus on is portion sizes. With the increase in portion sizes in our society, it can be hard to manage food intake. I recommend listening to your body and identifying your needs by being aware of your hunger and fullness. If you are feeling hungry, it is an indicator to eat, and once you start to feel satisfied, it is an indicator to stop eating, knowing that you can eat again later. This small change where someone begins to leave food on their plate or stops eating when feeling satisfied and not overly full can make a big difference in overall health.


So how does one prevent a diabetes diagnosis from happening? Diet is definitely a factor in the development of diabetes, though not the only factor. Other potential influences include age, genetics, family history, physical activity, mental health, income, hormonal conditions, and ethnicity. So even if your diet is perfectly engineered towards preventing the chronic disease, you still might be at risk. That being said, your diet does still play a role. Why not reduce your risk as much as you can?


Television-watching appears to be an especially-detrimental form of inactivity: Every two hours you spend watching TV instead of pursuing something more active increases the chances of developing diabetes by 20 percent; it also increases the risk of heart disease (15 percent) and early death (13 percent). (17) The more television people watch, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese, and this seems to explain part of the TV viewing-diabetes link. The unhealthy diet patterns associated with TV watching may also explain some of this relationship.
In recent times in Saudi Arabia, food choices, size of portions and sedentary lifestyle have increased dramatically that resulted in high risk of obesity. Unfortunately, many Saudis are becoming more obese because of the convenience of fast foods, and this adds to the scary diabetes statistics.45 On the other hand, Saudis drink too many high-sugar drinks. In addition, Backman46 reported dietary knowledge to be a significant factor that influences dietary behaviors. In another study conducted by Savoca and Miller47 stated that patients’ food selection and dietary behaviors may be influenced by the strong knowledge about diabetic diet recommendations. Significant positive relationship was observed between knowledge regarding diabetic diet and the amount of calorie needs (r = 0.27, p < 0.05).48 The study concluded that knowledge regarding diabetic diet is essential and is needed to achieve better dietary behaviors. Results of study conducted in Saudi Arabia25 reported that more than half of the diabetic patients denied modifying their dietary pattern, reduction in weight and perform exercise.
More than 86 million American adults—approximately one-third of those over age 18 and half of those over 65—have prediabetes, and most of them don’t even know it. If you have prediabetes, it means your blood sugar levels are consistently higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes puts you at higher-than-normal risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control, up to 30% of overweight men and women with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years of diagnosis. You don’t have to be one of them! Here are five steps you can take to reduce your diabetes risk.
Chia is a type of seed that provides fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia is a superfood because it brings down the glycemic load of any meal, increases hunger satisfaction (satiety), and stabilizes bloods sugar. Adding chia to your breakfast will help keep you full longer. They primary type of fiber in chia is soluble fiber. Soluble fibers turn to a gel when mixed with water. This makes chia seeds excellent to use in baking and cooking when a thickener is needed. Chia mixed with almond milk, cocoa, and a low-glycemic index sweetener like agave or stevia makes an excellent healthy pudding!
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.
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