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 kids and teens might be able to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by managing their weight and increasing physical activity, other risk factors for type 2 diabetes can't be changed. Kids with one or more family members with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk for the disease, and some ethnic and racial groups are more likely to developing it.
You also might hear about alternative treatments for diabetes, such as herbal remedies and vitamin or mineral supplements. These practices can be risky, especially when people stop following the treatment plan their doctor has given them. So get the facts by talking to your diabetes health care team. They keep track of the latest research developments, and will introduce new products as they become available.
Dr. Erica Oberg, ND, MPH, received a BA in anthropology from the University of Colorado, her doctorate of naturopathic medicine (ND) from Bastyr University, and a masters of public health (MPH) in health services research from the University of Washington. She completed her residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in ambulatory primary care and fellowship training at the Health Promotion Research Center at the University of Washington.
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.
Regular exercise is an equally important part. Not only can it help you maintain your ideal body weight, it can have a direct impact on your blood glucose control. This is because insulin resistance is closely linked to increased fat and decreased muscle mass. Muscle cells use insulin far more efficiently than fat, so by building muscle and burning fat, you can help lower and better control your blood glucose levels.
Animal products contain fat, especially saturated fat, which is linked to heart disease, insulin resistance, and certain forms of cancer. These products also contain cholesterol and, of course, animal protein. It may surprise you to learn that diets high in animal protein can aggravate kidney problems and calcium losses. Animal products never provide fiber or healthful carbohydrates. A vegan diet is one that contains no animal products at all. Therefore, you’ll have to avoid red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs.
After the birth of her oldest son, Crawford went on Weight Watchers. Eight months later, she had dropped 40 pounds, had an A1C of 5.2, and was able to stop diabetes and blood pressure medications. Her workouts started with daily walks and progressed to cardio and strength training three to four times a week. "I was able to do things I couldn't do before," she says. "I can do push-ups. I can do sit-ups."
A large number of cross-sectional as well as prospective and retrospective studies have found significant association between physical inactivity and T2DM.12 A prospective study was carried out among more than thousand nondiabetic individuals from the high-risk population of Pima Indians. During an average follow-up period of 6-year, it was found that the diabetes incidence rate remained higher in less active men and women from all BMI groups.13 The existing evidence suggests a number of possible biological pathways for the protective effect of physical activity on the development of T2DM. First, it has been suggested that physical activity increases sensitivity to insulin. In a comprehensive report published by Health and Human Services, USA, 2015 reported that physical activity enormously improved abnormal glucose tolerance when caused by insulin resistance primarily than when it was caused by deficient amounts of circulating insulin.14 Second, physical activity is likely to be most beneficial in preventing the progression of T2DM during the initial stages, before insulin therapy is required. The protective mechanism of physical activity appears to have a synergistic effect with insulin. During a single prolonged session of physical activity, contracting skeletal muscle enhances glucose uptake into the cells. This effect increases blood flow in the muscle and enhances glucose transport into the muscle cell.15 Third, physical activity has also been found to reduce intra-abdominal fat, which is a known risk factor for insulin resistance. In certain other studies, physical activity has been inversely associated with intra-abdominal fat distribution and can reduce body fat stores.16 Lifestyle and environmental factors are reported to be the main causes of extreme increase in the incidence of T2DM.17
Keeping close tabs on your diet is a major way to help manage type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet for people with type 2 diabetes includes fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean meats, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Focus on eating fruit and non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli, carrots, and lettuce, and having smaller portions of starchy foods, meats, and dairy products. Be especially careful about loading up on foods that are high on the glycemic index (GI) and especially the glycemic load (GL), systems that rank foods according to how they affect glucose levels.
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.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Most of the time, gestational diabetes goes away after your baby is born. Even if your gestational diabetes goes away, you still have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years. Your child may also be more likely to become obese and develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Making healthy choices helps the whole family and may protect your child from becoming obese or developing diabetes.
Paleolithic diets include a moderate amount of protein, and have gained a lot of attention recently. The theory behind this dietary pattern is that our genetic background has not evolved to meet our modern lifestyle of calorically dense convenience foods and limited activity, and that returning to a hunter-gatherer way of eating will work better with human physiology. This has been studied in a few small trials, and it does seem beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
Activity – so important to keep busy – mentally as well as physically. Find an activity that you really WANT to do. I like to garden and now that I am tracking my activity, I find it gives me an excuse to go out and putter. Since I enjoy it and accomplish something good, it satisfies me. I have discovered that with some practice I can read while walking on the treadmill. If the book engrosses my mind, I will walk much longer than if I am just watching the timer.
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 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.
It’s best to get fiber from food. But if you can’t get enough, then taking fiber supplements can help. Examples include psyllium, methylcellulose, wheat dextrin, and calcium polycarbophil. If you take a fiber supplement, increase the amount you take slowly. This can help prevent gas and cramping. It’s also important to drink enough liquids when you increase your fiber intake.
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.
I believe that individuals with and without Type 2 diabetes need to ensure they are eating at least eight servings of non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, green beans, okra, and so much more. One serving of vegetable is equal to 1cup, which is really about one handful worth. If you cook one serving of say greens, it will shrink, but it still counts!
Why do red meat and processed red meat appear to boost diabetes risk? It may be that the high iron content of red meat diminishes insulin’s effectiveness or damages the cells that produce insulin; the high levels of sodium and nitrites (preservatives) in processed red meats may also be to blame. Red and processed meats are a hallmark of the unhealthful “Western” dietary pattern, which seems to trigger diabetes in people who are already at genetic risk. (44)
Eat Slower: Once we start eating, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for our bodies to realize we are full. Eating too fast can lead to overeating, which can lead to a spike in blood sugar and/or weight gain…which can lead to greater insulin resistance. Consciously aim to eat slowly – give yourself at least 15 minutes – especially if you start a meal very hungry. If you are a fast eater or do not have a lot of time, eat 50% to 75% of your planned portion and then wait 10 to 15 minutes (call a friend, work a little, take a walk, anything). If you are still hungry, then eat half of what’s left. Repeat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Pay attention to how much food it actually takes to make you full so if you are in a pinch, you can make sure your eyes don’t become bigger than your stomach.
Recently, evidence suggested a link between the intake of soft drinks with obesity and diabetes, resulting from large amounts of high fructose corn syrup used in the manufacturing of soft drinks, which raises blood glucose levels and BMI to the dangerous levels.38 It was also stated by Assy39 that diet soft drinks contain glycated chemicals that markedly augment insulin resistance. Food intake has been strongly linked with obesity, not only related to the volume of food but also in terms of the composition and quality of diet.40 High intake of red meat, sweets and fried foods, contribute to the increased the risk of insulin resistance and T2DM.41 In contrast, an inverse correlation was observed between intake of vegetables and T2DM. Consumption of fruits and vegetables may protect the development of T2DM, as they are rich in nutrients, fiber and antioxidants which are considered as protective barrier against the diseases.42 Recently, in Japanese women, a report revealed that elevated intake of white rice was associated with an increased risk of T2DM.43 This demands an urgent need for changing lifestyle among general population and further increase the awareness of healthy diet patterns in all groups.