There is convincing evidence that diets rich in whole grains protect against diabetes, whereas diets rich in refined carbohydrates lead to increased risk (53). In the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II, for example, researchers looked at the whole grain consumption of more than 160,000 women whose health and dietary habits were followed for up to 18 years. Women who averaged two to three servings of whole grains a day were 30 percent less likely to have developed type 2 diabetes than those who rarely ate whole grains. (21) When the researchers combined these results with those of several other large studies, they found that eating an extra 2 servings of whole grains a day decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.
Globally, T2DM is at present one of the most common diseases and its levels are progressively on the rise. It has been evaluated that around 366 million people worldwide or 8.3% in the age group of 20-79 years had T2DM in 2011. This figure is expected to rise to 552 million (9.9%) by 2030.10 This disease is associated with severe complications which affect patient’s health, productivity, and quality of life. More than 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (primarily heart disease and stroke) and is a sole cause of end stage renal disease which requires either dialysis or kidney transplantation. It is also a major cause of blindness due to retinal damage in adult age group referred to as diabetic retinopathy (DR). People with T2DM have an increased risk of lower limb amputation that may be 25 times greater than those without the disease. This disease caused around 4.6 million deaths in the age-group of 20-79 years in 2011.11
While there is still no cure for diabetes, there is good news; the progression from prediabetes to diabetes is not inevitable. The National Institutes of Health clinical trial, the Diabetes Prevention Program, found that for people with prediabetes modest lifestyle changes led to weight loss of 5 to 7 percent in participants and can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 58% in individuals at high risk.
Eat a Source of Protein with Breakfast: As the first meal of the day, breakfast can set the tone for your body’s blood sugar balance and overall mindset on eating well (which, of course is also affected by a steady blood sugar!). Many typical breakfast foods tend to be rich in carbohydrates (fruit, cereal, oatmeal, toast, etc.) which may lead to spikes in blood sugar if eaten in large quantities alone.Add in sources of protein, fiber and/or healthy fats to create a blood-sugar steadying breakfast: pair fruit with yogurt or cottage cheese, oatmeal with a spoonful of peanut or almond butter, or a slice or two of whole grain toast with a couple of eggs or hummus.
In this country, we tend to over- do it on those. Most people do not enjoy measuring their foods or counting carbs. My favorite way to estimate portion sizes is to use the “Create Your Plate” method created by the America Diabetes Association. Simply use a disposable plate divided into three sections (one half-plate section and two quarter plate sections). The large, half plate section should be used for non-starchy vegetables, things like carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower. Place your lean meat or protein in one quarter-plate section, and your carbohydrate in the other quarter-plate section. You can practice designing your meal using this method on their website: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/create-your-plate/
Imagine that you hide your kitchen garbage under the rug instead throwing it outside in the trash. You can’t see it, so you can pretend your house is clean. When there’s no more room underneath the rug, you throw the garbage into your bedroom, and bathroom, too. Anywhere where you don’t have to see it. Eventually, it begins to smell. Really, really bad.
Getting to—and staying at—a healthy weight: Being overweight (BMI greater than 25 kg/m2) increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, so if you’re overweight, you should take steps to lose weight. By losing 5% to 10% of your body weight, you can reduce your risk. You can do this by eating smaller portions and being more physically active, which, conveniently enough, are two other ways to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Eat 5 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Focus on non-starchy vegetables especially those that don’t impact the blood sugar as much as starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables include foods like asparagus, green beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, greens, and spinach. Non-starchy vegetables include foods like corn, potatoes, peas, lima beans, and black-eyed peas
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.