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."
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and physical inactivity. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes also increases as people grow older. People who are over 40 and overweight are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, although the incidence of this type of diabetes in adolescents is growing. Diabetes is more common among Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders. Also, people who develop diabetes while pregnant (a condition called gestational diabetes) are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Choose carbs wisely: The glycemic index (GI) is a value assigned to foods based on how quickly or slowly they spike your blood sugar levels. For someone with diabetes, high GI foods (like refined sugar or other simple carbohydrates like white rice and bread) can cause blood glucose levels to shoot up rapidly. Make sure that your carbs are high-fiber, whole grains – like legumes, brown rice, or quinoa – as these foods are high in nutrients and break down slowly into the bloodstream.
The attempts to adhere to the conventional food measurements in order to comply with prescriptions of the so-called ‘diabetic diet’ usually result in unnecessary restrictions, overindulgence, or monotonous consumption of certain food items, e.g., unripe plantain/beans. This is a consequence of illiteracy, poverty, and cultural misconceptions about the role of diet in the management of diabetes. This is usually the most problematic aspect of diabetes care. The usually recommended daily energy intake for the non-obese diabetic patient is between 1500 and 2500 calories per day, the average allowance being 2000 k calories per day. The recommendation for the overweight diabetic patient is between 800 and 1500 k calories per day, while the underweight (including growing children and adolescents) should be allowed at least 2500 k calories/day.[16,17]
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.
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.
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.
Although sugar does not cause the blood sugar to rise any higher than other carbohydrates, it should be eaten along with other healthy foods. If you choose to drink a 12-ounce can of a sugar-sweetened soft drink, that would use up about 45 grams of carba, and you wouldn't have gotten any nutrition (protein, vitamins, or minerals). What a waste of calories!
#1. LEGUMES—Diets rich in legumes—soybeans, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans—are good for your blood sugar levels both short-term and long-term. The secret? "Resistant starches," which resist digestion in the small intestine and go straight to the colon, feeding the bacteria in your gut and in the process improve your body's response to insulin. (These resistant starches are also in green bananas, uncooked oats, and potatoes that have been cooked and cooled. Rejoice, potato salad lovers who can control their portions.)