If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes it’s a wake up call indicating a change in lifestyle is in order. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every three American adults has prediabetes; that’s 86 million people! Without any intervention, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will go on to develop Type 2 Diabetes within five years. Those are huge numbers that cause an economic and health burden on the country, a company, a household and simply on an individual level.
The National Diabetes Prevention Program demonstrated that an intensive lifestyle intervention aimed at achieving 7% weight loss and increasing activity to 150 minutes per week can reduce incidence of type 2 diabetes by 58% over three years. As a dietitian having worked first hand with pre-diabetic and diabetic patients I have closely observed the more dedicated the person is to lose weight and eat healthy and exercise, higher the chances are of completely reversing pre-diabetes!
Excess body weight is a recognized risk factor for diabetes and weight loss is an important way to lower risk. Latest research suggests that diabetes risk as well as heart disease and stroke is largely influenced by not one single nutrients but by specific foods and overall diets patterns. Hence the importance of following a healthy well-balanced diet. Numerous research time and again has proven that following a healthy diet to lose weight coupled with moderate levels of exercise has proven more effective to reduce blood sugar levels for pre-diabetics than metformin (diabetic medication).
In this day and age where there is abundance of food, busy lifestyles, stressful work and home situations, people often tend to think popping pills is an easier way to deal with health issues little realizing it’s not the solution but just a temporary solution that will only make the problem worse unless the whole lifestyle is corrected.
Poor diet quality may influence weight and metabolic risk independent of calories and choosing healthy, nutritious and wholesome foods can lower diabetes risk without changing caloric intake! That is great news for people who do not have access to dietitians and cannot attain specific diet plans. So changing one’s lifestyle might involve some hard work – eating healthy, exercising more and losing weight but the good news is when those blood test reports come back with improved numbers, you can be rest assured that eating healthy not only makes you look and feel great it actually improves your health and increases your lifespan too!
So the bottom line is LOSE WEIGHT, EXERCISE MORE and BEAT/DELAY DIABETES!
Here are some tips to remember for those with pre-diabetes wanting to eat healthy:
- Use apps to see calculate current total calorie intake and reduce it by a total of 250-500 calories (through diet and exercise) for those looking for weight loss.
- Quantity is more important than quality when it comes to cereals. Add in whole grains with intact bran and restrict/avoid processed foods, white flour and sugars which cause blood sugar spikes.
- Make sure you add healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, nuts and oily fish in moderate foods to ensure satiety and weight loss.
- Choose healthy sources of protein like lean chicken, egg, fish,dairy and beans over red meat.
- Add in a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to ensure enough fiber and antioxidants in the diet.
- Cinnamon helps in maintaining blood sugars because of its active ingredient cinemaldehyde and prevents sugar cravings.
- Check with your doctor before you begin any physical exercises. Start at a slow pace and increase it gradually to condition your heart to exercise.
- Aim to get a minimum of 150 minutes of of moderate exercises per week and 75 minutes of HIIT exercises to maintain weight and 250 minutes of moderate exercise to lose weight.
- Meet with a Dietitian / Nutritionist to get a detailed diet plan and suggestion specifically tailored to meet your body’s needs.
Remember Eat Healthy, and your body will Stay Healthy!