Diabetes today is considered a preventative “lifestyle disease.” This means that there are various lifestyle choices we have control of that can contribute to preventing or causing progression of diabetes. When it comes to diabetes,prevention is a big deal- especially if you are at high risk of developing due to being overweight or have a family history. Once someone is diagnosed with diabetes there is no cure, only lifetime management. Poor diet, overweight/ obesity, and sedentary lifestyle have all been linked with developing diabetes.
There are very few differences between the diet recommendations associated with prevention and management of diabetes. In fact the 5 tips below can be applied to those looking to do either. Managing and preventing diabetes should always be done under supervision of a medical doctor. The tips below are changes you can start to make now- the sooner the better!
- Increase activity
Increasing activity to about 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes intense exercise each week will help you manage a healthy weight, lower blood pressure and increase insulin sensitivity, all factors helping to prevent and manage diabetes.
- Lose Weight
If you are overweight or obese, losing weight is one of the most impactful things you can do to help prevent and manage diabetes. Recent studies reflects even modest weight loss (about 5-7% body weight) can reduce risk by 40-60%! The same modest weight will help those with diabetes lower their blood sugar significantly.
- Well balanced diet
Your glucose levels respond to the foods you eat. Glucose spikes are more dramatic when you consume sugar, refined carbs, starchy and processed foods. Your body breaks down and absorbs these foods quickly into the blood system quickly resulting a high glucose spike. This causes extra strain on your body, primarily the pancreas, to release insulin and bring glucose levels back to normal. Foods naturally higher in fiber, protein and healthy fats will help regulate this response. Incorporate a balanced variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like oils, avocado, nuts and seeds and lean proteins like fish, turkey, chicken, eggs, beans, tofu, and soy.
- Portion control
We all have the occasional sugary treat or pasta dinner. Rather than avoiding these items all together make them occasional and be realistic in your portion sizes. This is important for all your food choices healthy or not! Make sure you have a good grasp on what the proper portion size looks like by using measuring utensils. Managing proper portions can help you lose any excess weight as well! Even too much of the good stuff can prevent weight loss.
- Limit alcohol
If you drink alcohol make sure you’re limiting yourself to 1-2 drinks a day. Drinking heavily even if occasionally can reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin, cause damage to the pancreas and cause weight gain; all factors that may lead to developing diabetes.
from Selvera Wellness Dietitian, Amanda Foti