Best Foods to Lower Prediabetes Risk: November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Best Foods to Lower Prediabetes Risk: November is Diabetes Awareness Month

by | Nov 7, 2021 | Blog, Home Blogs | 0 comments

“This is a somber subject, Annie,” said Cassie as she looked up from her podcast notes with concern in her voice. “The more research I did to prepare for this topic, the more alarmed I am at the statistics. According to the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, more than 10% of the US population, over 34 million people, have Diabetes. Let’s start with you explaining Diabetes.”

“Sure, to quote, a Healthline article:

“Diabetes is a group of diseases in which the body can’t produce enough or any insulin, doesn’t properly use the insulin that is produced, or exhibits a combination of both. When any of these things happens, the body is unable to get sugar from the blood into the cells. That leads to high blood sugar levels. Glucose, the form of sugar found in your blood, is one of your main energy sources. A lack of insulin or resistance to insulin causes sugar to build up in your blood. This can lead to many health problems.”

 It is an unfortunate fact millions are suffering from this disease.” said Annie. “As I say this, it’s also important to know an estimated 80,000 children a year in the US are diagnosed with Diabetes 1, or what used to be called Juvenile Diabetes; however, now it is recognized this type of Diabetes can start at any age. What makes Diabetes 1 different from 2 is although its root cause is unknown – not lifestyle choices, rather genetics and environmental factors play a significant role in its development.”

“Okay, so there’s more than one type of Diabetes. You’ve described Diabetes 1 which appears to be early onset because it shows up in children primarily. Please describe Diabetes 2 and Gestational Diabetes.”

Annie leaned into the microphone, “While there is no cure for either Diabetes 1 or 2, the latter can be put in remission. Diabetes 2 can also have a genetic component like Diabetes 1, but it is known as “Lifestyle” diabetes because it can be managed by losing weight, not smoking, and exercising 30 minutes or more a day. Healthy food choices especially contribute to mitigating the effects of Diabetes 2. The third type is Gestational Diabetes, which also has an unknown etiology, although research points at hormones as playing a likely role in its development. It can develop during pregnancy in women who do not have Diabetes.”

Annie paused, “there is a category called Prediabetes. It is a condition whereby glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called Diabetes. A diagnosis of Prediabetes says you are on your way to developing Diabetes 2.”

“Sounds like it’s a warning from your body of what’s to come,” said Cassie. “What can one do with this diagnosis to avoid Diabetes 2?”

Annie nodded, “you’re correct; Prediabetes is an alarm system and should be treated as such. Most nutritionists and registered dieticians say Diabetes 2 is not inevitable, and with the right lifestyle choices, it can be avoided completely. In the words of Julia Zumpano, RD, LD,

“The goal is to reduce your carbohydrate intake

by choosing more complex carbs and exercising to burn them off,”

Zumpano recommends a good Prediabetes diet that includes whole grains and pasta. She says to focus on the first ingredient, ‘whole’ and at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. I am a fan of black, brown, and wild rice. Other great grains and starches include quinoa, farro, barley, buckwheat, and my personal favorite sweet potatoes. Your protein source can consist of eggs, tofu, cottage cheese, legumes, lean meat, fish, and nuts. Dark green leafy veggies like kale, spinach, broccoli, and fruits like berries, grapefruit, tangerines, plums, and peaches are high in fiber which the body slowly digests, helping stabilize your blood sugar levels. When you combine a handful of almonds with a high-fiber and water-dense fruit like watermelon, the rate of carbs entering your bloodstream slows, also contributing to steadier blood sugar levels, and which helps you feel full longer.”

Cassie sat back, “so really the key to managing a Prediabetes diagnosis is to collaborate with your doctor and a nutritionist to develop the right lifestyle plan in order to avoid Diabetes 2?”

“Yes,” said Annie. “Also, there are several medical websites with the latest information on managing Prediabetes and the latest research. I recommend Diabetes Self Caring, it has a list of the 15 Best Diabetes Websites for Self-Care Information.”

Cassie closed out the podcast, “that was a great show today, Annie. Thanks so much. I’m wondering if you’d like to go for a walk and discuss this topic more. There’s so much more to know about Diabetes and perhaps another podcast is in order.”

“Sure,” said Annie as she handed Carrie a green apple, “let’s walk and snack.”

 

Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.

 

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