3 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
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Three new studies show that type 2 diabetes prevention doesn’t have to be complicated!
As you probably know, type two diabetes is the kind you get, while type one is the kind you're born with. But how you get it is a little more complicated. The mechanism is simple: As the Mayo Clinic puts it, type two diabetes “develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin.” But why or how this happens isn’t totally clear. We do know that genetics and lifestyle factors—such as being overweight—seem to play a role. And once a person develops diabetes there's no cure (though the disease can be managed with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise).
But three new studies being presented to the American Society of Nutrition suggest there are some simple ways that those who are prediabetic can reduce their risk, by simply switching up what—and, more curiously, how—they eat. Here are three ways to reduce your risk of developing diabetes, and the studies that support them:
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Eat More Plants
Plant-based diets have already been linked to lower risks of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and cognitive disease. Now, new research says it can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well. The study followed 2,717 young adults in the U.S. for over 20 years and found that those who consumed more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and vegetable oils had a 60% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than their counterparts who consumed less plant-based foods.
That list of foods may seem familiar. That's because the participants essentially followed a Mediterranean-style diet—though they ate a plant-forward diet, many still consumed meat and dairy. This is noteworthy, because it suggests you don’t have to be a full-on vegetarian or vegan to reap the benefits—you just have to eat more whole plant foods (#MeatlessMonday, anyone?)
Aim for More B2 and B6
B12 may get the health halo, but B2 and B6 may actually be more important for preventing type 2 diabetes. In fact, one study found that eating more B12 was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes!
Though total B12 intake wasn’t linked to a higher risk, odds rose 11% when researchers looked at just food-related B12, which they believe stems from eating more animal foods. On the other hand, researchers found those who ate more B2 and B6 had a 10% reduced type 2 diabetes risk.
So how do you get B2 and B6? B2, also called riboflavin, can be found in foods such as eggs, green veggies, low-fat dairy, and fortified grain products. Vitamin B6 can be found in foods such as chickpeas, fish, potatoes, fortified grains, and bananas.
Fill Up on Veggies First
You probably already know that what you eat matters, but a new study says when you eat it matters, too! Those who ate their vegetables before meat or rice had lower blood sugar levels and more positive changes in their hunger hormones. It may be a tiny change, but the study suggests preventing post-meal blood sugar spikes could actually help reduce your risk of transitioning from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes over time.
The Bottom Line
Eating a healthy diet full of plants and making simple tweaks at mealtime can help seriously reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. As always, talk to your doctor first before making any changes to your diet.
10 Foods to Eat Every Week to Help Control Diabetes
Living with diabetes no longer means adhering to a rigid food plan. In fact, today&aposs recommendation are highly individualized and flexible, with guidelines focusing on choosing a variety of nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy, lean protein, nuts, and healthy fats. And within these food groups, there are even a few specific foods that research suggests will not only keep you healthy, but may offer additional benefits when it comes to glucose management and diabetes-related health issues.
Check out these 10 foods that are worth adding to your weekly menus if you are living with diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association named blueberries a "superfood" — and for good reason. The tiny blue fruit delivers a hefty dose of antioxidants and fiber-rich carbohydrates that trigger a lower glycemic response than many other fruits. In addition, research suggests that making blueberries, strawberries, or other berries a regular part of your diet may improve insulin-resistance. This could potentially reduce the risk of becoming diabetic in those with pre-diabetes or a family history, and it could improve insulin-resistance and management in those already diagnosed.
High in fiber, black beans, navy beans, chickpeas, and other beans are good sources of both protein and slow-digesting carbohydrates. The combination offers short-term benefits by leaving your stomach full and preventing sudden glucose spikes, but also appears to have long-term benefits. A 2012 JAMA study had individuals incorporate one cup of beans or legumes a day as part of a low-glycemic diet for 12 weeks, while a control group ate other high-fiber carbohydrates as part of a low-glycemic diet. At the end of the study, those consuming beans had lower HgbA1c levels, lower blood pressure, and lower triglycerides.
3. Leafy Greens
Loading up on non-starchy vegetables is a good way to add more food to your plate without adding many calories or carbs. And leafy greens are some of the best low-carb veggies to add for those managing diabetes. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, lettuces, and other greens are packed full of beta-carotene and vitamin C, two antioxidants that are associated with reducing risk of heart disease and eye conditions, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. They&aposre also rich with magnesium, which is associated with reducing risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, a 2010 study found that individuals who consumed more leafy greens had a significantly reduced risk of developing diabetes.
4. Almonds and Walnuts
Need a quick snack? Grab a handful of almonds, walnuts, or other tree nuts. The combination of fiber, protein, and fat slows absorption of the small amount of carbs in nuts to prevent blood sugar spikes. Several studies have even associated regular nut consumption with lower fasting blood glucose levels, improved insulin resistance, and improved A1c levels. Concerned about the fat and calories? Keep portion size to around one ounce per day, but don&apost avoid them since research suggests regularly eating this portion is associated with lower body weights.
5. Greek Yogurt
There&aposs a lot we still don&apost know about gut health, but it&aposs clear that maintaining a diverse supply of good bacteria in the GI tract is a key component to staying healthy, even helping to manage diabetes. According to a 2017 study that compiled results from 12 research trials, incorporating probiotics on a regular basis was associated with lower HgbA1c levels and fasting blood glucose in those with type 2 diabetes. A 2014 study found inflammatory markers decreased as well with probiotics, which could potentially reduce complications from diabetes. And one of the best ways to get probiotics is eating yogurt with live bacteria cultures. Choose Greek yogurt for higher levels of protein, and "plain" to avoid added sugars. Then add fresh fruit or nuts for a little sweetness and crunch.
Juicy orange sections may seem too sweet to be beneficial, much less healthy, if trying to manage blood sugar levels. However, oranges are actually considered a low-glycemic food thanks to their soluble fiber content, making them a good fruit choice for those with type 2 diabetes. But this means it&aposs key to eat the fruit, rather than drink the juice. In addition, oranges and all other citrus fruits are good sources of the antioxidant vitamin C and folate, as well as potassium which helps to keep blood pressure in check.
Aim to eat in 8 to 12 ounces of fish each week, particularly cold-water ones that are higher in fat, such as salmon, trout, sardines, and mackerel. They are also good sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Most individuals don&apost get near the amount of omega-3s needed, and these fatty acids are play key roles when it comes to preventing heart disease. Omega-3s also work to reduce inflammation in the body, so incorporating them may help prevent or improve diabetic-inflammatory conditions like neuropathy in arms, legs, and extremities.
Oats are a whole grain that can keep you fueled the first half of the day, as well as help manage glucose levels and reduce heart disease risk. In 2015, researchers pooled the results from 16 studies examining the effect that oats had on various health measures specifically in those with type 2 diabetes. Their summary suggested that regularly eating oats was associated with significant reductions in HghA1c, total cholesterol, and LDL levels, as well as a slight decrease in body weight and decline in triglycerides. For greatest benefit, choose groats (oat grains with only the husk removed), oat bran, or steel-cut oats. Skip instant oats that are usually highly refined and lacking in fiber.
9. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Diabetes increases one&aposs risk for heart disease and stroke. This means replacing less saturated fats and trans fats (often found in higher-fat meats, animal products, and processed foods) with healthier unsaturated fat and oil sources is essential. Avocados, nuts, and many cooking oils such as olive, sesame, and canola contain primarily unsaturated fats. But extra-virgin olive oil may be one of the best. The reason is that it contains a compound called oleocanthal that has anti-inflammatory effects, and reducing inflammation is important for those with diabetes since it lowers risk of developing diabetes complications like neuropathy. All olive oils contain oleocanthal, but less refined types like extra-virgin have higher levels, so make that your go-to for salad dressings and when cooking at lower heats.
10. Meatless Mains
Consider swapping poultry or meat with plant-based proteins sources like beans and tofu a few times a week. Skinless chicken and lean meats fit within a healthy diet to manage diabetes, but research suggests swapping them out on occasion to reap the benefits that plant proteins offer. Eating more meatless meals is of interest to health professionals because vegetarians have a significantly reduced risk of developing diabetes. Potential benefits from plant proteins are thought to come from increased antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber, as well as improvements in gut health.
3 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
As you probably know, type two diabetes is the kind you get, while type one is the kind you’re born with. But how you get it is a little more complicated. The mechanism is simple: As the Mayo Clinic puts it, type two diabetes “develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin.” But why or how this happens isn’t totally clear.
We do know that genetics and lifestyle factors—such as being overweight—seem to play a role. And once a person develops diabetes there’s no cure (though the disease can be managed with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise).
But three new studies being presented to the American Society of Nutrition suggest there are some simple ways that those who are prediabetic can reduce their risk, by simply switching up what—and, more curiously, how—they eat. Here are three ways to reduce your risk of developing diabetes, and the studies that support them.
Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes
If type 2 diabetes were an infectious disease, passed from one person to another, public health officials would say we’re in the midst of an epidemic. This difficult disease is striking an ever-growing number of adults, and with the rising rates of childhood obesity, it has become more common in youth, especially among certain ethnic groups (learn more about diabetes, including the other types and risk factors).
The good news is that prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are largely preventable. About 9 in 10 cases in the U.S. can be avoided by making lifestyle changes. These same changes can also lower the chances of developing heart disease and some cancers. The key to prevention can be boiled down to five words: Stay lean and stay active.
What if I already have diabetes?
Simple steps to lowering your risk
Control your weight
Excess weight is the single most important cause of type 2 diabetes. Being overweight increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes seven-fold. Being obese makes you 20 to 40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight. 
Losing weight can help if your weight is above the healthy-weight range. Losing 7-10% of your current weight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half.
Get moving—and turn off the television
Inactivity promotes type 2 diabetes.  Working your muscles more often and making them work harder improves their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. This puts less stress on your insulin-making cells. So trade some of your sit-time for fit-time.
Long bouts of hot, sweaty exercise aren’t necessary to reap this benefit. Findings from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study suggest that walking briskly for a half hour every day reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30%. [3,4] More recently, The Black Women’s Health Study reported similar diabetes-prevention benefits for brisk walking of more than 5 hours per week.  This amount of exercise has a variety of other benefits as well. And even greater cardiovascular and other advantages can be attained by more, and more intense, exercise.
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% it also increases the risk of heart disease (15%) and early death (13%).  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.
Tune Up Your Diet
Four dietary changes can have a big impact on the risk of type 2 diabetes.
There is convincing evidence that diets rich in whole grains protect against diabetes, whereas diets rich in refined carbohydrates lead to increased risk . 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 2-3 servings of whole grains a day were 30% less likely to have developed type 2 diabetes than those who rarely ate whole grains.  When the researchers combined these results with those of several other large studies, they found that eating an extra two servings of whole grains a day decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21%.
Whole grains don’t contain a magical nutrient that fights diabetes and improves health. It’s the entire package—elements intact and working together—that’s important. The bran and fiber in whole grains make it more difficult for digestive enzymes to break down the starches into glucose. This leads to lower, slower increases in blood sugar and insulin, and a lower glycemic index. As a result, they stress the body’s insulin-making machinery less, and so may help prevent type 2 diabetes.  Whole grains are also rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that may help reduce the risk of diabetes.
In contrast, white bread, white rice, mashed potatoes, donuts, bagels, and many breakfast cereals have what’s called a high glycemic index and glycemic load. That means they cause sustained spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which in turn may lead to increased diabetes risk.  In China, for example, where white rice is a staple, the Shanghai Women’s Health Study found that women whose diets had the highest glycemic index had a 21% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared with women whose diets had the lowest glycemic index.  Similar findings were reported in the Black Women’s Health Study. 
More recent findings from the Nurses Health Studies I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study suggest that swapping whole grains for white rice could help lower diabetes risk: Researchers found that women and men who ate the most white rice—five or more servings a week—had a 17% higher risk of diabetes than those who ate white rice less than one time a month. People who ate the most brown rice—two or more servings a week—had an 11% lower risk of diabetes than those who rarely ate brown rice. Researchers estimate that swapping whole grains in place of even some white rice could lower diabetes risk by 36%. 
Like refined grains, sugary beverages have a high glycemic load, and drinking more of this sugary stuff is associated with increased risk of diabetes. In the Nurses’ Health Study II, women who drank one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day had an 83% higher risk of type 2 diabetes, compared with women who drank less than one sugar-sweetened beverage per month. 
Combining the Nurses’ Health Study results with those from seven other studies found a similar link between sugary beverage consumption and type 2 diabetes. For every additional 12-ounce serving of sugary beverage that people drank each day, their risk of type 2 diabetes rose 25%.  Studies also suggest that fruit drinks— powdered drinks, fortified fruit drinks, or juices—are not the healthy choice that food advertisements often portray them to be. Women in the Black Women’s Health study who drank two or more servings of fruit drinks a day had a 31% higher risk of type 2 diabetes, compared with women who drank less than one serving a month. 
How do sugary drinks lead to this increased risk? Weight gain may explain the link. In both the Nurses’ Health Study II and the Black Women’s Health Study, women who drank more sugary drinks gained more weight than women who cut back on sugary drinks. [13,15] Several studies show that children and adults who drink soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages are more likely to gain weight than those who don’t. [15-17] and that switching from these to water or unsweetened beverages can reduce weight.  Even so, weight gain caused by sugary drinks may not completely explain the increased diabetes risk. There is mounting evidence that sugary drinks contribute to chronic inflammation, high triglycerides, decreased “good” (HDL) cholesterol, and increased insulin resistance, all of which are risk factors for diabetes. 
What to drink in place of the sugary stuff? Water is an excellent choice. Coffee and tea are also good calorie-free substitutes for sugared beverages (as long as you don’t load them up with sugar and cream). And there’s convincing evidence that coffee may help protect against diabetes [20,21] emerging research suggests that tea may hold diabetes-prevention benefits as well, but more research is needed.
There’s been some controversy over whether artificially sweetened beverages are beneficial for weight control and, by extension, diabetes prevention.  Some studies have found that people who regularly drink diet beverages have a higher risk of diabetes than people who rarely drink such beverages, [23,24] but there could be another explanation for those findings. People often start drinking diet beverages because they have a weight problem or a family history of diabetes studies that don’t adequately account for these other factors may make it wrongly appear as though the diet soda led to the increased diabetes risk. A long-term analysis on data from 40,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study found that drinking one 12-ounce serving of diet soda a day did not appear to increase diabetes risk.  So, in moderation diet beverages can be a sugary-drink alternative for adults.
The types of fats in your diet can also affect the development of diabetes. Healthful fats, such as the polyunsaturated fats found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds can help ward off type 2 diabetes.  Trans fats do just the opposite. [1,27] These harmful fats were once found in many kinds of margarine, packaged baked goods, fried foods in most fast-food restaurants, and any product that listed “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” on the label. Eating polyunsaturated fats from fish—also known as “long chain omega 3” or “marine omega 3” fats—does not protect against diabetes, even though there is much evidence that these marine omega 3 fats help prevent heart disease.  If you already have diabetes, eating fish can help protect you against a heart attack or dying from heart disease. 
The evidence is growing stronger that eating red meat (beef, pork, lamb) and processed red meat (bacon, hot dogs, deli meats) increases the risk of diabetes, even among people who consume only small amounts. A meta-analysis combined findings from the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and six other long-term studies. The researchers looked at data from roughly 440,000 people, about 28,000 of whom developed diabetes during the course of the study.  They found that eating just one 3-ounce serving of red meat daily—say, a steak that’s about the size of a deck of cards—increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 20%. Eating even smaller amounts of processed red meat each day—just two slices of bacon, one hot dog, or the like—increased diabetes risk by 51%.
The good news from this study: Swapping out red meat or processed red meat for a healthier protein source, such as nuts, low-fat dairy, poultry, or fish, or for whole grains lowered diabetes risk by up to 35%. Not surprisingly, the greatest risk reductions came from ditching processed red meat.
How meat is cooked may matter too. A study of three large cohorts followed for 12-16 years—including more than 289,000 men and women from the Nurses’ Health Studies and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study—found that participants who most frequently ate meats and chicken cooked at high temperatures were 1.5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared with those who ate the least.  An increased risk of weight gain and developing obesity in the frequent users of high-temperature cooking methods may have contributed to the development of diabetes.
Why do these types of meat appear to boost diabetes risk? It may be that the high iron content of red meat diminishes insulin’s effectiveness or damages the cells that produce insulin. The high levels of sodium and nitrites (preservatives) in processed red meats may also be to blame. Red and processed meats are a hallmark of the unhealthful “Western” dietary pattern, which seems to trigger diabetes in people who are already at genetic risk. 
Furthermore, a related body of research has suggested that plant-based dietary patterns may help lower type 2 diabetes risk, and more specifically, those who adhere to predominantly healthy plant-based diets may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who follow these diets with lower adherence:
- A 2019 meta-analysis that included health data from 307,099 participants with 23,544 cases of type 2 diabetes examined adherence to an “overall” predominantly plant-based diet (which could include a mix of healthy plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes, but also less healthy plant-based foods such as potatoes, white flour, and sugar, and modest amounts of animal products). The researchers also looked at “healthful” plant-based diets, which were defined as those emphasizing healthy plant-based foods, with lower consumption of unhealthy plant-based foods. They found that people with the highest adherence to overall predominantly plant-based diets had a 23% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those with weaker adherence to the diets. The researchers also found that the association was strengthened for those who ate healthful plant-based diets 
Add type 2 diabetes to the long list of health problems linked with smoking. Smokers are roughly 50% more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have an even higher risk. 
Light to moderate alcohol consumption
Evidence has consistently linked moderate alcohol consumption with reduced risk of heart disease. The same may be true for type 2 diabetes. Moderate amounts of alcohol—up to a drink a day for women, up to two drinks a day for men—increases the efficiency of insulin at getting glucose inside cells. And some studies indicate that moderate alcohol consumption decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes. [1, 34-39], but excess alcohol intake actually increases the risk. If you already drink alcohol, the key is to keep your consumption in the moderate range, as higher amounts of alcohol could increase diabetes risk.  If you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no need to start—you can get the same benefits by losing weight, exercising more, and changing your eating patterns.
Beyond individual behavior
Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable by taking several simple steps: keeping weight under control, exercising more, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking. Yet it is clear that the burden of behavior change cannot fall entirely on individuals. Families, schools, worksites, healthcare providers, communities, media, the food industry, and government must work together to make healthy choices easy choices. For links to evidence-based guidelines, research reports, and other resources for action, visit our diabetes prevention toolkit.
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SO, WHAT FOODS INCREASE INSULIN PRODUCTION
All carbohydrates – to some degree at least – will raise your blood insulin levels. That is why I consider type 2 diabetes a form of “carbohydrate intolerance”. Protein can also raise levels but to a much lesser degree. The only macronutrient that keeps your insulin levels and, therefore, your blood sugar stable is FAT! Therefore, if you are trying to reduce insulin levels, you need to reduce your amount of certain carbohydrates and replace them instead with healthy, natural fats.
What does that mean in terms of actual FOOD CHOICES though?
When I say healthy, natural fat – think nuts and seeds, avocados, omega 3 fats (found in almonds, flax seed and cold water fish, like wild salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna), extra virgin olive oil and whole eggs.
And when I talk about reducing certain carbohydrates, I mainly mean reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and bread. Non starchy vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower) are fine and can be eaten in abundance. Many fruits are packed with carbohydrates, so if you’re trying to reduce your carb intake, try and limit your intake to low-carb fruit, such as rhubarb, watermelon, berries, peaches and blackberries.
It is really important to say that I do not believe that there is one perfect diet for everyone. Different people respond to different diets.
However, if you have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or if you have been told you are at high risk or if you have significant abdominal obesity, here are 11 ways to start reversing the effects immediately:
- Avoid ALL refined carbohydrates. That means no pasta, rice or bread (even wholegrain bread will spike your insulin)
- Avoid ALL added sugar. If your body is already in a state where you cannot process carbohydrates and sugars properly, you are going to have to take steps to fully eliminate all sugars, at least in the short term.
- Avoid ALL sweet drinks. It is best to stick to water, tea, coffee.
- Do not be scared of good quality, healthy, natural fat – avocados, olives, almonds etc. Don’t worry about this causing you to put on weight. A study published in 2003 showed that people who supplemented their diet with almonds lost more weight than those who supplemented with so-called “healthy, complex carbs”
- Do not waste your energy counting calories. Concentrate on the quality of the food that you are eating and the calorie control will take care of itself.
- FEED YOUR GUT BUGS, not just yourself. There are trillions of bugs that live in your gut – their health is critical in determining your health. Many studiesshow links between the state of your gut bugs (your microbiota) and type 2 diabetes. Start improving the health of your gut immediately by eating five servings of different coloured vegetables each day. The non digestible fibre in vegetables is the preferred food for your gut bacteria and when your gut bugs are happy, you will be happy. The wider the variety of colours, the more phytonutrients you will be getting. . This could be before breakfast, lunch or dinner – whatever works for you.
- If you like to snack, keep some high fat healthy snacks with you, such as olives, nuts or hummus. When you snack on refined carbohydrates such as biscuits, you go on a blood sugar rollercoaster that results in you feeling hungry shortly after. Fats, on the other hand, will keep you fuller for longer.
- Include high quality protein and fat with EVERY single meal. This helps to stabilise your blood sugars and promotes satiety and fullness, making it less likely that you will want to reach for dessert after your meal.
- Eat your meals sitting down at a table. Eating on the sofa while watching TV encourages a mindless form of eating – this can lead you to eat higher quantities than you otherwise would. If you sit at a table and concentrate on what you’re eating, you are more likely to enjoy your food, feel satisfied at the end of your meal and eat less.
- Consider a form of regular fasting (more to come in a later blog), such as intermittent fasting or time-restricted feeding (TRF). TRF means eating your calories during a specific window of the day, and choosing not to eat food for the rest. It’s a great way to reduce insulin levels in your body and help undo the effects of chronically elevated levels.
As always, I’m here to answer any questions, so please get in touch via Facebookand Twitter if you’d like to chat.
DISCLAIMER: The content in this blog is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog or on this website.
Eating well to beat diabetes
If you are overweight or have a large waist, Type 2 diabetes can be avoided or delayed by reducing your weight and waist size. Every kilogram lost is associated with a 16 percent reduction in diabetes risk.
Along with increased activity, a healthy diet will help you manage your weight. No single weight-loss plan has been proven to be more effective than any other, so a healthy, balanced diet is recommended. If you have already been diagnosed as prediabetic or have Type 2 diabetes, it is particularly important to control your weight. Being a healthy weight makes diabetes easier to manage and can delay the onset of some of the most unpleasant complications of the disease.
Mix finely chopped pine nuts into the bread crumbs before coating the cutlets for an extra boost of MUFAs. A large international study found people with type 2 diabetes who followed a Mediterranean-style diet enriched with MUFAs dropped fasting blood sugar levels by up to 30 points&mdashthat&rsquos enough to perhaps reduce doses of diabetes medications, or even eliminate them altogether. Make the bread crumbs whole wheat and you help protect your heart, too. See the Chicken Parmesan recipe!
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Monounsaturated fats are considered part of a healthy, balanced diet because of the protective effect they have on our hearts. These fats have been shown to lower our low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, an important marker for heart health. Monounsaturated fats are not required to be listed on the Nutrition Facts label, but for foods where they are a good source, they often are.
Sources of monounsaturated fat include:
- Canola oil
- Nuts like almonds, cashews, pecans and peanuts
- Olive oil and olives (look for low/reduced sodium)
- Peanut butter and peanut oil
- Safflower Oil
To include more monounsaturated fats in your diet, try to substitute olive or canola oil instead of butter, margarine or shortening when cooking. Sprinkling a few nuts on a salad, yogurt or cereal is an easy way to eat more monounsaturated fats. But be sure to be mindful of the portions you are eating—like all fats, these products are high in calories.
Keep Moving: Set a Fitness Goal for Healthier Movement
Get active. Our bodies are made to move, and we feel better when we do. That said, getting started can be a challenge. One thing is for sure&mdashyou won&rsquot stick with something that you don&rsquot like doing, and you shouldn&rsquot have to.
There are lots of ways to get moving for example, walking is a great physical activity, and just about anyone can do it. Just be sure to check with your doctor about which activities are best for you and if there are any you should avoid.
So, set a goal that works for you! And gradually work up to being active at a moderate intensity at least 150 minutes per week. One way to do this is to aim for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Moderate-intensity activities are those that make you breathe harder and make your heart beat faster, such as a brisk walk. Below is an example goal chart.