There's a terribly real chance you could develop diabetes or pre-diabetes at some point in your life. Despite this being an easy-to-prevent disease, your pancreas will throw up it's arms and surrender. You'll need medication. Your insurance will go up. You'll also be at an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, blindness and kidney failure. Not to mention, you could lose a toe or two.
Tips to Prevent Diabetes
First, the facts:
According to the CDC, 9.3% of the US population already has type 2 diabetes. Another 37% of the adult population (this doesn't include children) are pre-diabetic. Unless pre-diabetes is reversed, type 2 diabetes takes over within five years. Given that type 2 diabetes is on an aggressive upward swing and so many people are pre-diabetic, it's reasonable to say that close to half the population, or one in two people, will be affected.
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 (formerly juvenile diabetes) and type 2 (formerly adult-onset diabetes). About 95 percent of all cases are type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes was only common among adults until recent years. These days, children are affected at much earlier ages than even before.
Type 2 diabetes is entirely preventable and usually caused by diet and lifestyle.
Right around the time my parents were born in the 50's, fewer than 500,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with diabetes. Today that number is closer to 25,500,000!
Diet and Diabetes
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do RIGHT NOW to help prevent diabetes, or reverse some of the symptoms if you've already been diagnosed.
Changing your diet is the first step.
I'll cut to the chase and get right down to the foods you should eat less of AND the foods you should eat more of.
Eat Less Sugar
Don't stop reading because you know this already...of course you do! But you need to pump the breaks on the hidden sugars and artificial sweeteners, too.
First, know more about where the sugar is in the foods you're eating. Ideally, limit added sugar to 12 - 20 grams a day (or 4 - 5 teaspoons). If you can do that, you're almost home!
Obviously, soda, juice, high maintenance coffee drinks, sweet teas and the like are all bad for you and only contribute to diabetes. But added sugar is in a lot of healthy-sounding food, too.
Here's a short list of foods and the amount of sugar you might not know they contain:
- Cascadian Farms Organic Granola = about 4 teaspoons of sugar (per 3/4 cup serving)
- Maple and Brown Sugar Instant Oats = about 4 teaspoons of sugar (per container)
- CLIF Bars = about 5 teaspoons of sugar (per bar)
- Chocolate Milk = about 5 teaspoons of sugar (per cup)
- Vitamin Water = about 8 teaspoons of sugar (per bottle)
- Yoplait Original Fat Free Yogurt = about 8 teaspoons of sugar (per container)
- Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino = about 8 teaspoons of sugar (per bottle)
- Blueberry Muffins = about 9 teaspoons of sugar (per 5 ounce muffin)
Wow! The best thing you can do is read the nutrition facts and ingredients on every label. There are about 4 grams of sugar in every teaspoon. Don't forget to look at the servings per container. A bottle of soda you might buy at the checkout in a grocery store usually contains 2.5 servings. If you drink the whole bottle, you're overdosing on sugar.
Need help kicking your sugar addiction? Here's a tip sheet.
Eat Small Meals Consisting of High Quality Fat
High quality fats include:
- Avocado or Avocado Oil
- Nuts and Seeds
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil and Olives
- Flax (freshly ground) and Chia Seeds
- Plain Full Fat Yogurt or Cheese
Follow The Belly Burn Plan
I wrote this book after working with clients for years who struggled with their weight. You can order it on Amazon.
- A Full Meal Plans
- 65 Recipes
- Lots of info you can use!
Doctors recommend this and it's really a roadmap to better health.
Here is an actual review from a reader of my book.
Exercise and Diabetes
First and foremost, you don't need to run a marathon, train for a marathon or even run to prevent diabetes. Rigorous training that you don't want to do is NOT required.
But you do need to move...purposefully. When I say purposefully, I mean for the sake of moving, not to get from point A to point B. All you need to do is 30 minutes a day.
Truth be told, before I got healthier, it took everything out of my just to get to the gym. In fact, there would be some days I'd go to the gym, change my clothes and get to a group exercise class only to walk right out of the room and go home. I get that some people don't like to exercise.
But I can also tell you that with enough faith in your body and trust in how beneficial exercise is, it will become habitual.
Today, I can't imagine going more than a couple days without some activity that makes me sweat...a lot. I love working out.
Exercise is like medicine by helping to:
- maintain a healthy weight
- regulate insulin levels
- decrease high blood pressure
- improve bad cholesterol levels
- reduce stress and anxiety
Here are a few ways to get more activity in your life.
- Go for a long walk.
- Jog/walk for 30 minutes.
- Park at the far end of the parking lot at the grocery store.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Get up from your desk and move every hour.
Looking for a good workout? Here are 11 (including a downloadable PDF).
Sleep and Diabetes
I'm a mom. I have three kids - the youngest of whom took 22 months to sleep through the night. I know sleep is a hot commodity and not always the easiest to get, but don't burn the midnight oil when you don't need to. Think of sleep as food!
- Sleep regulates our metabolism
- People who sleep less are more likely to deal with unsteady blood sugar levels the next day
- During sleep, our body releases lots of human growth hormone, which helps our body develop muscle and burn fat
- People who sleep better are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
You can, in fact, sleep your way to a leaner body!
Another tip! Buy The Belly Burn Plan. Yes, I wrote the book, but the results I've seen in the people who have been dealing with belly fat is pretty incredible. The book combines a 6 week meal plan with a workout schedule and offers lots of very doable lifestyle tips. Join my group on Facebook for extra motivation.
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on them and make a purchase, I may make a small commission. Thank you in advance!