Pre-diabetes Diagnosis? Here Is What You Can Do:

Over 1 in 3 people have pre-diabetes. Unfortunately not all people are diagnosed at the pre diabetes stage.

But if you or someone close to you is diagnosed with prediabetes, it can be difficult to get ones head around such a diagnosis. Prediabetes is a “pre-diagnosis” of type 2 diabetes. Once getting over the initial shock, hopefully, one will take it as a pressing warning sign and start to consider how they can change their lifestyle to better their health. Here are a few lifestyle changes that can prevent pre-diabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes or even reverse this diagnosis entirely with time and persistence to new, healthy lifestyle habits.

Adopt a Diet Low in Simple Carbohydrates

Not all carbs are equal. And if you are aware of the low card diet fad, yes it is a fad, because carbohydrates are essential to human life, you may think that removing all carbohydrates may be the solution. It is most definitely NOT. In fact, according to my research into the ideal diet for humans, carbohydrates were the distinguishing factor that allowed humans to become the most developed species on earth.

So, which carbohydrate should we consume and which should be avoided? Whole grains and root vegetables are the carbohydrates you want to focus upon. Fruits can and should also be consumes although not instead of meals, but rather as snacks between meals helping blood sugar levels remain steady. Fruits should only be consumed in their whole version. Fruits or vegetables should not be consumed as smoothies or juices, because their sugars will form fat in liver cells leading to insulin resistance and lead you further on the path towards diabetes.

The only carbohydrates you really want to avoid are the simple carbohydrates. The processed versions of grains, as well as plain sugar, including natural sugars like sugar cane, agave and maple syrup which lack sufficient fiber to be digested slowly.

These produce spikes in blood sugar levels and eventually cause insulin resistance. This is why we need to be especially careful to consume limited servings of these simple carbohydrates.

Limit Intake of Alcohol and Sodium

Pure alcohol provides 7 calories per gram, that’s almost double the calorie content of protein and 3 kcal more per gram than carbohydrates. Some beverages also contain non-alcohol based calories such as from different sodas used in the mixtures. Other than calories, alcoholic beverages provide no essential nutrients and certainly no fiber, and the calories from alcohol are not converted into glycogen, a storage of carbohydrates as an energy reserve, so basically alcohol offers no nutrition but has a hefty calorie load leading to weight gain, a risk factor for diabetes.

Furthermore, due to alcohols toxicity, the liver is the chief organ responsible for the breakdown of alcohol. The liver actually breaks down alcohol before it breaks down carbohydrates and fats leading to drops in blood sugar levels and slowing down the burning of fats, leading to weight gain.

Alcohol also increases triglyceride levels signaling insulin resistance, taking you one step closer to type 2 diabetes.

It is recommended not to have more than one alcoholic beverage per day for those who are diagnosed with pre-diabetes.[1]  I personally recommend avoiding alcohol altogether through mind techniques that will help you to overcome strong uncontrolled negative emotions.

Sodium is another no-no. Under 2,300 milligrams of sodium is what is recommended for people with diabetes. High sodium intake links to high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke which are both common in diabetic complications.

Remove Unhealthy Fats And Incorporating Healthy Fats Into Your Diet

In a study fried-food consumption and risk of developing type 2 diabetes was examined and the results were clear: Through the processes of oxidation, polymerization, and hydrogenation, frying food modifies it and significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. [2]

The faster your body digests food, the quicker and steeper your blood sugar levels rise to lead to the production of high levels of insulin, setting up a cycle of drops and spikes in blood sugar levels which can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. Food that slows digestion, including healthy fats, are helpful in preventing pre-diabetes from becoming diabetes.

Healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, olives and foods that contain Omega 3 fatty acids like walnuts, chia and flax seeds are great to consume as part of a healthy diet.

High consumption levels of saturated fat and trans fat found in animal products are also risk factors for diabetes. A review [3] indicates meat consumption as a significant risk factor for diabetes. The researchers found that meat consumption is consistently associated with diabetes risk. 

Be More Active

Getting out and taking a walk, moving your body and increasing your body energy needs is one of the most restorative activities you can do to support your health. Walking from 20-30 minutes increases your blood flow, improving your circulation, provides oxygen to your muscles and organs and balances hormone levels. It wakes up your body and gets it ready to eliminate toxins through sweat, it uses fat stores and is crucial for clearing arteries from obstruction due to previous unhealthy lifestyle habits. [4]

Reduce Stress

Energy mobilization comes as a result of the fight or flight response from stress. Stress stimulates the release of stress hormones, which lead to raised blood sugar levels. Chronic stress is an inherent contributor to chronic high blood sugar levels and has been confirmed to have a significant impact on metabolic activity and to be a risk factor for diabetes.

In pre-diabetes, as a result of the low levels of insulin, stress-induced increases in blood sugar levels cannot be metabolized properly. Moreover, the management of these stress hormones is usually abnormal in pre-diabetes. [5]

A large body of animal studies supports the understanding that stress reliably produces hyperglycemia. 

To conclude:

There are many beneficial behavioral changes that can be done to prevent pre diabetes from developing into type 2 diabetes. Dietary habits are modifiable with a little will and help, but individuals will only consider dietary changes if they are well aware of the potential benefits of doing so. I hope this article has shed light on these benefits.

Feel free to comment below and let me know what you liked best about this article.

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Thank You, 🙂

Galit Goldfarb

  1. Cullmann M, Hilding A, Östenson CG. Alcohol consumption and risk of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes development in a Swedish population. Diabet. Med. 29, 441–452 (2012).
  2. Cahill LE, Pan A, Chiuve SE, et al. Fried-food consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease: a prospective study in 2 cohorts of US women and men. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2014;100(2):667-675. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.084129.
  3. Neal Barnard, Susan Levin, Caroline Trapp. Meat Consumption as a Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrients. 2014 Feb; 6(2): 897–910. doi:  10.3390/nu6020897 
  4. Imamura F, Micha R, Wu JHY, de Oliveira Otto MC, Otite FO, Abioye AI, et al. (2016) Effects of Saturated Fat, Polyunsaturated Fat, Monounsaturated Fat, and Carbohydrate on Glucose-Insulin Homeostasis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Feeding Trials. PLoS Med ;13(7):e1002087. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002087. 
  5. Surwit RS, Schneider MS, Feinglos MN. Stress and Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Care Oct 1992, 15 (10) 1413-1422; DOI: 10.2337/diacare.15.10.1413

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