So, you’ve been diagnosed with ‘prediabetes’. Shocking isn’t it? It need not be so, considering you have a fair warning before the alarm bells ring. But, are you taking this wake-up call from your body seriously? Then you’ve got to implement few changes in your food habits and adopt the prediabetes diet plan. Read on and find out what they are.
Sugar Does Not Cause Diabetes:
It is a popular misconception that sugar directly translates to diabetes. Eating sugar does not cause diabetes. On the contrary, diabetes is a result of genetics, poor food choices, sedentary lifestyle, lowered metabolism and obesity. Truth is no more bitter, and has turned out sweet. Then, what tilts the balance?
High Blood Sugar – The Culprit:
The consequence of bad food habits is elevated glucose levels in the blood. Over time, high blood sugar creates an environment of insulin resistance in the body. This is a precursor for type II diabetes, where the body is unable to use its insulin reserves to control fluctuating levels of blood sugar.
Millions around the world are not aware they have prediabetes (1). Knowing you have the condition allows swift intervention to prevent diabetes. Prediabetes is a presence of abnormally higher levels of blood glucose, although not high enough to qualify as diabetic. Not all people diagnosed as prediabetes develop type II diabetes later in life. However, without intervention, these individuals would likely become diabetic in a decade or less. Nevertheless, prediabetes itself is risky and can cause heart diseases.
When Does It Become Diabetes?
Despite the risks, diabetes and heart diseases are not inevitable if you play your cards right. There are certain red flags that you need to be aware of (2).
- Being older than 45
- BMI over 25
- Genetically predisposed
- Triglyceride level more than 250mg/dl and HDL cholesterol below 35mg/dl
- High blood pressure
- Have PCOS
If you have checked off too many points on the list and also experience fatigue, increased thirst, frequent urges to urinate and blurred vision, it is not a good sign. Contact your doctor and request for a blood glucose screening (3).
It’s Not Too Late:
Prediabetes is your body’s call for a serious change in lifestyle habits. Firstly, losing weight is said to decrease the risk of developing diabetes. Shedding 5% to 10% of your body weight by spending just 30 minutes a day to exercise reduces the risk considerably. It brings down blood glucose levels, reversing insulin resistance (4). Your waist size is a good measure of the amount of changes ahead. Men and women with waists more than 40 and 35 inches respectively, indicate a tendency towards insulin resistance.
Hence, prediabetes individuals are first advised to lose weight and eat a balanced diet. Therein lies the silver lining to this disturbing diagnosis. You not only slow down disease progression, preventing diabetes, you also benefit immensely from eating smart.
Now, let us see the pre diabetes diet plan.
What Foods To Eat:
A person diagnosed with prediabetes would benefit from making certain subtle changes in their diet selections. A balanced diet improves overall health, not just for prediabetes, but for anyone (5). This includes 3 portions of vegetables and fruits, starchy items like bread and rice, protein sources like dairy and fish and few sugary, fatty foods. Ideally pre diabetic diet plan should be as follows:
- Replace processed items with whole grain based foods.
- Three servings of whole grains a day cut diabetes risk by a third.
- Whole grain foods include brown rice, whole grain bread, slow cooked or steel-cut oats and whole grain pasta.
- Do not prefer instant or ready-to-cook meals.
- Select less starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and carrots.
- Include beans and corn in your diet.
- Potatoes are classified as high glycemic index (GI) foods, meaning the carbohydrates are digested too quickly (6).
- People with prediabetes need carbohydrates that digest slowly, keeping blood sugar stable.
- Sweet potato has a low GI.
- Fruits should be consumed in moderation.
- Always choose fresh fruit such as apples, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, plums, kiwis and grapefruit.
[ Read: Ideal Diabetes Meal Plan ]
Dietary Tricks To Follow:
- Limit the portion size you eat from 2 cups of rice to 1/3 cup (7).
- Eat nuts, while restricting fatty items to reduced fat milk and cheese.
- Choose high-protein foods such as eggs and chicken.
- Prefer leaner cuts without skin along with small servings. Reduce the consumption of high-salt and high-fat processed selections like hotdogs.
- Have fish 3 times every week to control heart problems.
- Importantly, broil, bake, grill or sauté meat and fish products rather than fry them.
- Select a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet and mix them up. The more colorful the menu, the better.
- Eat 3 meals a day, each meal comprising at least one selection from each food group.
- Eat your fruits, do not drink them. You need the fiber to balance blood sugar.
- Similarly, avoid sugary beverages like sodas and sweetened juices. Drinking sugar mostly gives you empty calories.
- Get healthy fats from vegetable oils, olive oil, seeds, nuts and avocado.
- Stay hydrated with a lot of water as it can help control blood sugar.
- Keep alcohol to a minimum. Women are advised to have less than 2 glasses a day.
- Drink your coffee without the creamy, sugary add-ons.
- Try to stay away from baked food stuff and potato chips. If that is not possible, limit its portion sizes as much as possible, while choosing peanut butter or low-fat yogurt as snack options.
It is important to obtain a high percentage of nutrition from a limited number of calories. This is what a pre diabetes diet plan does. It helps you become healthier.
A healthy you has many other benefits other than just preventing diabetes. You feel better, look better and socialize more. Meanwhile, your body is fighting off infections, your organs are functioning optimally, and you’re finishing tasks effortlessly. The rewards are certainly big. The best part is, the diet for prediabetes can be implemented anywhere you go.
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