The Ideal Diet for People with Prediabetes | Diabetes Health Page

The Ideal Diet for People with Prediabetes

By KrisTina | Articles

Aug 04

If one is diagnosed with prediabetes, panic may be a natural reaction since this means they could also develop type II diabetes within the course of the next 10 years.

Also, prediabetes can be a precursor to developing cardiovascular disease. Still, having prediabetes doesn’t mean 100% that one will also develop diabetes.

The best way is to act in time and prevent any further complications which can lead to this disease. Your best option would be to get the blood sugar levels out of the prediabetes range.

And the safest and most natural way to do that is to adopt a healthy diet. In other words, it’s all about the types of food you eat.

Some Further Information

When it comes to which factors may play a role in one becoming prediabetic, they can be various. For instance, your genes can be one of those factors, particularly if diabetes tends to run in your family.

Other potential risk factors are a sedentary lifestyle and too much body fat aka being overweight or obese.

You see, with prediabetes, any sugar you consume slowly but surely starts building up in your bloodstream, since insulin finds it practically impossible to move it into your cells.

Now, make no mistake. Consuming carbs won’t lead to prediabetes.  So, naturally, avoiding such blood sugar spikes would be ideal. The thing is, with prediabetics, after each meal their body struggles to lower the blood sugar levels.

Moreover, if you eat more calories than you really need, then they are stored as fat. Which naturally leads to weight gain.

And the truth of the matter is: body fat, particularly around one’s belly, is most often connected to insulin resistance. Which would explain why a large number of those with prediabetes also happen to be overweight.

The conclusion here is that one cannot hope to control all risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes, but those which can be controlled, like choosing to eat healthier, should be done in order to lower the risks as much as possible.

How Does GI Relate to This?

The GI (or glycemic index) is something which one can use to see how much impact a specific type of food has on their blood sugar.

Foods which rank high on the GI, such as refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, sodas, and juices) should best be avoided for those with prediabetes.

Foods which rank medium on this scale, such as, say, brown rice and whole wheat bread, are ok, but it’s still best to eat those which rank low on the glycemic index scale. Such foods include:

  • Oats of the steel-cut variety, instead of instant meal
  • Whole wheat bread (best stone-ground)
  • Carrots and other non-starchy veggies
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pasta (whole-wheat is best)
  • Beans
  • Corn

And since the label on the packaging doesn’t reveal the GI, look for the fiber content instead. It will help you determine the GI.

Another helpful tip we can offer you is to eat a mixed meal.

Meaning, if you plan on eating white rice, the least you can do is mix it with some chicken and vegetables so that it digests much slower and doesn’t cause you any blood sugar spikes.

Control Your Portions

This is another thing you can do to minimize your chances of prediabetes or diabetes. The problem is, here in the U.S. most portions are larger than the intended serving size.

A good example is that while the intended serving size is half a bagel, most eat the whole thing in one go. You can also watch out for how many calories you consume on a daily basis, making sure you don’t overdo it. Here is where the labels come in handy.

Another method is to take your time and savor your meals, instead of binging and suffering from stomach aches afterward. Eating fast will also keep you from becoming aware when you are full, making you overeat most of the time.

Also, some people have unhealthy cravings even though they are not really hungry. These can stem from boredom, anxiety, depression and many other factors. So, learn to listen to your body and eat only when you are truly feeling hunger.

Consume More Fiber

Fiber is full of benefits. For one thing, it makes you feel more satiated and content for longer periods, reducing any cravings. Fiber is also great for preventing the infamous ‘crash’ which occurs after eating foods high in sugar.

Here are a few examples of foods abundant in fiber:

  • Legumes and beans
  • Veggies and fruits which have an edible peel
  • Whole grain bread
  • Other whole grains such as barley or quinoa
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole grain cereal

Also, if feeling thirsty, never reach for sodas and sugary drinks. They are nothing but empty calories and are bound to spike your sugar levels. Water or tea are the best options for quenching one’s thirst.

Limit Your Alcohol and Drink Plenty of Water

Even if one is not prediabetic, moderation when it comes to alcoholic beverages should be a golden rule in everyone’s book. Did you know that a large number of alcohol drinks have a dehydrating effect on your body?

Also, most cocktails have too much sugar which, you guessed it, can lead to your glucose levels spiking. The American Diabetes Association recommends no more than one alcoholic drink for women and no more than two for men.

Additionally, one would be wise to keep those drinks simple. That means not to add any liquors or sugary juices. It’s also recommended to keep a glass of water near you and sip on it from time to time. This lowers your chances of dehydration.

And while we’re on the subject of water, you’d best drink plenty of it each day, as it plays a very vital role in everyone’s daily diet. How much is enough? That can depend on your size, climate and activity you do each day.

The best way to do your own ‘monitoring’ at home is to keep track of how many times you urinate. Also, the color of your urine should ideally be pale yellow. That means your body is well-hydrated.

Opt for Lean Meats

Meats represent a huge source of saturated fat in one’s daily diet. Meaning that eating a lot of them will lead to high levels of cholesterol.

If you happen to be prediabetic, then a diet which is low in saturated fats is the ideal way to go. It lowers your risk of developing heart disease.

We advise you to try and steer from meat cuts which have obvious fats or skin on them. Much better protein alternatives would be:

  • Skinless chicken
  • Skinless turkey
  • Egg whites or egg substitutes
  • Legumes and beans
  • Tempeh and tofu
  • Fish like tuna, trout, cod, halibut, flounder or haddock
  • Cuts of lean beef like fat-trimmed roast, tenderloin, and flank steak
  • Shellfish like scallops, shrimp, crab, and lobster
  • Greek yogurt (which is low on fats)

A Healthy Diet Is Just Part of the Deal

Exercise is the other part. It should be incorporated into everyone’s daily lifestyle, particularly for those with prediabetes. After all, lack of physical activity leads to an increased resistance to insulin.

Exercise is great for making one’s muscles use the glucose one’s consumed for energy. It also causes one’s cells to work with insulin more effectively.

How much is advisable? Well, five times a week for about 30 minutes is plenty. But keep in mind that this doesn’t have to mean strenuous exercise.

It can be something easy and fun, such as bike riding, dancing, taking a nice walk or finding any other activity which might peak one’s personal interest.

The main point is to be as active as you can. Stay healthy, dear readers.

Source: Health Line | Mayo Clinic