Have you been told your blood sugar is too high, but not yet at diabetic levels? If so, you may be suffering from a relatively common condition known as the prediabetic syndrome or prediabetes. Prediabetes is where blood sugar levels are elevated, but aren’t high enough to be called type 2 diabetes. The good news is that people with prediabetes don’t necessarily go on to develop diabetes if appropriate lifestyle changes are made. If you want to avoid future type 2 diabetes, what’s the best way to treat prediabetic syndrome?
Prediabetic Syndrome: How Important is Diet?
It should come as no surprise that diet plays an important role in treating the prediabetic syndrome. Diet not only contributes to obesity, one of the greatest risk factors for type 2 diabetes, but it also directly affects blood sugar levels. Obviously if you want to avoid type 2 diabetes, dietary changes are necessary. The first priority should be to lose excess weight. A large study showed that losing as little as seven percent of body weight cut the risk of progressing from prediabetic syndrome to type 2 diabetes by fifty-eight percent. Combine this with thirty to forty minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times a week and you’ve reduced the risk of developing diabetes significantly.
What’s the Best Diet to Eat With Prediabetes?
What kind of foods are best to eat with prediabetic syndrome? People with prediabetes have some degree of insulin resistance which makes it more difficult for them to process carbohydrates. Because of this, simple carbohydrates such as potatoes, white rice, and white bread should be replaced with fiber-rich whole grain breads, brown rice, whole grains cereals, and vegetables. These foods are not only nutritionally rich but have less effect on insulin and blood sugar levels than do their starchier counterparts. It’s also important to limit the number of sugar or honey sweetened desserts, particularly ones that are high in fat. Not only do sweet, fatty foods add calories, they can cause rapid rises in blood sugar, further stressing the already troubled pancreas.
Diet for Prediabetic Syndrome: What About Fats?
Lowering intake of saturated fats is also an important part of a diet for anyone with prediabetes. Saturated fats are not only calorie dense, but they can cause changes in blood lipid levels that increases the risk of heart disease, the most common cause of death in diabetics. One of the best ways to reduce saturated fats is to substitute vegetarian sources of protein for a portion of your meat choices. There are a variety of low-fat vegetable forms of protein including tempeh, tofu, beans and lentils, and seitan. When properly prepared, these can be a tasty meat substitute.
Of course, you’ll want to combine these dietary changes with thirty to forty minutes of aerobic activity three to four times a week. Choose an activity you enjoy and don’t be afraid to vary your routine to prevent boredom. A fast walk works well for most people and varying the route keeps things interesting. These simple lifestyle changes may be all you need to prevent prediabetes from progressing to diabetes. Don’t forget to visit your doctor every six months for blood work to follow your blood sugar levels.