By Shawn McKee
We’re not going to sugarcoat the truth about diabetes — lowering diabetes risk takes more than a couple of tweaks. For 23.6 million Americans diabetes is a part of their daily life. Are you at risk? You are if you’re overwieght, inactive or have a family history of diabetes.
That accounts for a lot of people, which is why the U.S. health agencies predict that a third of American children born in 2000 will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that a recently completed study shows that people with prediabetes can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by making better diet choices and increasing physical activity.
The Diabetes Prevention Program study found that just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, coupled with a 5-10 percent reduction in body weight, reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent.
Dramatically reduce your chance of developing this disease by adopting a healthier diet. Use these tips from the ADA to make healthier eating choices:
– Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Include non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, carrots, broccoli and green beans in meals.
– Choose whole-grain foods over processed-grain products. Try brown rice with your stir-fry or whole-wheat spaghetti with your favorite pasta sauce.
– Include dried beans (like kidney or pinto beans) and lentils in your meals.
– Include fish in your meals 2-3 times a week.
– Choose lean meats like cuts of beef and pork that end in “loin” (e.g. pork loin and sirloin). Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
– Choose nonfat dairy such as skim milk, nonfat yogurt and nonfat cheese.
– Choose water and calorie-free “diet” drinks instead of regular soda, fruit punch, sweet tea and other sugar-laden drinks.
– Choose liquid oils for cooking instead of solid fats, which can be high in saturated and trans fats. Remember that fats are high in calories.
– Cut back on high-calorie snack foods and desserts like chips, cookies, cakes and full-fat ice cream.
– Eating too much of even healthy foods can lead to weight gain. Watch your portion sizes.
Don’t try and do everything at once. Start by exercising, cutting down on sweets or skipping soda. Use the Tweak of the Week approach for a less stressful lifestyle improvement and before you know it, you will have lowered your risk.
And be sure to talk with your doctor about your risks and what you can do to prevent diabetes.
If you have diabetes, eating right doesn’t have to be a struggle. Check out the Living with Diabetes Meal Plan for more information.