Measuring tape wrapped around scale

Just losing 10% of body weight can help stabilize blood sugar levels

Diabetes is on the rise in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050! Type 2 diabetes is the most common form.  It means your body does not make enough insulin or cells ignore the insulin it does produce.

Once you have diabetes it can cause a variety of other health issues such as heart, kidney, eyes, nerves and many other issues.  In addition, medical expenses for people with diabetes are two times higher than those of people who do not have diabetes.

Type II diabetes does not strike overnight,  it can take up to 10 years before pre-diabetes develops into full-blown diabetes.

What is pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is when a persons blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes.  According to the American Diabetes Association, pre-diabetes is a fasting blood sugar level (FPG) of

>/= 100 mg/dl and <126mg/dl. Diabetes is considered >/=126mg/dl. Recent studies show that people with pre-diabetes are at higher risk of heart disease than people who have normal blood sugar levels.  Currently, 79 million Americans are pre-diabetic and many don’t know they are.

If you don’t know your blood sugar levels, the first thing you should do is make an appointment with your doctor.   Knowledge is power.  Type 2 diabetes is primarily a lifestyle disease,  while your genes may put you at risk, your daily activities can tip the scale one way or another.

 

Here is what you can do to tip the scale in your favor:

1. Lose weight. If you are overweight or obese, just losing 5-10% of your body weight can get your blood sugar levels stabilized. If you weigh 150 lbs, that’s losing 8-15 lbs.

2. Move more. Just exercising 30 minutes a day has been found to help regulate blood sugar levels.

3. Eat more fiber. Fiber fills you up and keeps your blood sugar stable. Try oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat bread with at least 3 g fiber per serving, fresh fruits and veggies. Aim for about 25-30g fiber a day.

4. Choose good fats.   Good fats are mono and polyunsaturated fats, bad fats are trans fats. Canola oil, nuts, seeds helps prevent diabetes, while trans fats found in packaged and fried foods do the opposite.

5. Eat more plants and less meat. Choose beans, legumes, and tofu instead of ham, bologna and steak, they trigger diabetes in people who have a genetic risk for diabetes.

6. Drink more water and avoid sugary drinks. Sugary drinks cause weight gain, increase blood sugar levels and have been associated with inflammation, high triglycerides and decreased good cholesterol (HDL) levels.

7. Lift weights to increase your muscle mass. A recent study showed that for every 10% increase in muscle mass there was a reduction in insulin resistance of 11%.

 

 

A video from the National Diabetes Education Program on someone’s personal struggles with losing weight and preventing diabetes.  Click below.

Preventing Type II Diabetes: Maintain a Healthy Weight


References:

  1. Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, DesprAs JP, Hu FB.  Sugar-sweetened beverages, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease risk.  Circulation. 2010;  121:1356-64.
  2. Schulze MB, Manson JE, Ludwig DS, et al.  Sugar-sweetened beverages, weight gain, and incidence of type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women.  JAMA.  2004;  292:927-34.
  3. Srikanthan et al.  Relative Muscle Mass is Inversely Associated with Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes.  Findings from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism July 21, 2011 jc.2011-0435

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