Prediabetes may be scary, but the diagnosis gives you time to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Someone who is prediabetic has a higher than normal blood sugar level, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Early damage to the circulatory system and heart may already be setting in, but the good news is that prediabetes doesn’t mean you’ll automatically develop diabetes.
Instead, a diagnosis of prediabetes can serve as a wake-up call, a second chance to turn your health around and reduce your blood sugar. With lifestyle changes and a prediabetic diet, you may be able to delay the onset or even prevent type 2 diabetes. Without necessary changes, however, be prepared to develop diabetes in less than 10 years.
How do you know if you’re prediabetic? What should you eat if you are?
Diabetes is a sneaky disease. It often comes on so slowly that you don’t recognize the symptoms until it’s too late. If you begin to notice any of the following symptoms, see your doctor: frequent urination; unusual thirst; fatigue; blurred vision; numbness or tingling in your feet or hands; frequent skin, bladder, or mouth infections; or slowed healing from cuts or bruises.
Get tested for prediabetes if you’re over 45 and overweight. For those under 45 and overweight, it may be smart to get tested if you have high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes, a history of gestational diabetes, or high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol. If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, get tested for diabetes at least every other year.
A Prediabetic Diet
Being overweight is a main risk factor for developing prediabetes and diabetes. By losing just seven percent of your body weight you can drastically reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. This is a meager 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Regular exercise and a change in diet are the keys to regulating your blood sugar and helping you lose weight.
Whether you’re prediabetic, diabetic, or neither, carbohydrates directly influence your blood sugar levels. But not all carbs are bad. Simple carbs found in white flour, potatoes, white rice, processed snack foods, and sugary baked goods cause your blood sugar to spike. But complex carbs from whole grains are digested slowly and therefore keep your blood sugar at a more stable level.
A prediabetic diet should avoid simple carbs and only eat complex carbs sparingly. Exchange white bread for whole grain and eat brown rice rather than white.
A high-fiber diet will also work to control blood sugar and aid in weight loss. Get fiber from fruits and vegetables. And choose veggies with low starch content, such as broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, leafy greens, asparagus, and green beans. Fruits that are great for prediabetes include oranges, bananas, apples, grapefruit, mangoes, grapes, and strawberries. The less ripe, the better.
Dairy is safe for your blood sugar, but limit your calorie intake by choosing low-fat or non-fat options. Switch your two-percent milk for skim and your full-fat yogurt for non-fat.
Get your protein from lean meats. Healthy options include fish, skinless chicken and turkey, pork tenderloin, lean ground meat, and top sirloin. Eggs are another source of protein, but eat yolks sparingly.
The prediabetic diet is a healthy diet that leads to weight loss and regulated blood sugar. Not dealing with prediabetes? No problem. Anyone, at any age or weight can benefit from such a diet. Eating such a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise may be just what you need to avoid ever facing diabetes or even prediabetes.
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