Prediabetes, if left unattended, progresses to type 2 diabetes. However, the good news is that by following a prediabetes diet and inculcating regular exercise, you can stop this progression. This article shares with you some important aspects of a diet recommended for people diagnosed with prediabetes.
In most cases, type 2 diabetes and obesity go hand in hand. To explain the intimate relationship between these two conditions, the term “diabesity” is used.
People whose blood sugar levels are higher than normal but are yet to reach diabetic levels, are diagnosed with a condition called prediabetes. In almost all cases, this condition is followed by type 2 diabetes, if left unattended. But unlike diabetes, prediabetes can be reversed, provided early and prompt measures are taken. By following a prediabetes diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and increasing physical activity, blood sugar levels can be brought back to normal thus slowing down or halting the development of type 2 diabetes.
Diet to Manage Prediabetes
The main aim of a prediabetes diet is to stabilize blood glucose levels, and manage weight. The diet should also help in minimizing the complications which are commonly associated with type 2 diabetes. So, considering all these points, the below gives you a list of foods that are the most suitable choices for a prediabetes diet.
Non-starchy vegetables are not only high in fiber, but they are choke-full of essential vitamins and minerals. They contain healthy carbohydrates, and they score low when it comes to calories. Given all such properties, such vegetables do an excellent job in regulating blood sugar levels, and they also encourage healthy weight loss. Whether you have prediabetes or not, such vegetables should be a no-brainer for a healthy diet. Some good examples of non-starchy veggies are:
- Brussels sprouts
Speaking of foods that are rich in healthy carbohydrates, protein, healthy fat and fiber, beans top the list. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, daily intake of beans may be just more than beneficial for people coping with type 2 diabetes. So, it goes without saying that, these foods fit well in a prediabetes diet, as well. Beans not only help lower blood sugar levels, but they also play an important role in reducing high blood pressure (a major risk factor for diabetics).
People who eat a mere three servings of whole-grain food daily are one-third less prone to develop type 2 diabetes than those who consume the same amount but on a weekly basis. These foods are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and they do not add excessive sugar to the diet. So, instead of processed or refined grains, include the following whole-grain foods in your diet:
- Whole-grain bread
- Brown rice
- Whole-grain pasta
- Wild rice
Protein is essential, and people who are at risk of diabetes must choose their protein sources carefully. Having said that, an excellent source of low-fat protein that diabetes and prediabetes patients can rely upon is fish. Moreover, when this food is combined with vegetables or whole-grain foods, you get a healthy balance of protein, fiber and fat. Baked, broiled, grilled or steamed fish is always healthier than one that is fried.
Another great source of protein and calcium for people with prediabetes and diabetes is yogurt; the low-fat and fat-free varieties. Yogurt has a low glycemic index (GI). In other words, it does not spike blood glucose levels, and helps the body feel full longer thus encouraging weight loss too. Low-fat or nonfat yogurt makes for a perfectly healthy snack at any time of the day, especially when combined with fresh fruits. Nutrition experts recommend Greek nonfat yogurt because it packs twice as much as protein as any standard yogurt.
Other good choices for a prediabetes diet include:
- Egg white
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Nonfat sour cream
- Unsweetened tea
- Decaffeinated coffee
- Diet sodas (instead of sugary drinks)
What About Fruits?
Most people with prediabetes or diabetes are not sure whether they should include fruits, particularly the sweet ones, in their diet. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), any fruit (fresh, frozen or canned, without added sugar) can be a part of a diet to manage diabetes. However, one has to keep a count of each serving of fruit as a part of his/her daily carbohydrate intake. The ADA suggests that, 45-60 grams of carbohydrate at a meal, is an acceptable figure for people with diabetes; this figure may, of course, vary from person to person. To know how many carbohydrates one should take according to his/her specific needs, a registered dietician is the best person to talk to. Some common fruits that people with prediabetes and diabetes can include in their meal plan, according to the ADA include:
- Dried fruit
The types of food which a prediabetes diet comprises, not only reduce the risks of developing type 2 diabetes, but are equally beneficial for overall health and well-being, as well. Healthy eating and healthy living are the two important factors, when it comes to the prevention of various acute or chronic medical conditions such as diabetes. Take care!