According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of the U.S. population above the age of 40 is in a pre-diabetic state. That is a frightening statistic because, although it is less extreme than with full-fledged diabetes, the body is being damaged during pre-diabetes. The good news is, 90 percent of type 2 diabetes cases are completely preventable by maintaining a healthy body weight, eating an appropriate diet, and engaging in regular physical activity. You can also easily reverse pre-diabetes and sometimes even early type 2 diabetes. Once you’ve had the disease for several years, however, it’s generally difficult to fully reverse it. So prevention and early intervention are crucial.
The most important step is losing that excess body weight. Exercise is the second most powerful strategy available to you to reverse pre-diabetes or early diabetes, or if you have the disease, to make it a lot more manageable. Ideally, you want to aim for 30 or more minutes of moderate aerobic activity five or more days a week. Walking is a fantastic form of exercise. Strive to walk at least 10,000 steps a day; using a pedometer is an easy way to make sure you’re walking enough each day. A modest weight loss of 5 percent to 7 percent of body weight combined with 30 minutes of walking five days a week will reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Cycling, swimming, vigorous gardening, stair walking, raking leaves, water aerobics, and playing basketball are great forms or helpful exercise too!
In regards to diet, cutting out sugar is great. But also avoid those foods that we know are associated with the development of diabetes. These foods include highly refined, high glycemic index carbohydrates, such as white flour products, white rice, white potatoes, sugars, and sweets. Also avoid saturated fats found in red meat, poultry skin, and whole dairy products; and trans fats, which are those sinister manmade fats found in margarine, shortening, fast food, and processed food containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. All of these foods promote insulin resistance, which again is the underlying metabolic abnormality that ultimately leads to type 2 diabetes.
On the other hand, some foods can actually reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes through their potential to aid in maintenance of healthy body weight and/or improve the function of insulin.
If you or someone you know is pre-diabetic or currently has type 2 diabetes, check out Dr. Ann’s Just Say Whoa! to Type II Diabetes Grocery Shopping Guide.