There are currently about 190 million individuals diagnosed as diabetics across the globe. According to a 2014 estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 29.1 million Americans (that’s approximately 1 in 10) are diabetic.
Of these, only 21 million are diagnosed. The remaining 8.1 million don’t even know that they are diabetic. Unfortunately, most people don’t find out until it’s too late and they develop one or more of the complications associated with diabetes.
Some of these include kidney failure, stroke, blindness, los of parts or all of the lower limb, and heart disease. Now, as if that isn’t bad enough, there’s an even scarier statistic: Over 1 in 3 Americans are prediabetic already.
That’s 86 million+ individuals who don’t even know that they’re on the verge of diabetic. For those who don’t know what prediabetes is, it’s the state of having higher than normal blood sugar levels as well as insulin resistance, but not so bad that the person is diagnosed as being diabetic.
Ignored for long enough though –about 10 years- a prediabetic’s condition will degenerate into diabetes. Fortunately, prediabetes can be easily reversed with the appropriate lifestyle changes.
Diabetes is a growing epidemic and seems to relentlessly soldier on, in spite of the massive awareness it gets and its obvious health implications. This is why we must do everything to stop the trend and growth of this deadly condition.
There’s no doubt that diabetes can be managed and controlled, but it’s even better if you didn’t get it in the first place. In this guide to preventing diabetes, you’ll learn the best and proven ways to diabetes prevention as well as reverse prediabetes if you are already have the condition.
Best Tips to Prevent Diabetes
1. Start By Getting Rid of Refined Sugars and Carbs
Do you know that the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of refined sugars daily? To help you put that in perspective, that’s 88 grams of sugar. This quantity of sugar consumed on a daily basis, adds an extra 350 calories.
To get rid of those calories, you’d have to jog at a moderate pace for about an hour. Consuming this much sugar on a daily basis without burning them off, leaves people vulnerable to becoming obese, developing diabetes, and other cardiovascular diseases.
This is why the American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended that the average American drastically reduce the amounts of added sugar they consume every day to no more than 24g of sugar per day. This will only add an extra 100 calories that you can burn off from walking at a moderate pace for just 15 minutes every day.
If you are already used to taking copious amounts of sugar on a daily basis, chances are that cutting back immediately can lead to some sugar withdrawals. This is why we’re recommending the use of other natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, and stevia.
Stevia for instance, contains zero calories (might not be good for women trying to get pregnant as it also doubles as a natural birth control substance). Honey on the other hand, contains only 64 calories per tablespoon.
Maple syrup only contains 52 calories per tablespoon, while blackstrap molasses contain just 47 calories. Interestingly, you’ll need just small quantities of these natural sweeteners for your drinks and meals drastically lowering your daily added calories.
2. Become More Physically Active
The average American is physically inactive. In fact, it is estimated that less than 5 percent of Americans stay active for up to 30 minutes every day. Yet, to fend off diabetes, physical activity is mandatory.
Think of it this way: the more physically active you are, the higher your chances of never becoming diabetic. Let that sink in for a moment. Physically active people are more likely to live longer, healthier lives.
This is possible because exercise and physical activity regulates your blood sugar level, prevents insulin resistance, and weight gain. You don’t necessarily have to start running, or lifting weights.
Start by taking brisk walks. Studies have shown that people who take brisk walks for 20-25 minutes every day, add at least 7 more years to their lifespan. If you find walking tedious, here’s an idea: get a dog or cat and walk them daily.
That’s more fun. Better still, instead of just sitting down and listening to your audiobooks, use that same to take a walk while listening. Also, walk the last 2-3 blocks to and from your office every day instead of driving right to your office.
Find a parking lot or garage close by and walk the last few blocks every day. If you can, try to get up from your desk every 30-40 minutes, and walk around or exercise for 5-10 minutes.
If you need to make photocopies, get water, coffee, food… anything, wait until that that time block is up, then walk to wherever you need to. Another excellent way to get some physical activity is to simply walk to a colleague’s office if you need to ask them a question instead of sending an email or calling them on the phone.
You can also get adjustable tables or treadmill desks if possible, so that you can get up at intervals and walk whilst still being productive.
The best option though would be to go to the gym during your lunch period and do some cardio workouts for 20 minutes. Experts recommend moderate pace jogging, some high intensity interval training and strength training done in 5-7 minute sets for maximum results.
3. Shed Some Weight
A 2009/2010 report by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention shows that about 78 million American adults and 12.5 million children are obese. Since type 2 diabetes is usually the next logical stage after obesity, you can be sure that if these people don’t do anything about their weights, they will become diabetic within 5-10 years.
Studies have shown that obesity is often a predictor of type 2 diabetes. The relationship between the two conditions is so strong that the researchers have even coined the term “diabesity” from the merging of both words. If this isn’t a clear indicator of the relationship between the two, we don’t know what else is.
This is why you should go check your body mass index now (BMI). This BMI calculator will help you with that. According to BMI measurements, values of 25-29.9 indicate you’re overweight while a BMI of 30 and above, indicates obesity.
While there are many causes of obesity, the chief cause is a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits, further aided by a slow metabolism. In fact, there’s a new condition attributed to sedentary living called the “Too Tired Syndrome” (TTS).
People who stay inactive for long periods tend to experience lower energy levels than those who are more physically active, which also impacts their productivity levels. More energetic and active individuals not only enjoy better health, they also have more stamina and endurance.
As a result, they make better workers, get more done, can sustain prolonged periods of concentration, and are more charismatic. Little wonder they seem to “coast” through life and enjoy its perks while obese individuals just seem to get by. Whatever the case, you need to start making the necessary adjustments today… right now.
In fact, here’s what we recommend, get off the chair right now, and take a 20 minute walk around. Stop being sedentary and develop a more active lifestyle. Now, this may not be easy, particularly if your job requires you to be deskbound all day. So, here’s how we think you can stay more active:
- Get a bike desk, treadmill desk, or an adjustable desk –depending on your preferences
- Incorporate more walking into your daily activities
- Take a break from your desk every 30-40 minutes and take a 5-10 minute walk or di some aerobic exercises
- Park your car 2-3 blocks away and walk to and from your office. This will help you walk for at least 20-30 minutes every day.
- Stop spending so much time in front of the TV. If you must, watch the TV while walking or jogging on a treadmill
- Walk the dog or cat for 20-30 minutes during the weekend
- Spend more time outside in the park or nature
- Visit the gym 2-3 times a week during your lunch hour
- Cycle to and from work if you can or around your neighborhood for 30 minutes a day
- Truckers can get more physical activity at truck stops by cycling, walking or jogging for at least 30 minutes
A more active life must be complemented with an even more conscious effort at watching what goes in your body. Start eating healthier by adopting diets like the Mediterranean Diet, the Insulin Resistance Diet, Vegetarian Diet or the Paleo Diet.
These low sugar and carbohydrate diets will get you on fast track to melting off the fat and losing some weight. Studies have shown that for every 2.2 pounds lost, you lower your risk of becoming diabetic by 16-96 percent.
These are just a few ideas recommended by health specialists and fitness experts to get you started on your way to melting off the fat and a no-diabetes life. Do this starting today and watch your health take a turn for the better.
4. Choose Healthier Desserts
Desserts are nice. Whether in the form of cakes, pies, ice cream, pudding or candy, these are post-meal rituals that we all indulge in. Unfortunately, traditional desserts which are often filled with lots of calories and loads of sugars just might be further increasing your risk of becoming diabetic.
This is because desserts can further increase your calorie intake, resulting in weight gain, insulin resistance, obesity and obesity, if it’s not checked. In fact, it’s difficult to not find dessert that doubles the calorie intake of the meals preceding it.
So, instead of just eating these high calorie desserts, why not opt for healthier ones.For instance, instead of dairy products and junk snacks after meals, why not opt for nuts, fruits and veggies? That’s healthier, more nutritious, has little or colorific value and will not cause you any weight gain.
Also, drink more water as it fills you up and reduces the urge for a dessert. Another good option is xylitol chewing gums. These are cheap, healthier, have zero calories and can double as desserts.
5. Add More Spice and Herbs to Your Meals
Do you know that spices and herbs lower blood sugar levels, thus reducing your risk of becoming diabetic? That’s right. Spices like Turmeric, peppers, and curry can help reduce your blood sugar levels.
A 2013 study published in the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research journal showed that the prolonged ingestion of curcumin supplements by rats lowered their blood sugar levels to moderate levels as well as insulin resistance.
Curcumin is an active substance found in Turmeric and is also well known in the alternative medicine circle as an effective anti-inflammatory substance. Other examples of spices and herbs that you should add to your meals include basil, chamomile, bilberry, cinnamon, cumin, dandelion, fennel, garlic and ginger.
6. Choose the Right Cereals
Cereals and staple in many households. It’s the perfect meal to grab and go in the mornings when you need to get the kids to school and get to work on time. In fact, cold cereals in the morning are pretty commonplace.
However, cereals can also contribute to diabetes and its associated conditions. This is because many cereal brands in the market have high refined carbohydrate content as well as sugars and flavors that can rapidly increase your blood sugar levels upon consumption. Cereals like this are known to have what is called a high glycemic index or glycemic load, and are dangerous to your health.
As a rule, start eating more whole grain cereals as they usually have lower glycemic index These are digested slower in the body resulting in a gradual release of sugars into the blood stream. As a result your body won’t have to deal with the sudden dump in sugar that accompanies the consumption of refined cereals.
In fact studies have shown that people who eat two or more servings of whole grains cereals tend to reduce their risk of becoming diabetic by 21 percent. To avoid cereals with high glycemic content, look at the cereal pack. Always go for the whole grain cereals or nothing.
In case you were wondering, whole grain cereals are able to help your body fend off diabetes because of its contents –the fiber and bran- which help reduce the strain on the pancreas courtesy of the slower release of sugars into the bloodstream.
In another study, it was determined that avoiding white rice or switching to whole grains or brown rice can help lower your risk of developing diabetes by between 11 and 36 percent. The study compared diabetes risks in people who ate rice five or more times weekly and those who ate it just once a month. The result indicated that the latter had a 17 percent higher risk of becoming diabetic.
As for switching to brown rice and its effects on diabetes, the same study showed that eating brown rice at least twice a week lowered people’s risk of developing diabetes by 11 percent. Finally, people who completely swapped out white rice for whole grains further lowered their risk of diabetes by 36 percent.
You need to start incorporating brown rice and whole grains into your daily cereals intake if you want to prevent diabetes. Look for steel-cut oats, large oat flakes, pre-cooked quinoa, bran cereals, and sugar-free muesli cereals. If you need whole grain cereal brand examples, try Barbara’s Honey Rice Puffins, Kix, Fiber One, General Mills Mulitgrain Cheerios, and Oatmeal.
7. Get Rid of Your Vitamin D Deficiency
You know how they say you need to get outside more often particularly early in the morning so you can get your daily intake of vitamin D? Well, you should take that more seriously if you want to prevent diabetes. Research has shown that every cell and tissue in the body has a Vitamin D receptor and this vitamin helps in keeping you free of diabetes.
Another study linked vitamin D deficiency with a higher risk of diabetes. The study showed evidence that people who are deficient in Vitamin D are more likely to become diabetic. Interestingly, some of the subjects who were either prediabetic or already diabetic weren’t overweight or obese –the usual precursors to developing type 2 diabetes.
As a result, many of them didn’t even know they had those conditions. On the other hand, obese subjects with higher levels of Vitamin D were free of diabetes, while those diagnosed as diabetic had lower levels of the vitamin.
Getting adequate amounts of this vitamin can play a role in helping your body become more sensitive to insulin. As a result you’re less likely to develop insulin resistance –a condition that’s common among obese and prediabetic individuals, and often leads to type 2 diabetes.
Scientists also believe that it can help your body produce and distribute insulin in appropriate amounts as well as help control your blood sugar levels. To get the optimal amount of Vit. D per day, go out in the sun between the hours of 6 and 8 for 15-20 minutes. You can also get your daily dose from Vitamin D supplements, fish oils, nuts, certain cereals, milk and eggs.
8. Black Coffee and Tea Can Help
So, it turns out that coffee not only makes the world go round, it might also be capable of preventing diabetes. Who woulda thought! Most people either drink coffee for the flavor or for its capabilities as a stimulant; not to prevent diabetes.
Yet, there’s scientific evidence that coffee can actually lower your risk of becoming diabetic. Another study showed that people who drank four cups of decaf coffee over the course of 2-4 years also recorded significantly lower risk of diabetes compared to non-drinkers.
In this study, people who drank 3 or more cups of coffee or tea per day lowered their risk of becoming diabetic by 42 percent.
And even in people with T2D, drinking coffee for one month helped lower their insulin sensitivity to regular levels.
There are many reasons why coffee can have this effect:
- Coffee as a stimulant will often force you to become more active
- When you drink pure black coffee without sugar, you’re not adding to your calorie intake
- Black coffee contains zero calories
- Coffee taken with natural sweeteners like honey and stevia adds no calories
- You tend to take smaller quantities of the natural sweeteners, resulting in normal blood sugar levels and no insulin resistance.
Whatever the case, you need to start drinking more coffee. If you cannot take the caffeinated, take the decaf.
The same goes for tea. Whether it’s oolong, green, herbal, regular, black… whatever your choices are, tea typically contains zero calories, are rich in antioxidants, and helps cleanse your body.
Even better, you don’t have to take them with sugar. Unlike coffee that may have a bitter taste when taken without any sweetener, teas tend to have a refreshing taste even without any sweeteners. And they are also great for losing weight.
9. Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
The frequent intake of whole fruits and vegetables have been linked lower risk of diabetes. Fruits such as apples, blueberries and grapes actually showed more promise as effective anti-diabetes agents.
The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) study monitored and tracked individuals who ate one or more of these fruits at least twice a week and compared them with those who ate them less than once every 30 days. The results showed that people who took the aforementioned fruits in particular, had a 23 percent lower risk of becoming diabetic.
Please note that when we’re talking about fruits, we’re not talking about fruit juice. That’s an entirely different subject matter, and has been linked to an increase in diabetes risk. So, if you’ve been drinking fruit juices in the hopes that it’ll provide the same nutrition as natural fruits, you are wrong. Scientists have found that consuming fruit juices of all kinds daily actually increased individuals’ risk of becoming diabetic by 21 percent.
Eat sizable portions of green leafy vegetable every day. These are often rich in antioxidants, slow down blood sugar spikes, thus playing a role in ensuring that you never develop insulin resistance.
10. Drink Healthier
We get it. You love your beer, soda, Kool aid, slurpee, juice and many other sugar infused drinks. The thing about these drinks is they tend to trigger insulin resistance, increase your blood sugar levels and hasten your approach towards diabetes.
Sugary drinks in the form of soda, beer and fruit juice have been linked to diabetes and obesity. If you want to avoid becoming diabetic, you need to cut back on the consumption of these drinks and just drink plain water. Studies have shown that people who drink more water during the day or replace all sugar based drinks with water, lowers their risk of becoming diabetic by 30 percent.
If you don’t like the natural taste of water, you can always opt for sparkling water or flavored water. These are great, have zero calories, regulate your blood sugar levels, flush out toxins from your body and keep you hydrated.
If you want, you can also add some flavor to your water by adding slices of cucumber, lemon or lime. These are actually quite refreshing and helps those who want some extra zing in their water, enjoy their water.
When you get thirsty and want to reach for that can of soda, fruit juice or any sugary drink, take a pause. Compel yourself to drink water first, and then if the thirst or craving for something sweet, you can then take healthier sweetened drink like iced tea or lemonade –these two contain between 91 and 99 calories per cup.
Most of the time, drinking water alone takes care of the thirst, completely eliminating the need for any sugar-based drink. Do this enough times, and your body will associate water with the quenching of thirst.
More interestingly, you’ll find that your sugar cravings will become non-existent. And when you do take sugary items, you’ll find them too sweet, which means you’ll probably take only small quantities.
Water also helps lower your blood glucose levels. If you want a natural way to prevent blood sugar spikes, nothing does the job like drinking lots of water. Doctors recommend that you drink about 15 cups of 3.7 liters of water every day. If you can drink more, that’s even better. A simple way to think about it is, the higher the quantity of water you drink on a daily basis, the lower your chances of becoming diabetic.
11. Do Choose Your Portions Wisely
There is scientific evidence linking portion sizes to the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. Food portions have drastically increased over the last 2-4 decades, while individuals have largely become sedentary. These days, portions are four times what they were in the 1950s.
As a result, most people have more food intake than they need, resulting in excess weight gain –the average adult weighs 26 lbs more than their counterparts from 5-6 decades ago, prolonged blood sugar spike, insulin sensitivity and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes.
One of the best ways to prevent this is by simply limiting how much food you consume. It’s a simple input vs output scenario.
Therefore, if you eat more than you can convert to energy, you will gain weight and increase your risk of developing diabetes. But if you eat in smaller portions so your body gets just the right amount of food intake it needs, you’ll maintain your weight at the very least or lose weight at best.
This is why minimizing your portion sizes is crucial to preventing diabetes as evidenced in this 2 year study involving prediabetic men. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a low carb, high protein diet or not. If you don’t watch the quantity of food you eat, you will be on a fast track to becoming diabetic.
With reduced portions, prediabetics and other folks with elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance problems can normalize their insulin sensitivity and bring down their blood glucose levels to normal.
12. Test Your Blood Sugar Levels Frequently
Most of those who are already prediabetic don’t know it because they don’t check their blood glucose levels frequently. The best way of lowering your risk of developing diabetes is to consistently be on guard.
The price of excellent health is eternal vigilance. So, have your blood sugar levels checked frequently –twice a year is fine. Most people take their health seriously once they see that they are prediabetic. You should too.
13. Cut Out Junk Foods
More people are eating two out of three meals outside their homes. Most of these meals are usually junk foods from drive-through outlets. As a result, they eat more unhealthy foods that cause prolonged blood sugar spike, weight gain, increase the amount of bad cholesterol in the body, and puts them on a fast track to becoming diabetic.
Even worse is that junk foods have been linked to heart disease. This is why you need to eliminate all fast food from your diet and eat more proteins as well as low carb foods.
Start packing healthy meals from home. If you have a time constraint problem, we would suggest either ordering out of restaurants with healthy foods, or cook for the week and store. This way, all you have to do is remove from the fridge, microwave, and it’ll be as good as fresh.
Include more fruits and vegetables in your daily meal intake. The average kid and adult should have at least five servings of fruits and veggies every week. So, find ways to incorporate that into your daily meal regimen. Also, indulge in healthy, unsalted snacks and dried fruits.
Diabetes Prevention Conclusion
Finally, stop indulging in unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking. If you must drink, try wines. They are healthier, rich in antioxidants and excellent for your blood sugar levels. With this guide, you should never have to deal with diabetes if you follow the instructions herein. Good luck and stay healthy.