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Tip: Eat plenty of fiber (it helps to slow the rate of sugar into the bloodstream).
|Can Diabetes Be Prevented?
Type 1 diabetes usually starts in early childhood and is not thought to be preventable. However type 2 diabetes is a different story (and it accounts for 90 percent of all diabetes cases). Numerous studies show that overweight people with high risk factors for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by:
1. Losing 5 to 7 percent of their bodyweight. For example if you weigh 200 pounds that works out at 10 to 14 pounds.
2. Exercising 5 times a week for 30 minutes (150 minutes in total).
In other words, you don't need to make HUGE changes to prevent a major disease and reduce your risk of diabetes complications.
How To Lose Weight
Choosing The Diet Plan
If you need to lose weight, follow a Low GI Diet Plan which was originally designed for diabetics (but is also ideal for people with PCOS syndrome and hypothyroidism). This style of eating plan contains the correct amounts of lean protein, 'good' carbohydrates and fats to help stabilize blood sugar levels. There are lots of Low GI style plans available on the web, or you could check out the American Diabetes Association’s website for a free meal plan (see diabetes resources for a list of other useful websites).
Working Out Your Calorie Allowance
Never be tempted to opt for a very low calorie diet (400 to 800 calories a day). These are only safe when they are supervised by a doctor. They may be recommended when rapid weight loss is necessary in order for surgery to be performed or to reduce a person's chance of complications due to a heart problem. In fact, avoid all unhealthy diets, including high proteins diets like Atkins, and fad diets like the cabbage soup diet or fasting plans. To lose weight in a healthy manner, you should not fall below 1200 calories a day. Use the following as a guide for determining your allowance. If you don't have time to count the grams of fat, then your primary focus should be calories:
||Calorie and Fat Allowance Per Day
| 120 to 170 pounds
|| 1,200 calories /
33 grams fat
| 175 to 215 pounds
|| 1,500 calories /42 g fat
| 220 to 245 pounds
|| 1,800 calories /
50 g fat
| 250 to 300 pounds
|| 2000 calories /
55 g fat
Sample Diet Plan
Bowl of porridge made with fat free milk.
1 medium banana.
Low fat yogurt.
1 piece of fruit.
Pitta bread filled with broiled (grilled) chicken, salad and low fat dressing.
1 piece of fruit.
Handful of walnuts or other type of nut.
6 or 7 baked nacho chips with salsa dip.
Salmon steak broiled.
Unlimited broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, onions.
Small pancake with fresh blueberries.
Setting Your Weight Loss Goals
Always set yourself a realistic weight loss goal - that is 1 to 2 pounds per week. While you may lose more initially in the first week or two, it will average out (if you stick to your calorie allowance) at 1 to 2 pounds a week. Note: studies show that fat around the waist (visceral fat) is particularly more dangerous than fat in any other part of the body.
When You Reach Your Target Weight
Try not to see your 'diet' as something you stop doing once you reach your weight loss goal. Maintenance is just as important as the weight loss phase, so don’t sabotage all your hard work. This is one reason why we recommend the Low GI Diet - it contains lots of healthy foods (no shakes, protein bars or highly processed snacks) which you can integrate into your life long-term. It's one of the healthiest ways to eat - whether or not you need to lose weight. The whole family can benefit and eat from the same plan. Do check our section: books on diabetes for self-help guides.
Surgery, When All Else Fails
Weight loss surgery is sometimes considered in severe cases of obesity where patients are unable to rectify the situation despite support. It can be very effective in reducing blood sugar levels in people with both pre-diabetes and diabetes. If a person is already receiving diabetes treatment in the form of oral drugs, surgery can reduce their dependence on medications to the point where they may no longer even be necessary. Typically gastric bypass surgery is the first choice of operation; this is where the stomach is stapled so you tend to eat less food. It may be a consideration if you have a body mass index of 40 or more or if you have physical problems caused by obesity such as difficulties walking.
While exercise helps to burn calories, this is only one benefit. It also helps to 'heal' your body by promoting 'good' HDL cholesterol and decreases 'bad' triglycerides. In so doing it not only helps prevent diabetes but also stroke risk factors, arthritis risk factors and your chances of developing depression, cancer and metabolic syndrome.
You should aim for 30 minutes aerobic exercise a day, even if this is broken up into three 10-minute sessions.
2. Brisk walking, cycling, swimming, jogging and dancing are all good options.
3. Buy a pedometer, a small device the size of a bleeper that counts your steps. It is a great motivator.
4. Gradually buildup to walking 10,000 steps a day. You can achieve this in small ways by leaving your car parked further away from the store entrance, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and going for a walk at lunchtime.
5. Some useful measurements: 1 mile is about 2,100 steps. 10 minutes of walking is about 1,200 steps. 1 block is an average of 100 steps.
6. Find an exercise buddy for motivation, it helps keep things fun.
7. Always stop if you feel pain and tell your doctor about it.
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