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Health and Fitness News

Diabetes on the Way? Change Direction

A prediabetes diagnosis doesn’t have to mean disease is inevitable. Make these diet changes to reverse the trend.

Living with diabetes means a lifetime of management. While your friends are relaxed, you’re busy managing blood sugar through medications, blood sugar tests, exercise, and diet. Let it go uncontrolled and you’re in for serious problems. Uncontrolled high blood sugar can lead to heart attack, stroke, neuropathy, blindness, kidney failure, and more.

If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, be thankful! There’s still time to make changes. Having prediabetes means your blood sugar levels are higher than they should be. Left unmanaged and you’ll wind up with full-blown diabetes. Don’t let it happen to you! Make the right changes and you can delay, prevent, or reverse your diagnosis. And it all starts with your fork.

Keep reading to learn the diet changes that can help prevent your prediabetes from turning into Type 2 diabetes.

YES: Fruit and Non-Starchy Veggies

A diet rich in fruits and veggies is one of the best ways to stay healthy—period. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber. This carbohydrate fills you up and moves slowly through the digestive system. As a result, your blood sugar levels stay stable. When choosing vegetables, non-starchy is best. So go with carrots, broccoli, leafy greens, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, celery, and cucumber. Limit corn, potatoes, squash, peas, and beets. Remember that some fruits are higher in natural sugars than others. Talk to your doctor to find out if you should limit certain fruits.

Soda, lemonade, fruit punch, juice, sweet tea, energy drinks, and sports drinks taste great. They’re awful for you though. Extremely high in added sugars, these drinks cause a serious spike in blood sugar. Though sugary drinks are bad for everyone, they’re particularly dangerous for those with high blood sugar. Go with water and unsweetened tea instead.

YES: Whole Grains

Some people believe you have to cut out all carbs if you have prediabetes. But that’s not true. You just have to be picky about the carbs you eat. Complex carbs, such as whole grains, are safe choices. They’re high in fiber and nutrients and do your body good. Whenever you eat bread, cereal, pasta, or rice, make sure the first ingredient listed is a 100-percent whole grain. Also look for foods with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.

NO: Added Sugars

Simple sugars, which are found in table sugar or high fructose corn syrup, are quickly digested. Seems harmless enough, but they’re associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity. A high-sugar diet is a major contributor to high blood sugar levels. Since added sugar is found in many processed foods, it can be hard to avoid. Do your best. A good start is to limit or avoid sweets, desserts, jams, jellies, syrups, candy, and sweetened cereals.

YES: Protein

Protein is a macronutrient that helps keep your blood sugar stable. This is because it’s digested slowly. Including a source of protein in each meal and snack is a smart way to avoid spikes and falls in your blood sugar. Healthy sources of protein include seafood, eggs, lean meats, and low-fat dairy. Trying to avoid animal products? Go with beans, certain whole grains, nuts, seeds, tofu, and lentils.

NO: Simple Carbs

When grains are processed, they get stripped of their fiber and nutrients. Known as refined grains, these simple carbs should be on everyone’s list of foods to avoid, but especially if you’re prediabetic. Without the fiber, refined grains are quickly digested and lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. What’s this mean for your diet? You’ll need to avoid white bread, rice, and pasta. You should also stay away from crackers, chips, and pretzels.