Prediabetes Diet : How to Design a Diet to Prevent Diabetes?

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Prediabetes Diet helps you prevent prediabetes condition that can lead to diabetes!

Prediabetes is a condition where the sugar levels in the blood are more than permissible limits but not very high that it can cause diabetes. As this condition increases the possibilities of Type 2 diabetes, it becomes important to prevent the prediabetes stage. A healthy lifestyle, and a well-balanced diet will help regulate the levels of cholesterol, and weight in the body.

By stabilizing blood sugar, you will not only avoid diabetes, but also difficulties linked with this condition such as heart ailment, nerve damage, stroke, and more. This article will guide you on how to prevent prediabetes with the help of healthy dietary practices and lifestyle changes. You will also learn tips to design a prediabetes diet plan. So, let us get started.

What Is Prediabetes And How It Is Caused?

Prediabetes is a metabolic condition where behavior and existing health issues impact the ability of the body to metabolize, assimilate, or store energy. It can adversely impact the overall health condition of a person. Prediabetes is linked to insulin resistance when the cells in your body stop to respond to the insulin hormone.

One of the main roles of the pancreas is to secrete insulin hormone that enables sugar to enter into the cells. The cells use the sugar to produce energy to perform various works. When the body fails to use insulin properly, then it causes sugar to remain in the blood. Due to which the cells get deprived of the much-needed energy for their functioning. This excess level of sugar in the blood becomes the reason for diabetes.

The interesting thing about prediabetes is that it doesn’t show any major signs that indicate this problem. That’s is the reason, in a majority of cases, a person doesn’t know that they are prediabetic if they do not perform a blood test. So, a blood test is a reliable way to diagnose this condition.

Medical examinations help check the following factors that can be the reason for high blood sugar levels:

  • insufficient production of insulin
  • impaired expression of insulin
  • poor response of the cells to insulin

It is advised that after the age of thirty years, every person should perform a blood test once a year.

Who Are More Likely To Develop Prediabetes?

Any person can develop prediabetes but a certain section of the population is at a higher risk of developing it. As diabetes is a hereditary condition, people who have their parents or grandparents suffering from this problem, can have this disease in their genes. They are more susceptible to developing this ailment.

Other factors that can increase the risk of prediabetes are:

  • more than 40 years of age
  • physiology
  • stress levels
  • the glycemic index (GI) of the foods consumed
  • amount of nutrition that you consume
  • physical activity
  • low levels of activity
  • excess body weight
  • existing illnesses such as hypertension, and heart ailment, or both
  • high levels of “bad” cholesterol, triglyceride or high-density lipoprotein
  • low levels of “healthy” cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein
  • fatty accumulation around the tummy region
  • polycystic ovary syndrome,
  • low testosterone levels in men
  • gestational diabetes in pregnant women

How Is The Prediabetes Diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about a few symptoms that are generally experienced when you have diabetes. These includes:

  • increased thirst
  • excessive urination
  • tiredness
  • fatigue
  • inability to concentrate
  • sudden fluctuations in body weight
  • darkening of the skin in areas that include knees, neck, elbows, and knuckles.
  • slow healing of wounds
  • blurred vision

If you relate to these symptoms, then he will ask you to perform a few medical tests to gain more clarity on this situation. To check whether or not you are prediabetic, he may advise you to perform a fasting plasma glucose test.

Prediabetes is the initial stage of Type 2 diabetes. In this condition, the fasting blood sugar levels are found to be between 100 and 125 which is greater than the normal levels but lesser than what can lead to diabetes.

Doctors use this result to learn about the prediabetes stage and how to prevent the commencement of Type 2 diabetes. In addition to the FPG test, your doctor may even advise you to perform an A1C test, that evaluates blood sugar over the last three months. If the findings are between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, then it is an indication of prediabetes.

Both these tests, are important for the confirmation of prediabetes. Nowadays, you can easily buy a blood glucose monitor at local and online stores to check your blood sugar levels. This device is an easy way to self-examine your blood glucose levels in the comfort of your home.

Is It Possible To Reverse Prediabetes?

Yes. A prediabetes detection does not guarantee that you will develop Type 2 diabetes but it is a warning signal. Each one of us can reverse this disease or prevent pre-diabetes from becoming diabetes. One of the best ways to do it is to eat healthy food, inculcate a healthy lifestyle and perform regular exercise.  If you begin to manage diabetes at an early stage, you can further reduce the possibilities of this disease.

Importance Of The Prediabetes Diet

Bringing your blood glucose levels to a healthy range is the objective of a prediabetic meal. This diet is designed in a way so that you consume less amount of sugar in a day. It includes food that is healthy, low in fiber, high in fiber, and has a slow to moderate Glycemic index.

When you are on this diet, you will have to strike a proper balance between your eating habits and temptations. A prediabetic diet is a road to a disease-free body and fulfilling life.  It is a good habit that the sooner you start the better it will be for your body.

Here are a few instructions to design your prediabetic meal:

1. Follow a diet with plenty of dietary fiber.

Fiber helps in keeping you fuller for a longer duration. In this way, it prevents untimely food cravings and keeps the calorie count within permissible limits in your body. Some of the high fiber foods that you should include in your diet are vegetables, fruits, seeds, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.

2. Eat clean

Clean eating implies that the foods you incorporate in your diet should be rich in nutrition and low in calories. All low calorie and negative calorie foods, healthy fats, complex and slow-digesting carbs, low-GI foods come under this category. Examples of such foods are lean meats, fruits with complex carbohydrates, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, that includes fish and avocado.

Refrain from processed, refined, sugary, and oily foods that provide empty calories and have no nutrition in them. Avoid red meat and dairy items as they are high in saturated fats. Incorporation of healthy sources of food, help in the restoration of normal blood glucose levels.

3. Eat Complex Carbs in Fewer Amounts

When you are on a prediabetes diet, you need to be very watchful on the number of carbs that you consume. This is because when you consume carbs, it gets metabolized in the body and releases sugar in the bloodstream. The main goal of a prediabetes diet is to stabilize sugar levels in the blood.

Due to this reason, you would not want your sugar levels to go suddenly up or down. Eating healthy carbs in the right amounts is the key. Unprocessed carbs are advised in a pre-diabetic meal. These include whole grains, rolled or steel-cut oats, barley, different types of beans, brown rice, brown bread, etc.

Eliminate or reduce refined carbs from your diet as these carbs get digested quickly and increase sugar levels in the blood. Due to quick digestion, you feel hungry again. Eliminating these foods, helps in the prevention of drastic sugar spikes in the blood.

This leads to overeating and calorie gain. Some of the examples of simple carbs are:

  • all types of processed foods,
  • sweetened fruit juices,
  • specific fruits like pineapple, ripe banana and mango, and jackfruit,
  • foods made from refined flour,
  • refined oils, coconut oil, palm oil, canola oil,
  • white rice,
  • pizza dough,
  • breakfast cereals,
  • white bread, pastries,
  • white bread,
  • junk food,
  • salted and fried nuts,
  • nut butter,
  • fatty meat,
  • sugary drinks,
  • full-fat dairy products, and
  • Consume foods that have low Glycemic Index

The knowledge of GI (glycemic index) of food holds immense importance for any diabetic. This index is associated with the carbohydrate content of the food. The GI index of a food is based on how quickly a food gets digested in the body and raises the blood sugar levels. Different foods have different GI index. Foods that have simple and quick digesting carbs have a high Glycemic index. The GI value of these foods is above 70 on a GI scale of 1 to 100.   On the other hand, foods that digest and release sugar in the bloodstream slowly and gradually fall into the category of GI foods. These are complex and slow-digesting carbohydrates. The GI value of these foods is below 55 on a GI scale of 1 to 100.

The pre-diabetes meal focusses on including only low GI foods and eliminating high GI foods from the diet. Foods that fall within the range of 55 to 70 on a GI scale, are considered to be moderate GI foods. These foods are safe to be eaten in low amounts on an occasional basis.

4. Consider the timing of the meal

In addition to the quality and amount of food, it is also important the time at which you eat your food. Eat heavy meals in the first half of the day (between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and take lighter meals in the latter half of the day (between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.). It is also advised to eat smaller and properly-portioned meals four to six times a day. This will maintain the right blood glucose levels, keep your metabolism active, and help you burn calories continuously.

5. Eat regular meals

If you want to regularize blood sugar levels, then you will need to eat meals at regular periods. Fasting is not advised in this condition as it can lead to significant fluctuations in blood glucose levels. At the time of designing a meal, you should ensure that it is composed of the right amounts of protein, carbs and fats in it.

6. When Dining out

Being prediabetes, does not imply that you can’t dine out. But you need to follow healthier choices and practices. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy dining outside with friends while adhering to your diet goals are:

  • Encourage your family and friends to make healthy food selections while ordering at a restaurant.
  • Choose a low-fat salad preferably without high calorie dressing. You can opt for herbs, spices, a little olive oil, lemon juices to make it more appetizing.
  • Avoid going to buffets.
  • Go for fresh ingredients than quantity.
  • Choose a restaurant that lists calorie content against the name of the dish in its food menu. This will make it easier for you to make the right food selections
  • Opt for lemonade, in place of alcohol or soda.
  • Stay adequately hydrated

Water helps regulate blood sugar levels, and is a healthy alternative for calorie-dense fruit juices and sodas. So, make it a point to drink 10 to 12 glasses of water daily.

7. Make Positive Changes In Your Lifestyle

a. Lose excess weight

One of the important reasons for prediabetes is a sedentary lifestyle or inactivity. If you want to reverse this condition, then you should perform thirty minutes of exercise five times a week. As per the American Diabetes Association, exercise can help keep reduce blood sugar levels for around 24 hours after the completion of the workout.

Deposition of fat around the belly region, and excess body weight can lead to not just pre-diabetes but also several other health conditions. Losing an inch of waist size can improve blood sugar levels and reverse prediabetes.

Regular exercise will help you shed excess weight, uplift mood, improve immunity levels, reduce body fat percentage, make you energetic, feel better emotionally, improve insulin sensitivity, and normalize blood sugar levels.

Exercises that may help include:

  • swimming
  • running
  • strength training
  • brisk walking
  • walking
  • cycling
  • jogging
  • aerobics
  • power yoga
  • zumba
  • playing sports

Choose the type of workout routine that you find convenient as well as enjoyable.

b. Stop smoking and alcohol consumption

Smoking and alcohol consumption are the two key risk factors for prediabetes, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes in the body. So, your goal should be to slowly reduce and ultimately stop these unhealthy habits completely.

c. Regularize your sleep pattern

Sound sleep helps in improving insulin resistance in the body. It is necessary for the effective management of the entire body.  So, ensure that you take seven to eight hours of peaceful sleep daily.

d. Take the required medicines

In addition to the above positive lifestyle modifications, you should take the prescribed medicines at the right time to manage blood glucose levels effectively.

How To Design A Pre-Diabetic Meal?

The right balance of the different food groups is necessary to ensure your body is getting an adequate amount of nutrition. Many health experts advise people to follow the plate method that consists of:

  • ½ cup vegetable, ¼ cup protein food, that includes lean meat, and ¼ cup carbs that includes quinoa, and rice
  • a minimum of two servings of ½ cup vegetables,
  • ¼ cup of white meat, or fish
  • ¼ cup carbs, that include rice, bread, potatoes, and pasta
  • low-fat milk
  • one fruit

Each meal should comprise of minimum 3 out of the 4 primary food groups that include

  • fruit and vegetables
  • whole grains and grain products
  • milk
  • protein sources such as meat, lentils, or fish

Conclusion

It doesn’t take much time for a person to become a diabetic from a prediabetic stage. Without proper care in terms of diet, and workout, you become more susceptible to become a diabetic. By becoming serious about your health and making positive changes in your diet and lifestyle, you can prevent this chronic ailment to a greater extent.

However, you have to take fast action at your end to prevent the progression and reverse the condition. Know that everybody is unique and no one size fits all. So, it is important to consult the doctor and a nutritionist to get a personalized pre-diabetes plan that serves your health goals effectively.

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