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How to prevent diabetes type 2 with diet

Healthy salads can help control your blood sugar levels.
Healthy salads can help control your blood sugar levels.
Photo by Neilson Barnard

When it comes to preventing diabetes, you need to make healthy food choices to control your blood-glucose levels. This typically involves choosing high-fiber carbs, limiting your sugar intake and measuring portion sizes. Taking these steps will help you avoid blood-sugar spikes and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

The non-profit organization, HelpGuide.org states that healthy eating can lead to diabetes prevention or reversal, in some cases. Either way, eating for diabetes will lead to improvements in your overall health.

Understanding Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1, and it occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to function efficiently, or when your body’s cells fails to respond to insulin produced -- this is known as insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps cells in the body absorb glucose for energy. Your genetics, a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight are diabetes risk factors. If you are pre-diabetic or at high risk, consuming a diabetes diet can help you prevent it.

Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet contains all the food sources you need to prevent diabetes and improve your heart function. The diet primarily consists of plant-based foods, such as legumes, fruits, vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice and nuts. Butter is replaced with healthy fats such as olive oil and Mediterranean food limits salt in favor of herbs and spices.

Red meat is consumed a few times a month while seafood and chicken is eaten with plant-based foods a few times a week. These food choices are low in trans fats and rich in fiber, which can help keep your blood-sugar levels under control. Nuts are contain healthy fats but high in calories; therefore limit your daily intake to a handful or less.

Preventing Diabetes
Choosing a Mediterranean diet can help prevent diabetes even without increasing your exercise or weight-loss efforts. A study published in a 2014, in an issue of “Annals of Internal Medicine” set out to discover if a Mediterranean diet can help prevent diabetes.

The researchers evaluated male and females between the ages 55 to 80, for about four years. After adjusting factors affecting the diabetic risk, the research found that the Mediterranean diet reinforced with extra-virgin olive oil reduced the risk of diabetes by 40 percent, while the Mediterranean diet with nuts produced an 18 percent reduction.

Monitor Your Calories
Consult a dietician or your doctor to discuss counting calories and controlling portion sizes, if you are pre-diabetic. Otherwise, aim to eat about five to six small meals daily, which includes healthy snacks. Learn to track your caloric intake by reading food labels and using online tools such as the USDA ChooseMyPlate.org. Losing weight will also help you prevent diabetes.

One pound of weight is equal to 3,500 calories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that reducing your calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories daily is a healthy way to lose weight. Additionally perform at least 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise with workouts such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling and dancing to help create a calorie deficit and prevent diabetes.