How Can I Prevent Diabetes?
Learn how diet, exercise, and weight loss can help you avoid type 2 diabetes
If you have risk factors for type 2 diabetes or have been diagnosed with one of the conditions that often lead to diabetes, it’s essential that you begin taking steps to prevent development of the disease.
In most cases, a few adjustments in how you go about daily life can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They include:
Maintain a Healthy Weight
One of the most important things you can do to prevent diabetes and many of its related complications is to maintain a healthy weight. This is best accomplished by following a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise.
But how do you know what your ideal weight should be?
One recommended guideline is waist circumference. To determine yours, measure your bare waist at its narrowest point. For men, this will be right at the navel, and for women, about an inch below the navel. Men should aim for a waist circumference of less than 37 inches and women less than 34.5 inches. Anything over that puts you in the danger zone.
Another tool physicians and researchers use is the body mass index (BMI). Taking into account your height and weight, your BMI provides an estimation of your ratio of lean muscle mass to body fat. The healthy range is 18.5 to 24.9. If your BMI is above 25, you will benefit from weight loss, and a reduction may be all you need to get your glucose under control.
One caveat: BMI not always accurate. If you’re exceptionally muscular, for example, you may have a high BMI even though you are not obese. Overall, however, it’s a useful guide for appropriate weight.
Follow a Diabetic Diet
- Eat plenty of vegetables and legumes (beans).
- Eat lean protein, such as fish, poultry, and tofu.
- Eat healthful fats, which can be found in cold-water fish, raw nuts and seeds, and extra-virgin olive oil.
- Eat modest amounts of fruit (one to two servings per day).
- Follow a mini-fast.
- Eat too many processed foods.
- Eat a lot of red meat (limit to one serving per week).
- Eat carbohydrate-dense, starchy foods such as pasta, cereals, and other grain-based foods.
- Use sugar or artificial sweeteners to enhance the flavor of food, or consume products that contain these ingredients.
Regular exercise is a must if you want to maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of diabetes. Aerobic exercise lowers blood sugar and burns calories, and resistance training (weightlifting) builds muscle and improves long-term insulin sensitivity.
You don’t have to run marathons—just get active. Brisk walking is one of the easiest exercises, and walking after meals in particular helps lower glucose levels by clearing glucose out of the bloodstream. Studies have also shown that regular exercise resets your body’s thermostat for hours after you stop exercising—which is precisely what you want. Exercise vigorously for at least 30–45 minutes four or more days per week.
More Dr. Whitaker Advice on Diabetes
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Meet Dr. Whitaker
For more than 30 years, Dr. Julian Whitaker has helped people regain their health with a combination of therapeutic lifestyle changes, targeted nutritional support, and other cutting-edge natural therapies. He is widely known for treating diabetes, but also routinely treats heart disease and other degenerative diseases. More About Dr. Whitaker
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