Q&A: Preventing Diabetes

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Filed Under: Q&As, Blood Sugar
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Diabetes runs in my family, and my doctor has expressed concern. What can I do to prevent this disease?


I’m glad to see you’re taking a proactive stance regarding diabetes, because its incidence is climbing, rising hand-in-hand with America’s increasing rates of obesity. Diabetes is an insidious disease that dramatically increases risk of vision loss, kidney disease, lower extremity amputations, and premature death from heart disease. The good news is that research shows that type 2 diabetes can be prevented with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and weight loss.

Dietary fiber is an important factor in diabetes prevention and control, so start with a fiber-rich diet with lots of vegetables and legumes and modest amounts of fruit. At the same time, go easy on starchy foods such as potatoes and anything made with white flour or sugar. In addition to driving up blood sugar, these foods also contribute to weight gain, a significant risk factor for diabetes. Also include lean chicken, fish, or soy with most meals, along with healthy, non-processed fats from raw nuts and seeds and olive oil.

Exercise is also imperative. No matter what shape you’re in, find a way to exercise regularly. Thirty to 45 minutes of activity most days of the week will make a surprising difference in your health, weight, insulin sensitivity, and risk of disease, including diabetes.

Deficiencies in certain nutrients can also tax blood sugar-regulating mechanisms, so make sure you’re taking a high-potency daily multivitamin and mineral supplement as well.

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