Many people go to the doctor and hear that their “sugar is a little high” and wonder if that means diabetes. While many things can cause your blood sugar to be higher than it should, diabetes or being at risk for diabetes (sometimes called pre-diabetes) is a major reason. The good news is that for many people, the most common form of diabetes (type 2) can be prevented by making a few healthy changes – the same changes that can also work to control diabetes if you already have it.
Eating well does not mean simply avoiding sugar. We need a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day, instead of skipping some meals and going overboard on others can also work wonders on balancing your blood sugar. Be cautious of foods labeled “sugar-free.” They may seem like a smart choice, but calories are important and many sugar-free options are not any lower in calories.
Getting 30 minutes of physical activity, at least five days per week has been shown to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Those 30 minutes don’t have to be spent doing unpleasant activities to see the benefits. Pick something you like, do it at a moderate intensity and stick with it. If your schedule is tight, you can even break it into three 10 minute blocks throughout the day.
Slide the Scale
If you have some weight to lose, every move you make in the right direction decreases the chances you will get type 2 diabetes or makes the diabetes you already have easier to control.
Please note that while healthy changes can help to prevent the most common form of diabetes (type 2), type 1 diabetes is not at this time considered preventable. Eating well and moving more are important for controlling all types of diabetes.
November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes. This year’s focus is on taking care of youth who have diabetes. Read more here.
- The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Health Information Center https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes
- 2015 Diabetes Types 1 and 2 Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guideline. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Evidence Analysis Library®. Available at https://www.andeal.org/.