In addition to the millions of adults with diabetes, another 57 million adults have “pre-diabetes.” (7) This early warning sign is characterized by high blood sugar levels on a glucose tolerance test or a fasting glucose test. Whether pre-diabetes expands into full-blown type 2 diabetes is largely up to the individual. Making changes in weight, exercise, and diet can not only prevent pre-diabetes from becoming diabetes, but can also return blood glucose levels to the normal range.
But some pleasant news: When consumed in moderation and made with whole ingredients and without added sugar, fruit smoothies can be a good food for diabetes. Consider stocking your fridge with unsweetened frozen fruit so you can whip up one in a hurry for breakfast. Adding ingredients with protein, such as yogurt or a small amount of nut butter, will also help your body break down the carbohydrates more slowly, leading to less of a spike in blood sugar.
In the picture to the right you can see the lunch that I was unbelievably served at the 11th International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm 2010. This is a major international conference for obesity doctors and scientists. The food contains almost exclusively energy from sugar and starches, things that are broken down to simple sugars in the stomach.
Veggies, first: Research suggests that eating vegetables and lean proteins before carbohydrates may result in a lower rise in blood sugar levels over the next few hours (as compared to eating the same foods in the opposite order). While more research is needed on this topic, it’s possible that eating protein and veggies first is delaying how fast the carbohydrates get absorbed.
What to drink in place of the sugary stuff? Water is an excellent choice. Coffee and tea are also good calorie-free substitutes for sugared beverages (as long as you don’t load them up with sugar and cream). And there’s convincing evidence that coffee may help protect against diabetes; (33, 34) emerging research suggests that tea may hold diabetes-prevention benefits as well, but more research is needed.
Foods might sometimes appear to be packaged into individual serving sizes even though they contain two or more servings per package. To determine that, look at "serving size" and "servings per container" at the top of any food label. For example, if a serving size is 1 and there are 2 servings per container, you will need to double all of the nutrient values on the label in order to get a clear picture of the value of the entire container.