Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and physical inactivity. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes also increases as people grow older. People who are over 40 and overweight are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, although the incidence of this type of diabetes in adolescents is growing. Diabetes is more common among Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders. Also, people who develop diabetes while pregnant (a condition called gestational diabetes) are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.


A growing body of evidence links moderate alcohol consumption with reduced risk of heart disease. The same may be true for type 2 diabetes. Moderate amounts of alcohol—up to a drink a day for women, up to two drinks a day for men—increases the efficiency of insulin at getting glucose inside cells. And some studies indicate that moderate alcohol consumption decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes. (8, 46–51) If you already drink alcohol, the key is to keep your consumption in the moderate range, as higher amounts of alcohol could increase diabetes risk. (52) If you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no need to start—you can get the same benefits by losing weight, exercising more, and changing your eating patterns.
The first step is to eliminate all sugar and refined starches from your diet. Sugar has no nutritional value and can therefore be eliminated. Starches are simply long chains of sugars. Highly refined starches such as flour or white rice are quickly broken down by digestion into glucose. This is quickly absorbed into the blood and raises blood sugar. For example, eating white bread increases blood sugars very quickly.
How do sugary drinks lead to this increased risk? Weight gain may explain the link: In both the Nurses’ Health Study II and the Black Women’s Health Study, women who increased their consumption of sugary drinks gained more weight than women who cut back on sugary drinks. (26, 28) Several studies show that children and adults who drink soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages are more likely to gain weight than those who don’t, (28, 30) and that switching from these to water or unsweetened beverages can reduce weight. (31) Even so, however, weight gain caused by sugary drinks may not completely explain the increased diabetes risk.  There is mounting evidence that sugary drinks contribute to chronic inflammation, high triglycerides, decreased “good” (HDL) cholesterol, and increased insulin resistance, all of which are risk factors for diabetes. (32)
Although we cannot change your genetic risk for developing type 2 diabetes, we do know that even modest exercise and weight loss can delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. A landmark research study in the United States, the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was completed in 2002 and showed that when people modified their risk factors for type 2 diabetes, they reduced their chance of developing the condition. Similar results have been shown in Finland.
According to American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendations, it may be appropriate for people with type 2 diabetes whose A1Cs are close to target to manage diabetes with lifestyle changes alone for three to six months—provided their doctor deems them "highly motivated." If that doesn't work, metformin is typically the first in a long list of type 2 blood glucose–lowering medications to add to the diet and exercise plan.

Paleolithic diets include a moderate amount of protein, and have gained a lot of attention recently. The theory behind this dietary pattern is that our genetic background has not evolved to meet our modern lifestyle of calorically dense convenience foods and limited activity, and that returning to a hunter-gatherer way of eating will work better with human physiology. This has been studied in a few small trials, and it does seem beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
A good way to make sure you get all the nutrients you need during meals is to use the plate method. This is a visual food guide that helps you choose the best types and right amounts of food to eat. It encourages larger portions of non-starchy vegetables (half the plate) and moderate portions of protein (one quarter of the plate) and starch (one quarter of the plate). You can find more information about the plate method at the American Diabetes Association website: www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/create-your-plate/.
At each meal and snack pair carbohydrates with a protein and heart healthy fat. For meals make half your plate vegetables (raw, steamed or sautéed in a heart healthy oil like olive oil),a quarter lean protein (think less legs are better – choose fish, chicken, pork and have beef (aka red meat) on occasion), the remaining quarter of your plate should be from grains, preferably whole (i.e. quinoa, couscous, rice or even a baked potato- just go easy on the butter and sour cream). Some snack ideas include pairing fruit or vegetable with a protein, such as a banana or apple with peanut butter, raw vegetables (carrots, bell or sweet pepper strips, snap peas, celery) with hummus or even whole grain crackers with a low-fat cheese or plain yogurt with added fruit.

It’s no secret that diet is essential to managing type 2 diabetes. Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all diet for diabetes management, certain dietary choices should act as the foundation for your individual diet plan. Your diet plan should work with your body — not against it — so it’s important that the food you eat won’t spike your blood sugar levels to high.
At each meal and snack pair carbohydrates with a protein and heart healthy fat. For meals make half your plate vegetables (raw, steamed or sautéed in a heart healthy oil like olive oil),a quarter lean protein (think less legs are better – choose fish, chicken, pork and have beef (aka red meat) on occasion), the remaining quarter of your plate should be from grains, preferably whole (i.e. quinoa, couscous, rice or even a baked potato- just go easy on the butter and sour cream). Some snack ideas include pairing fruit or vegetable with a protein, such as a banana or apple with peanut butter, raw vegetables (carrots, bell or sweet pepper strips, snap peas, celery) with hummus or even whole grain crackers with a low-fat cheese or plain yogurt with added fruit.
The first step is to eliminate all sugar and refined starches from your diet. Sugar has no nutritional value and can therefore be eliminated. Starches are simply long chains of sugars. Highly refined starches such as flour or white rice are quickly broken down by digestion into glucose. This is quickly absorbed into the blood and raises blood sugar. For example, eating white bread increases blood sugars very quickly.
Eat healthy foods. Plan meals that limit (not eliminate) foods that contain carbohydrates, which raise your blood sugar. Carbohydrates include starches, fruits, milk, yogurt, starchy vegetables (corn, peas, potatoes) and sweets. “Substitute more non-starchy vegetables into your meals to stay satisfied for fewer carbohydrates and calories,” Compston says.
Long bouts of hot, sweaty exercise aren’t necessary to reap this benefit. Findings from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study suggest that walking briskly for a half hour every day reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 percent. (18, 19) More recently, The Black Women’s Health Study reported similar diabetes-prevention benefits for brisk walking of more than 5 hours per week. (20) This amount of exercise has a variety of other benefits as well. And even greater cardiovascular and other advantages can be attained by more, and more intense, exercise.
Eat healthy foods. Plan meals that limit (not eliminate) foods that contain carbohydrates, which raise your blood sugar. Carbohydrates include starches, fruits, milk, yogurt, starchy vegetables (corn, peas, potatoes) and sweets. “Substitute more non-starchy vegetables into your meals to stay satisfied for fewer carbohydrates and calories,” Compston says.

Diet becomes a critical issue when dealing with disease processes. When exploring dietary factors as a contributor to disease processes, one must take a number of things into account, for example, is it the specific food itself or the weight gain associated with its consumption that causes the risk? Is it the food, or the age/lifestyle of those consuming it that causes the risk? While cinnamon, coffee, and fenugreek seeds are among the many food products that some feel are associated with development/prevention of diabetes, none of these claims have truly been fully scientifically evaluated.
Diet becomes a critical issue when dealing with disease processes. When exploring dietary factors as a contributor to disease processes, one must take a number of things into account, for example, is it the specific food itself or the weight gain associated with its consumption that causes the risk? Is it the food, or the age/lifestyle of those consuming it that causes the risk? While cinnamon, coffee, and fenugreek seeds are among the many food products that some feel are associated with development/prevention of diabetes, none of these claims have truly been fully scientifically evaluated.
It’s best to get fiber from food. But if you can’t get enough, then taking fiber supplements can help. Examples include psyllium, methylcellulose, wheat dextrin, and calcium polycarbophil. If you take a fiber supplement, increase the amount you take slowly. This can help prevent gas and cramping. It’s also important to drink enough liquids when you increase your fiber intake.
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