Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Approximately 84 million American adults—more than 1 out of 3—have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, 90% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
The same benefits are seen when looking specifically at people with impaired prediabetes (glucose tolerance/impaired fasting glucose). When diet and exercise are used as tools in this population over a six year study and compared to a control group, glucose tolerance improves by about 76% compared to deterioration in 67% of the control group. The exercise group also had a lesser rate of progression to type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 (formerly called 'adult-onset' or 'non insulin-dependent') diabetes results when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly (this is also referred to as ‘insulin resistance’). This form of diabetes usually occurs in people who are over 40 years of age, overweight, and have a family history of diabetes, although today it is increasingly found in younger people.
Mexican researchers were finally able to isolate the unique way that it works: The plant is an inhibitor of alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme that releases sugar from foods, particularly carbohydrates. We all know that carbohydrates, especially simple carbs like sugar and foods made with white flour, are the bugaboo of people with Type 2 diabetes, so this news alone is a huge boon for people with the disease.
The process of type 2 diabetes begins years or even decades before the diagnosis of diabetes, with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the beginning of the body not dealing well with sugar, which is the breakdown product of all carbohydrates. Insulin tells certain body cells to open up and store glucose as fat. When the cells stop responding your blood sugar rises, which triggers the release of more insulin in a vicious cycle. Insulin resistance is associated with abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and low HDL ("good cholesterol"). When these occur together, it is known as metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes. It is a risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
When incorporating fiber rich foods in your diet, which helps with blood sugar control – remember to stay hydrated with enough daily water intake. Drink water with meals and snacks and keep a water bottle with you to take sips throughout the day. Staying well hydrated helps with regularity and promotes blood sugar control. Aim for 60-100 fluid ounces per day.
One of the biggest tips I discuss with my clients who are trying to manage their Diabetes is to focus on adding more fiber to their diet. We first start by adding fruits and veggies to the meals that they are already consuming. I find adding to the diet is usually an easier approach for most. Another tip is to focus on adding more whole foods, like apples with the skin versus juices or baked sweet potatoes versus the instant varieties. Along with more fruits and veggies, clients can also add fiber in the forms of nuts and seeds to meals or snacks to help with satiety and blood sugar control. One of the key points I stress to any client is to focus the balance and take it one step at a time. I don’t expect anyone to do a complete 360 on their food intake since it takes time to build new (and healthy) habits that will last long-term.
Checking your blood glucose levels several times a day helps you understand how your body responds to medications, exercise, and the foods you eat. When first starting out, keeping your glucose within a tight margin can often feel like hitting a moving target. It can suddenly spike with no reason or plummet the next day despite total adherence to your treatment.
In addition, as early as in 2008, the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare examined and approved advice on LCHF within the health care system. Advice on LCHF is, according to the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare’s review, in accordance with science and proven knowledge. In other words, certified healthcare professionals, who give such advice (for example myself) can feel completely confident.
Unlike many health conditions, diabetes is managed mostly by you, with support from your health care team (including your primary care doctor, foot doctor, dentist, eye doctor, registered dietitian nutritionist, diabetes educator, and pharmacist), family, and other important people in your life. Managing diabetes can be challenging, but everything you do to improve your health is worth it!
Medications and insulin do nothing to slow down the progression of this organ damage, because they do not eliminate the toxic sugar load from our body. We’ve known this inconvenient fact since 2008. No less than 7 multinational, multi-centre, randomized controlled trials of tight blood glucose control with medications (ACCORD, ADVANCE, VADT, ORIGIN, TECOS, ELIXA, SAVOR) failed to demonstrate reductions in heart disease, the major killer of diabetic patients. We pretended that using medications to lower blood sugar makes people healthier. But it’s only been a lie. You can’t use drugs to cure a dietary disease.
The average American eats 2 servings of produce a day and french fries and ketchup count! These colorful earthly delights provide us with so much nutrition that we would be fools not to figure out a way to enjoy them. Start with just increasing by 1 serving a week and before you know it you will have reached the recommended 9-11 servings a day. The quickest way to get a jump on more vegetables is to fill half your lunch a dinner plate with a cooked or raw vegetable. My favorite is pre-cut, washed and shredded raw cabbage salad with carrots, cherry tomatoes, avocado and little dressing.
More than half of the dialysis patients I see are type 2 diabetic – a few are type 1 (maybe 5 in a hundred) – it’s scary because when I see overweight people I think to myself if they don’t die first of heart disease they will be on dialysis. My advice now is to get our children outside playing and exercising – and watching their diets. Often fat kids grow up to be fat adults – AMEN – Peggy Harum RD, LD renal dietitian for more than 40 years
While some people attempt to manage their type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise alone, this may not work for everyone. In fact, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 16 percent of people with diabetes don't take medication, the majority of people with diabetes require insulin or oral meds at some point, often at diagnosis.
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)