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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Diabetes Prevention

November is American Diabetes Month, so I thought it was fitting to talk about what you can do to prevent diabetes.

Incidence of diabetes has been on a dramatic rise for years. The American Diabetes Association reports that 21 Million Americans have diabetes and another 54 Million are at risk. Wonder what your risk is? Click here to take a Diabetes Risk Test.

How can you reduce our risk?
  • Maintain a healthy weight. It is no coincidence that incidence of diabetes has increased as incidence of obesity has increased. If your "ideal" weight is unrealistic for you, at least work on losing 10-20 pounds. Even modest weight loss can have profound impact on your health.
  • Eat light and eat often. Keeping your glucose consistent throughout the day is one of the best nutritional habits to prevent diabetes. Do not skip meals. Do not overeat at meals. Have three small meals and three snacks daily to spread out your calories and therefore blood glucose throughout the day.
  • Limit concentrated sweets. It is a myth that eating sugar causes diabetes. Your body does not have a certain threshold for sugar that all of a sudden you will get diabetes eating your 1,000th cookie. However, limiting simple sugars is a good nutritional practice and can help to keep your blood sugar under good daily control.
  • Choose foods with a low glycemic index. Even foods we think are healthy like pretzels can have a strong impact on blood sugar when eaten by themselves. Choose whole grains instead of refined grains and look for fiber and protein in snack foods.
  • Move more. Exercise is like natural insulin--the more you move the more you use excess glucose in your bloodstream. Look for every opportunity in your day to get more daily activity in addition to daily exercise.
In addition to the lifestyle modifications above, make sure that you have a yearly physical with your physician. Part of the yearly bloodwork he or she does should include a fasting blood glucose. Staying on top of your fasting glucose yearly will help you to see if it is creeping up well before you suddenly realize you are diabetic. If you do find that it is getting higher year after year, seek the help of a Registered Dietitian to create an individualized eating plan to help you prevent becoming diabetic.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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