Although the genes you inherit may influence the development of type 2 diabetes, they take a back seat to behavioral and lifestyle factors. Data from the Nurses’ Health Study suggest that 90 percent of type 2 diabetes in women can be attributed to five such factors: excess weight, lack of exercise, a less-than-healthy diet, smoking, and abstaining from alcohol. (8)
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Some people who have type 2 diabetes can achieve their target blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone, but many also need diabetes medications or insulin therapy. The decision about which medications are best depends on many factors, including your blood sugar level and any other health problems you have. Your doctor might combine drugs from different classes to help you control your blood sugar in several different ways.
In reality, when people in a study followed the Paleolithic diet, it turned out the diet was lower in total energy, energy density, carbohydrates, dietary glycemic load, fiber, saturated fatty acids, and calcium; but higher in unsaturated fatty acids (good fats), dietary cholesterol, and several vitamins and minerals. Research also demonstrates that people with diabetes are less hungry, have more stable blood sugar, and feel better with lower carbohydrate diets.
Losing weight and keeping it off. Weight control is an important part of diabetes prevention. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose between 10 to 20 pounds. And once you lose the weight, it is important that you don't gain it back.
Why do red meat and processed red meat appear to boost diabetes risk? It may be that the high iron content of red meat diminishes insulin’s effectiveness or damages the cells that produce insulin; the high levels of sodium and nitrites (preservatives) in processed red meats may also be to blame. Red and processed meats are a hallmark of the unhealthful “Western” dietary pattern, which seems to trigger diabetes in people who are already at genetic risk. (44)

Check your risk of diabetes. Take the Life! risk assessment test and learn more about your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A 12+ score indicates that you are at high risk and may be eligible for the Life! program - a free Victorian lifestyle modification program that helps you reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, or call 13 RISK (13 7475).
The glycemic index identifies foods that increase blood sugar rapidly. This handy tool allows you to favor foods that have much less effect on blood sugar. High-glycemic-index foods include sugar itself, white potatoes, most wheat flour products, and most cold cereals, e.g., pumpernickel, rye, multigrain, or sourdough bread, old-fashioned oatmeal, bran cereals, grape-nuts, most fruits, sweet potatoes, pasta, rice, barley, couscous, beans, peas, lentils, most vegetables [Table 1].

Medications in this drug class may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with a high risk of those conditions. Side effects may include vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, low blood pressure, and a higher risk of diabetic ketoacidosis. Canagliflozin, but not the other drugs in the class, has been associated with increased risk of lower limb amputation.
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Chong points to previous research in Circulation that describes the underlying mechanisms of sleep apnea. In people with sleep apnea, activation of the sympathetic nervous system — including increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and constriction of blood vessels — all led to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, which can be compounded in people who have type 2 diabetes (and thus already have a higher risk of heart disease).

There is no single best diet plan for prediabetes. If you ask 100 people, “What is the best diet for prediabetes?,” you may get 100 different answers – and they may all be correct. Your plan should help you control your weight, provide the nutrients and healthy foods you need to lower risk for diabetes and other chronic diseases, and fit into your lifestyle so that you can make it work for the long term.


Diabetes prevention is as basic as eating more healthfully, becoming more physically active and losing a few extra pounds. It's never too late to start. Making a few simple changes in your lifestyle now may help you avoid the serious health complications of diabetes down the road, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage. Consider the latest diabetes prevention tips from the American Diabetes Association.
Each person needs individualized treatment. Type-1 diabetes always requires insulin, diet, and exercise. Type-2 diabetics require insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents (medication that helps lower blood sugar), if diet and exercise alone fail to lower blood glucose. If you have diabetes, you need to have a medical team (doctor, nutritionist, and health educator or nurse) working with you. Whichever type of diabetes you have, the key to proper control is balancing the glucose and the insulin in the blood. This means adjusting your diet, activity, and sometimes taking medication.[29,30]
Even if you have not been told that you have prediabetes, you could be worried about it, since 90% of the people with prediabetes are unaware that they have it. You are at higher risk if you are over 45 years old, do not get much exercise, have a family history of diabetes, or are African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander.
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