Heart-healthy fish. Eat heart-healthy fish at least twice a week. Fish can be a good alternative to high-fat meats. For example, cod, tuna and halibut have less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than do meat and poultry. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health by lowering blood fats called triglycerides.
“Basic principles of good health like eating right, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight can be as effective as medicine in the management of type 2 diabetes for most people,” says Sue McLaughlin, RD, CDE, lead medical nutrition therapist at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha. That's backed up by the Look AHEAD study, a large clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The researchers found that over a four-year period, changes like eating a healthier diet and getting more exercise led to weight loss and improved diabetes control in 5,000 overweight or obese participants with type 2 diabetes.
Along with healthy eating, you can help keep your blood sugar in target range by maintaining a healthy weight. People with type 2 diabetes are often overweight or obese. Losing even 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) can help you manage your diabetes better. Eating healthy foods and staying active (for example, 60 total minutes of walking or other activity per day) can help you meet and maintain your weight loss goal.
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.
DM can be controlled through improvement in patient’s dietary knowledge, attitudes, and practices. These factors are considered as an integral part of comprehensive diabetes care.51 Although the prevalence of DM is high in gulf countries, patients are still deficient in understanding the importance of diet in diabetes management.52 Studies have shown that assessing patients’ dietary attitude may have a considerable benefit toward treatment compliance and decrease the occurrence rate of complications as well.52 A study conducted in Egypt reported that the attitude of the patients toward food, compliance to treatment, food control with and without drug use and foot care was inadequate.53 Another study presented that one-third of the diabetic patients were aware about the importance of diet planning, and limiting cholesterol intake to prevent CVD. Various studies have documented increased prevalence of eating disorders and eating disorder symptoms in T2DM patients. Most of these studies have discussed about the binge eating disorder, due to its strong correlation with obesity, a condition that leads to T2DM.53 Furthermore, a study revealed that the weight gain among diabetic patients was associated with the eating disorder due to psychological distress.54 In another study that examined eating disorder-related symptoms in T2DM patients, suggested that the dieting-bingeing sequence can be applied to diabetics, especially obese diabetic patients.55 Unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity are the leading causes of diabetes. Failure to follow a strict diet plan and workout, along with prescribed medication are leading causes of complications among patients of T2DM.56 Previous studies57 conducted in Saudi Arabia have reported that diabetic patients do not regard the advice given by their physicians regularly regarding diet planning, diet modification and exercise.
Sugars and starches that you get from your diet enter your bloodstream as a type of sugar called glucose. In prediabetes, your body has trouble managing the glucose in your blood due to resistance to a hormone called insulin. Normally, insulin is able to help your body keep blood glucose levels in check, but the effect is weaker if you have prediabetes, so blood glucose rises.
Regular exercise is an equally important part. Not only can it help you maintain your ideal body weight, it can have a direct impact on your blood glucose control. This is because insulin resistance is closely linked to increased fat and decreased muscle mass. Muscle cells use insulin far more efficiently than fat, so by building muscle and burning fat, you can help lower and better control your blood glucose levels.
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)
Recently, evidence suggested a link between the intake of soft drinks with obesity and diabetes, resulting from large amounts of high fructose corn syrup used in the manufacturing of soft drinks, which raises blood glucose levels and BMI to the dangerous levels.38 It was also stated by Assy39 that diet soft drinks contain glycated chemicals that markedly augment insulin resistance. Food intake has been strongly linked with obesity, not only related to the volume of food but also in terms of the composition and quality of diet.40 High intake of red meat, sweets and fried foods, contribute to the increased the risk of insulin resistance and T2DM.41 In contrast, an inverse correlation was observed between intake of vegetables and T2DM. Consumption of fruits and vegetables may protect the development of T2DM, as they are rich in nutrients, fiber and antioxidants which are considered as protective barrier against the diseases.42 Recently, in Japanese women, a report revealed that elevated intake of white rice was associated with an increased risk of T2DM.43 This demands an urgent need for changing lifestyle among general population and further increase the awareness of healthy diet patterns in all groups.