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.
There is convincing evidence that diets rich in whole grains protect against diabetes, whereas diets rich in refined carbohydrates lead to increased risk (53). In the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II, for example, researchers looked at the whole grain consumption of more than 160,000 women whose health and dietary habits were followed for up to 18 years. Women who averaged two to three servings of whole grains a day were 30 percent less likely to have developed type 2 diabetes than those who rarely ate whole grains. (21) When the researchers combined these results with those of several other large studies, they found that eating an extra 2 servings of whole grains a day decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 percent.
We tend to hear much emphasis on calories, carbohydrate counting and the glycemic index when asking about type 2 diabetes management through diet. The most often forgotten nutrient for health is the most important: water. Many of our clients with type 2 diabetes are on the run and may remember to eat, yet do not take adequate time for drinking calorie-free, caffeine-free beverages to rehydrate. Since our bodies are comprised of nearly 70% water, it makes good sense to take in fluids daily to balance out our needs. Sometimes the recommended “8, 8 ounces of water per day” is not enough. A quick assessment of the color of urine coming out, depending on vitamin supplements and medications, can help determine what the right amount of liquid is daily. The lighter the color, the better!
There are two main tips I tell people to help control their type two diabetes. First of all, start the day with a breakfast with some complex carbohydrates AND some lean protein! Many people make the mistake of skipping breakfast or eating a higher sugar one which starts the day off on the wrong foot. Aim for complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, fruit, whole grain toast or high fiber English muffins paired with lean protein such as peanut butter, eggs, or Greek yogurt.
The problem, of course, has not been solved – the sugar bowl is still overflowing. You’ve only moved sugar from the blood (where you could see it) into the body (where you couldn’t see it). So, the very next time you eat, the exact same thing happens. Sugar comes in, spills out into the blood and you take metformin to cram the sugar back into the body. This works for a while, but eventually, the body fills up with sugar, too. Now, that same dose of metformin cannot force any more sugar into the body.
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Aside from managing your diabetes, a diabetes diet offers other benefits, too. Because a diabetes diet recommends generous amounts of fruits, vegetables and fiber, following it is likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. And consuming low-fat dairy products can reduce your risk of low bone mass in the future.
Encourage lots of physical activity. Staying active and limiting the time spent in sedentary activities — like watching TV, being online, or playing video or computer games — can help reduce the risk of weight gain and help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Being active can be as simple as walking the dog or mowing the lawn. Try to do something that gets you and your kids moving every day.
A common recommendation for preventing diabetes is “eat healthy and lose weight.” But that advice is extremely broad. What does that even mean? One person’s interpretation of how to eat healthy could be entirely different from the next. And some tactics people might try in order to lose weight can be counterproductive and increase the risk of diabetes instead.
Among 85,000 married female nurses, 3,300 developed type 2 diabetes over a 16-year period. Women in the low-risk group were 90 percent less likely to have developed diabetes than the rest of the women. Low-risk meant a healthy weight (body mass index less than 25), a healthy diet, 30 minutes or more of exercise daily, no smoking, and having about three alcoholic drinks per week.