More than 100 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, and one in three Americans have pre-diabetes. Diabetes is a group of diseases in which the body's ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired. Ann Albright, PhD., RD., and director of the CDC's Division of Diabetes translation has said, "Diabetes is costly in both human and economic terms. It's urgent that we take swift action to prevent this serious disease." In order to prevent the development of diabetes, it is important to know what puts a person at risk for diabetes, and how to protect against these risks. If a person already has diabetes, it is important to know what to do to manage the disease, and to prevent its development.
Type 2 diabetes - a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar.
Type 1 diabetes - a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
Pre-diabetes - a condition in which blood sugar is high but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
Gestational diabetes - a form of high blood sugar affecting pregnant women.
Diabetes Prevention and Management
1. Get Moving
Research shows that exercise can help prevent and control diabetes by improving insulin resistance and reducing excess body fat. High intensity interval training and weight training are especially beneficial for fat loss, muscle growth and insulin sensitivity improvement.
2. Minimize Sugar
The recommended daily amount of sugar for adult women is 22 grams per day, for men, 36 grams daily, and for children, 12 grams. Keep added sugar to a minimum by choosing fruit over sugar sweetened treats, and by reading nutrition labels to ensure that you are staying within daily guidelines when consuming sweets. Sugar cravings can be caused by an imbalance in intestinal bacteria, so taking a high quality probiotic may be a good way to curb sugar cravings.
3. Pair Food Correctly
One way to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes is to pair carbohydrates, which are known to spike blood sugar, with protein and fat. The fat and protein lower the glycemic impact, and help keep blood sugar levels stable. For example, eating a banana with peanut butter is a great way to prevent the blood sugar spikes that come from eating a banana alone.
4. Eat More Grains and Fiber
Fiber helps and prevent insulin spikes and lower blood sugar, so aiming to eat around 30 grams of fiber a day is a great way to prevent damaging glucose spikes. Natural fiber that is found in fruit, vegetables, legumes and grains are all a good choice. Whole grains, such as whole wheat, sweet corn, brown rice, millet, flax and quinoa are excellent choices for those wanting to lower diabetes-associated risks.