Diabetes is one of the major health risks facing Americans and is linked to many other conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Perhaps you’ve heard the term “prediabetes” and think of that as a heightened risk or warning sign on the way to diabetes. But our experts believe it’s much more and there are many things we can do to prevent or manage diabetes. In this episode we’ll learn what we can do to live better before, or after we are diagnosed with this condition.
- CJ Anderson, Adventist Health
- Cheryl Ortner, RN, CDE
- Jessica Richards, MS, RD, LD, CDE
- Leonard Bertheau, DO
So what is Prediabetes? Don’t think of it as “boarderline diabetic” or “a touch of high blood sugar.” There is a physiological change in the body that is preventing sugar from being processed normally. Prediabetes is diagnosed through blood sugar or A1C levels that are outside the normal range, but below the diabetic rage in multiple tests over time. More than just a one-time incident of high blood sugar.
The American Diabetes Association suggests thinking of Prediabetes as “diabetes light.” It’s really just an arbitrary line we have placed in the spectrum of a disease. You are closer to diabetes than you are to normal. It’s something to take seriously and that won’t get better without action.
When you are at the low end of the disease process it’s time to hit it fast and hit it hard for the best long-term results. Fight back with diet and exercise.
Diet for those diagnosed with Prediabetes
- Sugar is just one part of the equation. Saturated fat (meats and dairly) can prevent the insulin our bodies produce from working effectively. With ineffective insulin even small amounts of healthy sugars (fruits and berries) can cause problems.
- Sugar is sneaky. Organic sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, agave nectar are all sugars. When your body is unable to process sugar normally all these things will cause problems. Even juice quickly raises your blood sugar.
- Do you know how various foods you like to eat affect your blood sugar? If you have risk in this area it’s a good idea to test your blood sugar randomly to see how some of your favorite things to eat might be putting you at risk.
- Don’t forget liquid calories. They’re not filling, but they still count. Even “healthy” drinks like fruit smoothies count. In fact, blending up fruit makes it “processed.” Your making the sugar from that fruit much easier for your body to absorb, raising your blood sugar faster. Instead, eat foods
- It’s not just about your meals. It’s everything you put in your body throughout the day.
A quick guide for healthy foods
Does this look like a plant? Could you walk out in nature and find this? If not you’ll need to do a lot more research to see what ingredients are in it and think about how it will affect you. Most whole plant-based foods are very low in saturated fat and high in fiber.
Don’t forget exercise The ADA recommends 30-60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (this includes walking) 6-7 days a week. The key is doing something every day. Start with the goal of just doing something every day and build on it. Exercise helps your insulin work more effectively and can contribute to weight loss, which also helps to control blood sugar.
Resources for prediabetes:
FREE Class on Prediabetes (Wednesday, October 7, 2015)
Author: LivingWell PDX Blog
Adventist Health is committed to creating a healthier Portland community.