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A Guide for Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are becoming more and more prevalent in our society, but the good news is that there are simple things you can do to keep you less susceptible to it. In about nine of 10 cases of type 2 diabetes in the United States can be prevented by making a few lifestyle changes. Bonus is these same lifestyle changes can also go a long way to preventing heart disease and certain cancers. If you are ready to jump on the preventative care train, we have a few things you can start doing today to lower your risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. (It should be noted that even if you already fall into the diabetic category these lifestyle changes are still useful in helping to control your symptoms.)

If you are worried about developing diabetes, the first and best thing you can do is to keep your weight in check. Excess weight is by far and large the most important factor in developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, your odds go up 20-40% of eventually having type 2 diabetes if you are overweight. The good news? Simply losing 10% of your current weight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half.

To start shedding any weight you need to; it is important for you to start adopting a more active lifestyle. Rather than watching TV at night go for a walk or use a stationary bike while you watch your favorite shows to unwind. There are a lot of easy swaps you can make to get moving, but the most important thing is to pick what will work for you. Inactivity promotes type 2 diabetes but working your muscles regularly and increasing the difficulty helps improve their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. Remember, you don’t have to be a workout champ to start reaping benefits. A brisk walk for half an hour a day will cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30%.

While you are moving more, a few dietary changes will be in order as well. Making just five dietary swaps can have a huge impact on whether you develop type 2 diabetes or not.

  1. Choose whole grains over refined grains and other highly processed carbohydrates.

  2. Skip sodas and other high sugar drinks and stick with tried-and-true water, coffee or tea.

  3. Healthy fats like various fish, avocados and nuts will keep you fuller longer.

  4. Limit your red meat and processed meat intake.

  5. Find a balance with your alcohol consumption. A moderate amount of spirits can actually be helpful in your quest to stave off type 2 diabetes—just don’t over-do it!

This last tip should go without saying, but just in case…don’t smoke and if you do smoke now is a good time to quit. Smokers are roughly 50% more likely to develop diabetes and if you are a heavy smoker your risk goes up from there.

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