If you have prediabetes, are otherwise at risk, or are concerned about developing it, the good news is that there are proven lifestyle changes that can prevent type 2 diabetes. More than 37 million people are living with diabetes, and over 90% have type 2.
There’s no better way to improve your health and lower your risk of chronic disease, including type 2 diabetes, than by working closely with a health care provider such as board-certified physician Prabhdeep Singh, MD. Specializing in internal medicine, Dr. Singh focuses on preventive strategies to keep patients healthy, strong and thriving.
Fortunately, you can take control and reduce the risk of diabetes, and here we discuss some of the most vital changes to make.
Maintain a healthy weight
The single most important cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity. You’re 93 times more likely to develop diabetes if you’re obese.
If your weight is above the healthy level, weight loss can assist. Losing just 7 to 10 percent of your weight cuts your diabetes risk in half.
Move your body
Inactivity contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes. Exercise boosts your muscles' ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. This reduces the strain on your insulin-producing cells.
You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to reap the benefits. A daily half-hour of vigorous walking reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 30%.
Watching tv is a particularly harmful form of inactivity: Every two hours spent watching television instead of engaging in physical activity increases the risk of diabetes by 20%. It also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death.
Overhaul your eating habits
Cutting back on refined carbohydrates is one of the best ways to prevent type 2 diabetes. Instead, choose slower digesting carbohydrates, which are high in fiber, such as whole grains and vegetables. Diets rich in whole grain protect against diabetes, while refined carbohydrate-rich diets increase the risk.
Whole grains contain bran and fiber, which make it more difficult for digestive enzymes to convert starches into glucose. This results in lower, more gradual increases in blood sugar and insulin and a lower glycemic index. Whole grains are also abundant in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that may lessen the risk of developing diabetes.
Like refined carbohydrates, sugary beverages cause a sharp, sudden rise in blood sugar, and drinking sugary beverages increases the risk of developing diabetes. In the Nurses' Health Study II, women who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day were 83 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, the types of fats in your diet can influence the development of diabetes. Polyunsaturated can help prevent type 2 diabetes, while saturated fats increase the risk.
In addition to cutting back on saturated fats, it’s wise to reduce your intake of red meat. In one study, a daily intake of just 3 ounces of red meat increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by 20%. Processed red meat is even worse. Two slices of bacon or one hot dog per day hike diabetes risk by more than 50%.
The good news is that replacing red meat or processed red meat with a healthier protein source, like low-fat dairy, poultry, or fish, reduces the risk of diabetes by up to 35 percent.
If you’re concerned about your diabetes risk, discuss it with Dr. Singh. Our team can provide the guidance and support to make the right changes to improve your overall health and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Call our El Centro office to get started scheduling a visit with Dr. Singh.