Let us help you answer all of your question as we March Towards Better Health with Diabetes Awareness!
Diabetes is a chronic disease that causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal. There is Type 1 Diabetes which is not preventable as well as a Type 2 Diabetes which can be prevented with taking care of your body through staying active and healthy.
But can you stop Diabetes? While Diabetes has no cure, Prediabetes can be reversed. Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. More than 86 million Americans have Prediabetes and are at risk of developing diabetes1. Uncontrolled cases can cause blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and other serious conditions. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US.
We all love sugary foods, but the key is in moderation and being smart about food consumption, eating sugary foods and refined carbs can put at-risk individuals on the fast track to developing diabetes. These foods are easily broken down by your body and absorbed straight into your bloodstream which results in a rise in blood pressure. In order to combat this rise in blood pressure your body sends a signal to the pancreas to produce more insulin which can bring blood pressure down to normal levels. However constant consumption over time can lead to progressively higher blood sugar levels, leaving your body unable to catch up, which can then lead towards developing type 2 diabetes.2
If an over intake of high sugar and refined carbs puts you at risk for Diabetes, changing a few things in your diet could have a big impact. A great way to control your sugar intake is from switching from sugary flavored drinks to water. A study from the National institute of Health showed that “Those who consumed more than two servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per day had a 20% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”2 Coffee and tea are also good calorie-free substitutes for sugared beverages (as long as you don’t load them up with sugar and cream). Studies are currently being conducted to see if Coffee might even help protect against diabetes.3
Other ways to lower the risk of diabetes through eating habits
• Choose whole grains and whole grain over refined grains and highly processed carbohydrates. – In a study done by the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II, Women who averaged 2-3 servings of whole grains a day were 30% less likely to have developed type 2 diabetes than those who rarely ate whole grains.3
• Watch portion sizes - Eating too much food at one time has been shown to cause higher blood sugar and insulin levels in people at risk of diabetes2
• High fiber diet – This connects to eating whole grains, the bran and fiber in whole grains are more difficult for your body to break down into the blood stream, thereby controlling your blood sugar, slowing the rise in blood pressure and lessening stress on your body3
• Nuts and fish over meat - In a study done by the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II, those who swapped red meat out of their diet, replacing it with healthier protein sources including nuts, low fat dairy, poultry and fish, lowered their risk for Diabetes up to 35%3
Increase Physical Activity –
Moderate physical activity for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, can help improve blood pressure and prevent blood flow problems. As we discussed above, insulin allows your body to lower its blood pressure levels. Exercise increases the insulin sensitivity in your cells, causing your body to need less insulin to bring blood pressure levels under control. The Mayo Clinic encourages those at risk of Prediabetes to find a workout regimen that includes both aerobic exercise and resistance training to help control diabetes.4
Lose Weight –
Reducing body weight by as little as 5–7% can offer tremendous benefits for people at risk for diabetes. If you are overweight, diabetes prevention could depend on weight loss. Every pound lost gets you one closer to improving your health.5
The Summit Area YMCA is committed to nurturing the potential of every individual, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. We are a cause driven, volunteer led, nonprofit organization working to support and strengthen the foundations of community. The Summit YMCA has more than just a fitness center, but also an entire world of classes, equipment, trainers, wellness staff, and services that serve the youngest to the most senior in the community.
Health & Wellness Director