20 Ways to Prevent Diabetes

By on April 1, 2012

By Claire Kerslake –

The number of people living with type 2 diabetes is expected to triple by 2050. This is scary stuff when you’re a baby boomer like me. However there IS some good news. Two large studies, the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study and the US Diabetes Prevention Program both showed that it is possible to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 58%.

The key lies in achieving the following five goals:

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  • No more than 30% energy in the diet from fat
  • No more than 10% energy in the diet from saturated fat
  • Increased fiber intake
  • At least 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity exercise
  • At least a 5 % reduction in weight

Here are some actions that you can take today to begin reducing your risk.

No more than 30% energy from fat & No more than 10% energy from saturated fat

Thinking has changed over the years about fat in our diets and we now know that including some ‘good’ fats in our diets is important for our health. Our total fat consumption, however, remains too high and in the U.S. total fat intake contributes to around 34% of calories. Aim to reduce this to less than 30% by making these small changes.

  1. Remove the skin from chicken before cooking
  2. Remove the fat from meat before cooking
  3. Choose lean meat
  4. Minimise the intake of processed foods such as pies, pasties, pizza, donuts
  5. Choose low fat or skim milk
  6. Choose lower fat products by reading food labels
  7. Use smaller amounts of reduced fat cheese
  8. Minimise sometimes foods such as chocolate

Increased fiber intake

Aim to have around 30g fiber per day. It is important to build up to this gradually to allow our bodies to adjust. Many Americans eat less than half the recommended amount of fiber.

  1. Increase the amount of vegetables on your plate. Start by adding an extra serve (1/2 cup cooked vegetables or a cup of salad vegetables) and aim to build up to half a plate of vegetables.
  2. Eat whole fruit rather than drinking juice
  3. Add beans and lentils into soups and stews
  4. Switch to whole grain breads and pasta

At least 30min per day moderate intensity exercise

Moderate intensity exercise will increase your heart and breathing rate but you should still be able to carry on a conversation.

  1. If you are not currently exercising, start small. An initial goal may be 10 to 20 minutes 3 times a week. Gradually increase this over the next weeks and months.
  2. Find an exercise you love to do
  3. Enlist the support of a friend or family member to either exercise with or keep you on track
  4. Work up to where you are exercising at moderate intensity

At least 5% reduction in weight

If we are currently overweight we sometimes think that we need to totally transform our bodies to make a difference to our health. However there are significant benefits to our health with just a 5% reduction in weight, which is around 8 pounds in someone weighing 160 pounds.

  1. Keep a food diary
  2. Use a smaller plate
  3. See a dietician
  4. Eliminate or minimise sodas

Think of this list as a work in progress. You may already be doing many of these action items. To avoid overwhelm, choose a couple of the easier actions for you to change and then over time as those changes get cemented in, add in other actions.

 

Claire Kerslake, Credentialled Diabetes Educator and health coach, helps others create the health they need to live lives that make their hearts sing. She offers inspiration, knowledge, motivation and support for individuals to develop healthy habits. You can learn more about her at http://www.lovinglifewithdiabetes.com and follow her on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ClaireKerslake

About Claire Kerslake

Claire Kerslake, Credentialed Diabetes Educator, helps others create the health they need to live lives that make their hearts sing. She offers inspiration, knowledge, motivation and support for individuals to develop healthy habits. You can learn more about her at http://www.lovinglifewithdiabetes.com. Follow her on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ClaireKerslake.

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20 Ways to Prevent Diabetes