Of all the diseases that plague the modern world, type 2 diabetes might just be the most insidious. According to the CDC, more than one in ten Americans have type 2 diabetes, and one-third of the US population has pre-diabetes. That’s pretty shocking. What’s even more shocking is that, unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 is completely preventable. It’s a lifestyle-related disease brought on by things like the foods we eat, our lack of exercise, and more. The good news is that diabetes prevention isn’t rocket science, and there’s a lot you can do to take control of your life!
- Know Your Risk Level For Diabetes Prevention
- Create a Healthy Diet Plan
- Focus on Weight Management
- Get Exercise
- Watch Your Alcohol Intake
- Stop Smoking
- Get Regular Check-Ups
- Here’s to a Diabetes-Free Future!
Know Your Risk Level For Diabetes Prevention
The first thing you need to do to prevent type 2 diabetes from developing is to know your risk level. The American Diabetes Association offers a sixty-second diabetes risk test that can help you determine your risk level for developing the disease. It can also help you determine if someone else in your life might be at risk.
Some of the risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing the disease include:
- Family members with type 2 diabetes
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Standard American Diet (SAD)
- Unmitigated drinking
- Being overweight (fatty tissue increases insulin resistance)
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- High triglyceride levels
- Low levels of HDL cholesterol
Create a Healthy Diet Plan
Once you know your risk factor, it’s time to take definitive action for diabetes prevention. The first thing you need to do is create a healthy diet plan. There are lots of diets out there that may help you prevent type 2 diabetes, but some of them may be more dangerous than you think. Avoid fad diets like low-carb options. Instead, focus on those that offer a balanced intake of macro and micronutrients. The Mediterranean diet is a great example of this, but there are others.
Going vegetarian can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by thirty-five percent, and if you were a meat eater before going plant-based, your risk level actually drops by fifty-three percent. Taking even more drastic action and going completely vegan can reduce your risk levels even more.
One of the most important things is to watch for hidden sugar in the food you eat. Manufacturers love to sneak sugar into foods in an attempt to make them more addictive. However, that just ramps up your risk level for type 2 diabetes and weight gain.
You may notice that cutting out sweets leaves you with unhealthy sugar cravings, particularly during the holidays. There are some simple ways to deal with those, too. These include starting your day with high-protein breakfast and consuming fewer processed foods.
Diabetes Prevention: Focus on Weight Management
Weight management is a vital step for reducing your type 2 diabetes risk level for one simple reason: fatty tissue is insulin resistant. The more fatty tissue you have, the greater your resistance to insulin, eventually setting you up for diabetes. Handling weight can be challenging, but the right diet and a moderate exercise routine can help keep it down.
While there are lots of ways to manage your weight, a body fat scale can be an invaluable tool. One of the better options on the market is the Renpho Smart Bluetooth Body Fat Scale, although there are other choices out there as well. Most of them work on a similar basis. You pair the scale with a smartphone app, input some basic information, and then the scale determines your BMI.
One important factor in diabetes prevention is staying active. Exercise burns calories and helps you reduce your weight. However, it can also offer some other important benefits. For instance, with regular exercise, you can fight back against food cravings. You can get more active and improve blood flow while reducing high blood pressure.
You don’t need to buy a gym membership, either. Start small—a daily walk is a great option. Then move on from there. Consistency is the key.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is a huge contributor to type 2 diabetes, particularly hard alcohol (in comparison to, say, beer). The official recommended alcohol intake is two alcoholic beverages per day for men and one per day for women. However, alcohol and workouts can create some strange interactions, so be smart about what you consume and when you consume it. And remember, alcohol is ultimately sugar and adds directly to your risk level for diabetes.
Okay, let’s say this right now: If you haven’t quit smoking yet, now is the time. It has been linked directly to an increase in your risk for type 2 diabetes. That risk increases with each cigarette you smoke per day. The benefits of quitting smoking include not just a reduced risk of diabetes, but better blood pressure control, improved lung function, clarity of thinking, and so much more. Think of your health and diabetes prevention, and quit now.
Get Regular Check-Ups for Diabetes Prevention
Finally, make sure you regularly visit your doctor. There is no substitute for a qualified medical professional’s assessment of your situation. Make sure to discuss with your doctor any risk factors that might make you more prone to type 2 diabetes, and anything that you’re doing to reduce that risk. Your doctor can also conduct tests to determine if you have prediabetes, or are already suffering the very early symptoms of adult-onset diabetes.
Here’s to a Diabetes-Free Future!
Type 2 diabetes is completely preventable. However, you must act. The future of your health is in your hands. Smart choices now can spare you pain and suffering down the road. Make smart food choices, watch your alcohol intake, quit smoking, and get some exercise. Follow up with your doctor, and you’ll have a brighter, healthier future.