March is National Nutrition Month: A Focus on Preventing Diabetes

Did you know that 86 million Americans – 1 in 3 adults have pre-diabetes? Shockingly, 9 out of 10 don’t know they have it. What is it? In general terms, your blood sugar has been tested in a higher than normal range and you haven’t been officially diagnosed with diabetes.

Pre-diabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and stroke. More specifically, 15-30% of those with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years without any lifestyle changes. The good news is that If you’re overweight or obese you can cut your risk in half by a) losing a modest amount of weight (5-7%) and b) maintaining 150 minutes of moderate activity per week (includes brisk walking).

This is a great time to focus on small changes you can make to your diet that can add up to sustainable weight loss. Here are the diet principles that can maximize your weight loss potential while stabilizing your blood sugar.

  • If you work out first thing – have a pre-workout easily digestible carbohydrate. If you don’t have any calories your body will break down muscle for energy (glucose).

o   Examples: yogurt or banana or toast or granola bar

  • Have breakfast consistently to wake up your metabolic rate and prevent muscle loss.

o   Best to add protein: egg, protein powder, milk, yogurt, protein-rich cereal, nuts, peanut butter, a bit of cheese.

  • Eat every 3-4 hours
  • Balance your plate at lunch and dinner: 1/3 protein, 1/3 grain or starchy vegetables, 1/3 vegetable/fruit.
  • Stay hydrated – goal slightly clear urine throughout the day.

If you keep it simple and use healthy eating principles vs. following a strict diet you have truly made a sustainable lifestyle change and can look forward to maintaining your weight loss. If you have any other questions about managing pre-diabetes or diabetes with nutrition principles (or any other nutrition-related topic) – please email Kathryn at kreed@sacdt.com .

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