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Top 5 Ways to Cut Diabetes Risk in Half

Top 5 Ways to Cut Diabetes Risk in Half

If you think that you are at risk for developing diabetes, you’ll find this article very heartening and useful. From the new book Food Synergy, by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, it highlights the details of what you can do.

Several recent studies have shown that when people take the following five steps, they achieve greater weight loss and improve their glucose and insulin concentrations, compared with control subjects. One recent study led by Jaakko Tuomilehto, MD, of the National Public Health Institute in Helsinik, Finland, showed that key lifestyle changes reduced the risk of progression to diabetes by a striking 58 percent over four years in overweight people with impaired glucose tolerance.

1. Get as close to your ideal weight as possible.
The low incidence of diabetes in people who lost at least 5 percent of their initial weight underscores the importance of even small weight loss when trying to prevent diabetes, according to results from the Helsinki study. Obesity is the most notable modifiable risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes; in fact, more than 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.

2. Increase physical activity. Both weight loss and improved fitness have been associated with the reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes. And even if it doesn’t result in weight loss, regular exercise seems to pay off. For the study participants who did not lose weight, tallying more than four hours of exercise a week was still associated with significantly less diabetes risk.

3. Eat less saturated and total fat. Not only do saturated fats tend to raise blood levels of LDL cholesterol (and high LDL is is associated with heart disease), but meals high in animal fat (much of which is saturated) stimulates higher blood sugar in some people. Some researchers think that in these people, fat-laden meals make insulin less effective. Avoiding high-fat meals also makes caloric sense because each gram of dietary fat contributes 9 calories, compared with the 4 calories contributed by each gram of protein or carbohydrate.

4. Keep excess calories to a healthy minimum. One of the keys to losing extra weight and maintaining a healthy weight is to keep excess calories to a minimum. It’s when we eat more calories than we can burn day after day that ensures the extra pounds will accumulate.

5. Increase dietary fiber. Eating too little fiber day after day has been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (as well as cancer, obesity, and heart disease). Fiber, particularly soluble fiber (the type that dissolves in water and forms a gel), helps regulate blood sugar, possibly by slowing down the absorption of other nutrients, including carbohydrates, eaten at the same meal.

Adapted from Food Synergy, by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, (Rodale, 2007).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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24 comments

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8:17AM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

1:16PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

Thanks

1:35PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

Yes yes yes and yes. Common sense.

11:38AM PDT on Jul 4, 2011

Thank you

3:00AM PDT on Jun 14, 2011

great news thanks

1:08AM PST on Nov 21, 2010

Thanks for the info.

6:57AM PDT on Jul 8, 2010

most of this is common sense. but i guess some people need a reminder to stop being a couch potato

12:27AM PDT on Jul 4, 2010

awareness of what you are eating, avoiding high sugared foods, increase fiber, exercise

12:22PM PDT on Jul 3, 2010

Thanks much!

6:04AM PDT on Jun 1, 2010

Good info.

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