By: Rebecca Roussell RDN, LDN, CDCES, Registered/Licensed–Dietitian/Nutritionist,
Certified Diabetes care & Education Specialist, Adult Weight Management
Certificate, Lifestyle Health Coach
WHAT IS PREDIABETES?
Prediabetes is a medical condition that precedes the diagnosis of type-2
diabetes. A person who is diagnosed with prediabetes has a blood glucose
(sugar) level that is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed
with type-2 diabetes. This means a person might develop type-2 diabetes
soon or in a few years. There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes. A
person can have prediabetes and not know it. However, there are blood
tests which can be performed to test blood glucose levels to detect the
presence of prediabetes.
HOW DOES PREDIABETES DEVELOP?
When a person eats a meal with carbohydrate foods, the body’s pancreas
naturally makes a hormone called insulin to lower the amount of glucose
(sugar) in the blood. In people with prediabetes, the pancreas does not
produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not respond well
to the insulin being produced (this is called insulin resistance).
WHO IS AT RISK FOR PREDIABETES?
Knowing the risk factors for prediabetes can help a person focus on areas
which reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
- 45 years of age or older
- History of gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy)
Overweight or obese with one or more of the listed below risk factors:
- Physically active less than 3 days each week
- High blood pressure
- Low HDL (good cholesterol) and/or high triglycerides (type of fat in the blood)
- Parent or sibling with diabetes
- High-risk groups based on race or ethnicity, such as African-American,
Latino, Native American, Asian-American, or Pacific Islander
- History of cardiovascular (heart) disease
- Women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
CAN TYPE 2 DIABETES BE DELAYED OR PREVENTED?
YES, the GOOD news is that steps can be taken to delay or prevent type-2
diabetes. There are many habits a person can change in their daily life
to prevent type 2 diabetes, such as:
- Eating a variety of foods with well-balanced meals and snacks
- Being regularly active at least 150 minutes each week (30 minutes x 5 days
per week) by doing activities such as brisk walking, water aerobics, or dancing
- Maintaining a healthy body weight or achieving a modest weight loss to
reach a healthy body weight, such as just losing 10 – 20 pounds
- Getting help to quit smoking (if a person is a smoker)
- Managing risk factors for heart disease, such as lowering blood pressure,
LDL blood cholesterol, and blood triglyceride levels
STEP UP ACTIVITY:
Every step counts when trying to get more fit. Being active is one of the
best ways to delay or prevent type-2 diabetes. While it is important to
exercise most days of the week, simply moving after sitting for 30 minutes
gives the body health benefits. It may be easier to be active when activities
are fun or done with a partner. The activities below are examples on how
to add extra movement into the day.
- Park in the furthest parking spot and walk to the door
- Stand up and move while talking on the phone
- Walk to your co-worker’s desk rather than using the phone or e-mail
- Move after sitting 30 minutes
- Stretch, stand, or walk in place while watching TV or during commercials
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator, even if it’s only one flight
- Take short walks on your lunch break or after dinner
- Take a pet for a daily walk
- Consider a Medical Integration Fitness program, such as Thibodaux Regional’s
SIMPLE WAYS TO EAT HEALTHY MEALS
Eating healthy meals does not need to be difficult; even small changes
can turn into big results! A Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist can help
someone plan meals that fit their unique lifestyle and needs. Get started
by practicing some these simple habits:
Create a healthy, colorful, and well-balanced plate (use a 9 inch or smaller
plate) by making:
- Half the plate non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, salad, carrots,
broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans
- One-quarter of the plate a protein food, such a fish, seafood, very lean
meats, poultry, wild game, tofu, or eggs
- One-quarter of the plate a carbohydrate food, such as whole grain pasta,
brown rice, quinoa, yam, or dried beans/peas
- Eat smaller servings than usual by using a smaller plate and smaller eating utensil.
- Choose healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, and seeds.
- Choose water (64 ounces per day) instead of juice, soda, sports beverages,
sweet tea, and other sugar-sweetened drinks.
- Be smart about how much and how often you eat sweets and other treats.
Choosing fruit instead of cake, pie, cookies, or dessert is a better alternative.
- Choose lower-calorie snacks, such as popcorn, hummus with raw vegetables,
or fresh fruit with low-fat cheese.
- Try roasting, broiling, grilling, steaming, or baking foods instead of frying.
- Use a small amount of canola or olive oil instead of butter or shortening
- Eat fish at least 2 or more times per week.
- Choose lean cuts of meats, such as round, loin, or tenderloin, and choose
- Reduce the intake of high fat-processed meats, such as hot dogs, sausage,
bacon, bologna, lunchmeat, etc.
- Choose whole grain/high fiber breads, cereals, crackers, and grains foods
- Eat less refined white breads, cereals, crackers, rice, pasta, and white potatoes.
- Practice ways to help feel satisfied with less food, such as putting down
the eating utensil and pausing for 60 seconds between bites.
- Chew all foods thoroughly till gone from mouth (~10–20 chews) before
swallowing to help slow down eating.
- When eating out, share the main course with a friend or family member or
take half home for another meal.
- Just say “NO Thank You” — politely to refuse extra food
servings or a treat from family or co-workers. Friends and family often
have good intentions, but it’s important for you to stay on track.
- Track oral intake. Writing down or using a phone app to keep track of what
and how much is consumed daily can increase awareness and accountability,
which can help with weight loss.
A Thibodaux Regional Health System Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist can
help individuals make lifestyle changes which lead to reducing the risk
of developing type-2 diabetes. Please call the Wellness Education Center
at 985.493.4765 for more information.