It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why so many people are developing diabetes. Genes do play a role, but the less exercise you get and the more weigh, the greater your risk. If you aren’t part of the “diabetes epidemic” yet, congratulations. But there’s an epidemic of prediabetes – elevated blood sugar that’s not yet high enough to trigger alarms – that you should worry about now. Genetics definitely play a role, but it usually takes extra pounds and a sedentary lifestyle to develop type 3 diabetes. Excess body fat (especially visceral fat deep in the belly) and inactivity conspire to make cells stop obeying signals from insulin to absorb blood sugar. Your body compensates by pumping out more insulin, but if you can’t keep pace, you’ve got high blood sugar. Doctors don’t look for prediabetes often enough (a fasting blood test can give a pretty good indication I you have it), but now’s the time to prevent it from turning into diabetes.
Drop Just A Few Pounds
Excess weight is the number one reason adults and kids are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes now than ever before. Gaining weight can pack excess fat around internal organs at your midsection – especially if you’re stressed on a regular basis (stress hormones can send extra fat to the belly). New research shows that this dangerous abdominal fat sends out chemical that signals that desensitize cells throughout your body to insulin, the hormones that persuades cells to absorb blood sugar. Insulin resistance is the first step on the path to type 2 diabetes.
The good news, in a landmark clinical trial that followed 3,234 people with prediabetes for three years, those who lost just 7 percent of their body weight (10.5 pounds if you now weigh 170) lowered their diabetes risk by 58 percent. In fact, weight loss worked better than insulin-sensitizing diabetes drugs at cutting the odds of diabetes! A brisk cardio workout three to five times a week can melt belly fat better than dieting, say Syracuse University researchers. Brisk walking for 30 minutes daily also works.
Aim For Five To Nine Servings Of Fruit And Vegetables Every Day, Plus Three Servings Of Whole Grains
Following a low-glycemic diet packed with produce and whole grain – and cutting back on white bread, white rice, foods like pancakes and bagels made with white flour, and sweets – helps keep blood sugar low and steady. Research shows it also cools chronic low-grade inflammation in the body, which interferes with the action of insulin and the absorption of blood sugar by cells.
In a recent study of 486 women, Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that those who ate the most fruit were 34 percent less likely to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors, including insulin resistance, that predispose a person to diabetes. Women who ate the most vegetables cut their risk of metabolic syndrome by 30 percent. Meanwhile German researchers who followed 25, 067 women and men for seven years recently found that those who got most fiber from whole grains were 27 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who got the least.