Are you at risk of diabetes? About 1 in 4 Americans have diabetes and don’t even know it. About 23 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes and 7 million of us don’t even know it. Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes. We can take some steps to lower our risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association has a wealth of information on diabetes and even a Diabetes Risk Test you can take.
There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. They used to call these juvenile diabetes and adult diabetes. However, so many Americans, even those at a young age are getting Type 2 diabetes that they no longer refer to this as adult onset diabetes.
- Type 1 – Usually kids or young adults get this type of diabetes, that is why it used to be called juvenile diabetes. This type affects about 5% of Americans. The body does not produce the insulin needed to get sugar (glucose) into the cells so blood sugar rises. People with Type 1 are put on insulin therapy and other treatments and taught to manage their diabetes through medication and diet.
- Type 2 – This is the more common type of diabetes. Blood sugar (glucose) levels rise because the body isn’t using insulin well. The body tries to make extra insulin to handle the rising blood sugar but over time the body can’t make enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal.
What are 3 Steps to lowering your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes?
- Take off some weight - Even a Few Pounds: a healthy weight is one way to help prevent Type 2 1diabetes. If overweight, one doesn’t have to lose a lot of weight to improve their health.
- Drop a few pounds - even a loss of 10-15 pounds can lead to a big improvement in your health.
- Keep a normal weight – if you already are at a normal weight, work to keep it there. Do what my nutrition teacher, Mrs. Osborne did. When she gained 5 pounds over her normal weight, she focused on losing those 5 pounds. If you have lost some weight, focus on keeping those lost pounds off. Being at a normal weight is a great way to reduce one’s risk of many health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes.
- Be active every day – it doesn’t mean going to the gym every day. Go for a walk, do some yoga at home. Housework and yard work also counts as being active
- Get off the couch. A local physical trainer named her company, “Off Da Couch” as she wanted to emphasize sitting less and exercising more.
|Take a walk|
3. Healthy eating – Cutting back, not on carbs, but on fat and the number of calories you take in.
a. Cut back on fat and calories. Going out to eat? Look up the menu online before you go. Fast Food and other restaurants such as Chipotle, Panera, McDonald’s post their menus and nutrition information on line. Take a few minutes to look down the nutrition information for menu items for Fat Calories in the foods. Choose the food with less fat and especially less saturated fat. Choose the grilled chicken sandwich instead of the fried chicken sandwich. Instead of a Large French fries, get the Medium French Fries. Small changes can make big differences in the amount of fat and calories in a meal.
b. Eat breakfast every day – not only will this energize your morning but people who eat breakfast every day are more likely to lose weight and keep it off.
c. Cut back or eliminate the sugary drinks – so much added sugar in sodas, fruit punches, the juice drinks that masquerade as real juice. Research has found sugary drinks are related to an increase in Type 2 diabetes. So cut out or cut back on the sugary drinks in your day. Choose water, unsweetened ice tea, flavored water.
d. Whole grains – eating more whole grains lowers your risk of Type 2 diabetes. The fiber in the whole grains slows the absorption of sugars. Switch out some white bread for some whole grain bread. Instead of potato chips at Subway, choose some Sun Chips which are whole grain. At Chipotle, choose the brown rice. Simple changes can lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
|Add some whole grains to your day|
Take a walk after lunch this week. Eat breakfast every day and have some oatmeal on weekends. Check out the Fast Food menus for lower fat options.
Sources: American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Risk Test, Steps, Image Sources: Whole grains, Scale, walking