Food and PreD

Most of us are prediabetic because our food choices aren’t healthy, and we don’t get enough exercise. It’s a lifestyle thing.

Multiple studies[1] show that, if you are prediabetic, one of the better ways to reset your body is to lose weight, change your diet, and exercise.

Before going any further, let’s pause for a minute to say: talk to your healthcare provider before changing what you eat or how much you move.

Today, we’re going to talk about food. We’ll save exercise for another time.

Research[2] suggests that when it comes to what we eat, a lower carb regimen of 20-50 net carbs a day is one way to get those blood sugar levels down.

As we launch into this topic, it’s important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another. This journey of resetting what you eat will most likely be a trial-and-error effort for the first few months.

Diet, when used as a verb, isn’t fun. We start out in a negative place when we go on a diet. It seems like work, and that we’re giving up enjoyable foods for foods that are bleh.

It’s not a journey that we begin with a smile.

Diet, when used as a noun, simply means the food and drink one typically eats.

No negatives there, right?

We’re talking about your diet (what you eat and how that might change) but not about you going on a diet, with all of the negative “celery sticks and rice cakes” connotations.

Most of us don’t like to weigh or measure food, or follow set recipes that don’t even feature foods that we prefer.

We just want to eat and let nutrition figure itself out.

That’s what we want to do, but hey, we put in the work to get ourselves to this chubby and prediabetic state. Now we have to do some work to get out of this mess.

We can lose weight by simply not eating as much food each day. Slash those calories and say bye-bye to a few pounds.

However, unless we also change what we eat[3], we’re less likely to leave prediabetes in the dust.

We can do this. Together, we can trial-and-error ourselves out of prediabetes land.

There is no one-size-fits-all way of eating that will lower your blood sugar and help you lose weight.

You need a personal plan that includes foods you like and leaves out foods you don’t like. Talk to your healthcare provider and get a referral to see a registered dietician or certified diabetes educator. Your local hospital or health clinic may provide this service free of charge.

Until you get the advice of a professional, there are some basics you can follow that apply to most of us.

Do a bit of homework. CDC explains carb basics,[4] and websites like endocrineweb.com[5] and diabetesfoodhub.org[6] can start you on a path toward restructuring your diet.

Eat to your meter. The amount of carbs you should eat in a day will be different from the amount another prediabetic should eat. An expert can help you design a diet, but you’ll need to use a meter and test various foods to see what affects you and what doesn’t.

Don’t give up. If you’re disciplined about the trial-and-error approach, you will end up with a way of eating that you like and that (usually) keeps your blood sugar levels in the normal range.

It’s not only about your diet. Other factors can affect your blood sugar, like certain medications[7], stress, lack of sleep, and illness­­—all of which may keep your numbers elevated even if you’ve reduced your carb intake.


[1] Harvard School of Public Health/The Nutrition Source, Simple Steps to Preventing Diabeteshttps://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/disease-prevention/diabetes-prevention/preventing-diabetes-full-story/#diet, (May 2, 2019).

[2] PLOS ONE, A Randomized Pilot Trial of a Moderate Carbohydrate Diet Compared to a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet in Overweight or Obese Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or Prediabeteshttps://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0091027&type=printable, (May 24, 2019).

[3] BMJ Journals/BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, Remission of pre-diabetes to normal glucose tolerance in obese adults with high protein versus high carbohydrate diet: randomized control trialhttps://drc.bmj.com/content/4/1/e000258?cpetoc, (June 12, 2019).

[4] CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Diabetes, Diabetes and Carbohydrateshttps://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/diabetes-and-carbohydrates.html, (June 24, 2019).

[5] Endocrineweb, Diabetes Diet: The Best Way to Eat for Type 2 Diabetes, https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/diabetes/diabetes-diet-best-way-eat-type-2-diabetes, (June 24, 2019).

[6] American Diabetes Association/Diabetes FoodHub, https://www.diabetesfoodhub.org/, (June 24, 2019).

[7] Diabetes in Control, 390 Drugs That Can Affect Blood Glucose Levelshttp://www.diabetesincontrol.com/drugs-that-can-affect-blood-glucose-levels/, (June 24, 2019).

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