Healthy note: Diabetes prevention

Last modified: Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Steps to prevent diabetes

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, up to half the people with pre-diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes within five years.

So how do we stop pre-diabetes from turning into full-fledged type 2 diabetes? The answer comes from solid research from a landmark study called the Diabetes Prevention Program.

In this study of people with pre-diabetes, those who took a medication called metformin reduced their risk for developing diabetes by 31 percent. But hold the presses. Those who made changes in their lifestyle reduced their risk by 58 percent. And people who made lifestyle changes who were over the age of 60 lessened their risk for diabetes by a whopping 71 percent.

These are the lifestyle changes that helped:

Lose some weight if you are overweight. Even a modest 5 to 10 percent weight loss significantly lowered risk.

Cut the extra fat — especially saturated fat — from your diet. Diabetes risk went down when these people ate not more than a third of their daily calories from fat.

Eat 25 to 35 grams of fiber each day. In other words, a high fiber diet rich in fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains and other plant foods helped to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Exercise at least 150 minutes every week. Like a potent diabetes medication, moving muscles use up glucose from the blood and improve the action of insulin.