Prevent Diabetes with Six Easy Steps

16 Feb 2024

Diabetes types, Pre-diabetes, Prevention, and more.

What does it mean when you cannot manage your blood sugar levels? Diabetes, yes. But it is also the body telling you that it needs your help.

Blood sugar or Glucose is a major source of energy for the body, but it cannot be absorbed directly into the cells. A hormone called Insulin helps in the absorption of sugar into the cells. When your
body is unable to absorb sugar properly, it may lead to diabetes. There are ways to prevent diabetes, and we’re here to share them with you.

But wait, there’s more.

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes happens when the immune system mistakenly destroys your insulin-producing cells. Resultantly, the pancreas will produce to no Insulin. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.
  • Type 2 diabetes, a more common one, happens when the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or becomes resistant to it (also called Insulin Resistance). Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with the help of lifestyle measures.

Taking measures to prevent diabetes is important, but first comes the diagnosis. Sometimes, a timely diagnosis may help one recognize the Pre-diabetes stage. Pre-diabetes, as the name suggests, is a stage that occurs before the body is diagnosed with diabetes. This is when the glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to fall under type 2 diabetes.

Taking preventive measures against pre-diabetes is just as important as taking preventive measures against full-blown diabetes.

But how to prevent diabetes? Let’s look at some steps:

1. Extra weight means extra work

Just like most important things in life, the body needs maintenance too. When it comes to Diabetic or Pre Diabetic people, carrying extra weight can increase the health risks.

There is no reason to fret though, as losing weight to improve one’s health doesn’t mean that the body has to go through drastic changes. Getting rid of just 5-7% of weight can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association’s recommendation for pre-diabetes is to lose at least 7% – 10% so the disease does not progress. That’s a rule you can live by, and going beyond may bring even greater benefits.

You can start by setting weight-loss goals for yourself with the help of a healthcare professional to ensure they are realistic and healthy. Also, maintaining a balanced plate for your meals combined with regular exercise could help bring notable results.

2. Turn to smart bites

Here’s our favourite part, food. Some may think that avoiding carbs altogether is best, but we beg to differ. Carbs aren’t just sugar, there is starch and fibre too (which, by the way, are great additions to your diet). Choosing the right carbs and portion sizes can make a great difference.

The body tends to break down carbs so the sugar can easily be absorbed into the bloodstream. Sometimes, especially in the case of simple carbs, the sugar levels can spike up, increasing your risk for Type 2 diabetes. That is where watching your carb type and portion helps.

What to do? Replace these food items with the ones that have less effect on sugar levels.

  • Avoid sugary and refined food options like beverages, bread, pasta, dessert, and processed food They can drastically increase your sugar levels.
  • Adopt healthy carbs like grains, legumes, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. They help in the gradual absorption of sugar into your blood cells.

3. Portion right to power through

Don’t just be mindful about what you eat, be mindful about how much you eat too. Once you’ve mastered that, maintaining a good diet becomes easy. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your favourite food items, you certainly can. Just ensure you:

  • Keep your meals balanced. Combine carbs with lean proteins, healthy fats, and veggies.
  • Snack but snack thoughtfully. Snacks that are a combination of carbs with protein or fibre help balance the energy levels between meals and control your sugar.

Divide your plate into half non-starchy veggies, a quarter of lean proteins, and a quarter of fruits or grains. We know you need some room for your favourite snacks too. Don’t over snack though, get the desired amount in a separate dish and enjoy your meal!

4. A moving body is a winning body

Make it a habit to exercise regularly and have an active lifestyle. Exercising improves your body’s sensitivity to insulin, meaning your cells can absorb glucose more effectively, not requiring higher insulin levels. Almost magical, isn’t it? That’s diabetes Management for you!

There are many options as to which physical activities a person with Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes can take up. Although a detailed chat with your health care provider may give you a better understanding of the exercises that are best for you, for starters you can focus on:

  • Aerobic Exercise Perform aerobic exercises such as biking, swimming, running, or brisk walking for 30 mins or more daily. Aim for a total of 150 mins per week.
  • Resistance Exercise Increase your strength with Resistance exercises such as Yoga or Weightlifting. 2 to 3 times a week is good enough.
  • Limited Inactivity Take breaks, but don’t be inactive for too long. Activities causing long durations of inactivity such as sitting on the computer will further elevate your glucose levels. Take a break every 30 minutes – walk, stand, or engage in some light activity.

Exercising is one of the most effective ways to prevent diabetes because it has three-fold benefits – helps lose weight, lowers blood sugar, and improves Insulin sensitivity.

5. You would look cool without a smoke

A cigarette in your hand and a puff of smoke in the mouth may feel like you’re living life on your terms but there’s a reason the body disagrees. It wants and knows what is best for you, and smoking is not one of them.

Smoking doesn’t just cause diseases such as COPD and Cancer, it also increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Smoking may increase Insulin Resistance or slow down the insulin secretion process, ultimately leading to Type 2 diabetes. Quitting smoking will reduce the risks. In fact, quitting for 10 years or more is likely to reduce diabetes risks to as low as someone who never smoked.

6. Drink water, lots of it

Nothing works wonders on the human body like water, which is why you must drink plenty of it. It’s the easiest way to prevent diabetes. Water helps get rid of excess glucose and keeps the body hydrated. The next time you’re offered a sugary beverage, opt for water or any other low-calorie option instead.

A good lifestyle brings with it good results. Adopting these lifestyle changes may help prevent diabetes without any complications. Remember, building a castle takes more than a single brick. It is essential to take as many measures as one can to prevent diabetes. Take the right steps and professional assistance and your body will thank you for the care.

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