Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes by Diet and Lifestyle Modification
What is type 2 diabetes (T2D)?
Type 2 diabetes is a common metabolic disorder that results in high levels of blood sugar. This medical condition occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin, it becomes resistant to insulin’s effects, or both. Having a sedentary lifestyle or being obese are some of the factors that can cause T2D. In case you change your lifestyle and adopt a healthy diet and exercise routine, you can reduce the chances of developing this metabolic disorder. T2D is the most common form of diabetes mellitus and affects 95% of diabetic people. Type 1 diabetes is the less common form of diabetes that affects only 5% of people with diabetes. Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented through diet or lifestyle changes; however, it can be managed through insulin therapy.
Signs and symptoms of T2D
The signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes usually develop slowly over time. In fact, you can have T2D without showing any warning signs. Typically, people watch out for the following signs and symptoms of T2D:
- Increased hunger and/or thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Sores that heal slowly
- Loss of weight
If you have any of these symptoms, it is important you visit your doctor for a medical check up. They will be able to identify the root cause of your symptoms. If type 2 diabetes is suspected, they can advise you of the best lifestyle changes and diet program.
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Considering the long-term health consequences that come with poorly managed type 2 diabetes, the best option is to prevent this chronic condition in the first place. Research shows that up to 90% of T2D prevention happens through lifestyle and diet modification. T2D can be prevented when the warning signs are detected early on. In case you are diagnosed with prediabetes, your doctor can help you make the necessary lifestyle changes so that you can prevent the risk of getting T2D. During T2D prevention, it is important you focus on things that you can change. Focusing on your age or family history won’t help your course of preventing T2D. Instead, focus on modifying your diet to include healthy foods and reduce intake of carbohydrate foods and calories. Also, you can increase your physical activity so that you can keep your weight under control. Here are some diet and lifestyle modifications that can help in T2D prevention:
Maintain healthy weight
Obesity is one of the main risk factors that lead to T2D. So, if you want to prevent type 2 diabetes, you should focus on maintaining a healthy weight. This can be achieved through exercising regularly and eating healthy food. Rather than using the elevator, you can take the staircase for a good cardio exercise. Instead of driving, you can decide to take a walk to the shop to burn some calories. While you are at it, it is important you watch your food portions. You don’t have to shed big pounds to help prevent T2D, but every little bit helps.
Eat healthy foods
Adopting a healthy eating plan is important if you want to prevent the risk of type 2 diabetes. A healthy eating plan includes: more vegetables and fruits, more whole grains and fiber, and reducing your intake of sugar and processed foods. To control your blood glucose, limit the amount of carbohydrates you take and add more fiber to your diet.
Lack of physical activity is one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes. Being physically active can help you prevent the chance of developing T2D. This is because it improves your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Studies have shown that adopting a healthy diet in addition to regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing T2D by 58% if you have prediabetes.
People who have a habit of smoking have 30 to 40% higher risk of developing T2D. If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do if you want to prevent type 2 diabetes is to quit smoking. Smoking also predisposes you to other health complications like nerve damage, kidney and heart disease.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.