There are many reasons for a person to get diabetic. These reasons depend upon overall health, diet, and family history. Some types of diabetes are genetic or due to an overactive immune system. Diabetes has different kinds, and one of them is prediabetes. A person in the prediabetes stage shows elevated blood sugar but is not high enough to be considered diabetic. Some call it a flashing warning sign for type-2 diabetes.
One can manage the prediabetic symptoms by improving the diet. The prediabetic diet comes down to making food choices that will repair the physiological processes and help with weight loss. The general principles of a prediabetic diet are to include more high-fibre foods, vegetables and fresh fruits, and lean proteins while limiting highly processed foods and sugary drinks. As part of a prediabetic diet, there’s also a handful of foods with a low glycemic index.
Prediabetes: An Introduction
Prediabetes is when the blood glucose levels are higher than the normal range but not high enough to consider type-2 diabetes. Generally, prediabetes is the precursor of type-2 diabetes. Without timely treatment, it can convert into type-2 diabetes, which covers a significant percentage of diabetes. Studies show that in India, prediabetes is prevalent in various states. However, you can avoid worsening your condition if you’ve caught it early enough.
People who are overweight are at high risk of being prediabetic, or people with high insulin resistance or have a genetic background with type-2 diabetes are at risk. Prediabetes shows symptoms like increased thirst, frequent urination and slow healing of wounds.
According to the American Diabetes Association, you have prediabetes if:
- Fasting Blood Glucose value is between 100-125 mg/dL
- Haemoglobin a1c is between 5.7-6.4%
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test of 2 hours after eating shows a reading between 140-199 mg/dL
Rules of Prediabetes Diet
Prediabetes is very dependent on your health and diet. So having healthy eating and exercise habits can help eliminate it. If an obese prediabetic loses a small amount of weight, it helps in reducing its effect and prevents the risk of getting type-2 diabetes. A small amount of weight can be like dropping 5-7% of your body weight. Prediabetes eating plans help control weight through a healthy diet and eventually eliminate prediabetes.
Some rules of a prediabetes diet are:
Choose Low Glycemic Index Foods
Carbs are of two types, fast-digesting and slow-digesting. Both of them have their values, but having slow-digesting carbs is usually healthy. Fast digesting carbs have a high glycemic index. Hence, they increase the body’s blood sugar levels. Such carbs are all sugar or sugar-containing foods. Therefore, such carbs are not healthy for prediabetic patients.
Slow-digesting carbs are low in the glycemic index that slowly and continuously provides energy. Therefore, choose foods with a low glycemic index to avoid drastic spikes in blood sugar.
Some low glycemic index foods for a prediabetes diet are:
- Non-starchy vegetables, such as carrots
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy greens
- Whole wheat pasta
Increase Dietary Fibre
Increasing dietary fibre might be a good step for a prediabetic. Studies found that having a good amount of fibre in a daily diet may help reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes. High dietary fibre, particularly soluble fibre, improves glycemic control and decreases plasma lipid concentrations. Fibre also increases the overall food volume and helps regulate bowel movements. It also keeps you fuller and prevents you from overeating, allowing you to consume fewer calories and fight obesity. Some of the fibre-rich foods you can consume include-
- Lentils and beans
- Barley and Oatmeal
Avoid Sugary Drinks and Beverages.
Sugars are the primary enemies of a prediabetic patient. Sugars are high in glycemic index and rapidly raise your sugar levels and give you a quick and temporary energy rise. These are not healthy for a prediabetic patient and even for an average person unless you are a running athlete and taking it as a pre-workout drink. If one with prediabetes consumes sugar or sugary drinks, they are at high risk of getting type-2 diabetes. Therefore, avoiding such drinks and beverages might help reduce the prediabetic condition and risk of type-2 diabetes.
Drink Enough Water
An average man should drink 100 ounces of water daily, and the limit for women is 72 ounces. Unfortunately, most people do not meet this minimum water intake requirement. Water is essential for the body’s hydration, temperature balance and metabolism. However, keeping track of every millimetre you take is not crucial. Instead, keep examining your urine. It should be reasonably yellow. If it is darker yellow, your body lacks water. Therefore, try to drink 3-4 litres of water a day.
Include Lean Proteins
Protein has a small effect on blood glucose levels. Therefore, nutritionists strongly suggest eating a protein serving at every meal because it helps regulate blood sugar absorption. For a prediabetes diet, try including lean proteins instead of those higher in saturated fats. While adding protein in the form of fish, do not cook them in butter, deep fry, or use sugar-filled marinades or glazes.
Some lean protein options are:
- Fatty fish such as salmon
- Greek Yoghourt
A prediabetic diet also includes “functional” foods that can regulate blood sugar levels. They are naturally occurring foods with additional medicinal benefits beyond essential nutrition.
Some functional foods for a prediabetes diet are:
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Flax seeds
- Apple cider vinegar
- Chia seeds
Benefits of the Prediabetes Diet
A prediabetes diet does not include any special supplementation or harmful additives. It means that not only prediabetic but also non-diabetic people can consider this diet. A prediabetic diet is designed in such a way that it keeps your blood sugar levels stable and in range. It is free from high glycemic carbs and contains low GI level carbs only.
One of the significant causes of prediabetic conditions is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means the body does not correctly respond to the rise of blood sugar levels and releases an inadequate amount of insulin to neutralise its effect. A prediabetic diet helps to get rid of such conditions and improves your body’s insulin sensitivity, automatically preventing diabetes.
The HealthifyMe Note
A prediabetes diet not only contains foods safe for diabetics but is designed in such a way that it helps reduce weight. Obesity is a significant cause of diabetes, especially prediabetes. Therefore, this diet also benefits overweight people by reversing the obesity effect.
Downsides of Prediabetes Diet
A prediabetic diet is considered safe and has no potential side effects. It includes an entirely natural food combination which is healthy for all people. However, you might get sugar or sweet beverages cravings when on a prediabetes diet. It also makes you fall into the urge to use artificial sweeteners in your otherwise healthy diet.
The prediabetes diet works on two major parameters. One is carbohydrate counting, and the other is creating variations in dishes with similar nutritional profiles. In a prediabetic diet, everyone has to track their food. The number of carbs in that serving and limiting that particular food to its maximum value. It takes most of your time. The strict calculation of what you eat and how much you eat can be tiring.
Ways to Manage Prediabetes
Prediabetes can be controlled by having a regular exercise routine. The main goal of exercise should be burning extra stored calories. Apart from this, running is best for young prediabetic adults as it improves cardiovascular health, automatically reducing blood cholesterol and diabetes effects. You can consult your doctor to get a healthy exercise routine according to your health state. Aiming for at least a 30-minute daily aerobic exercise routine helps reduce the diabetic effect.
Keep an eye on your health reports. Regularly ask your doctor for your blood sugar levels and other parameters like cholesterol and insulin sensitivity. It will help you to diagnose your conditions and act as proof of your progress in fighting against prediabetes.
Hydration is essential for everybody. A prediabetic must stay hydrated to cope with stress and fluid loss. Dehydration and loss of fluids in the body lead to insulin fluctuation. Also, dehydration boosts the stress hormone cortisol, which may impact your blood sugar levels.
People who sleep less than 6 hours are at high risk of developing diabetes. Having at least 8 hours of sleep is essential as quality sleep helps you to recover and restore your body energy and prepare it for the next day.
The HealthifyMe Note
If you suffer from temporary discomforts like headaches and stomach pain, consult your doctor before combining those medicines with your pre diabetes medicines. Sometimes drug interactions might result in severe negative impacts.
Prediabetes is a condition which is common in obese people. Prediabetes is not diabetes but a strong signal that you might get type-2 diabetes. The easy way to detect prediabetes is by conducting regular blood tests. Unfortunately, many people do not show symptoms until the condition has progressed to type 2 Diabetes. However, following a prediabetes diet can help you better manage prediabetic conditions.
A prediabetes diet recommends eating moderately low carbohydrate foods that take longer to digest. Do not use butter or excess oil while cooking as part of your prediabetes diet. Apart from dietary factors, one should also focus on a healthy exercise routine and regularly check with a doctor. It helps to determine if a prediabetic diet is working for you or not.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Can you eat eggs if you have prediabetes?
A. Having eggs is entirely safe for prediabetic patients. In addition, eggs are a healthy source of vitamins, lean protein and zinc. However, do not use butter or excess oils while cooking eggs for a prediabetic person. You can season the eggs with fresh herbs and spices but do not eat a lot in one sitting. Pair the eggs with whole wheat bread and heart-healthy fat spreads for better benefits.
Q. How many eggs can a person with diabetes have in a day?
A. Having eggs causes no harm to a diabetic patient. An ideal serving will be three eggs per week. However, be cautious if you suffer from high blood cholesterol levels and diabetes and have a family history of cardiovascular or heart disease. In that case, it is recommended not to have more than one egg a day.
Q. What is a good breakfast for prediabetes?
A. Breakfast should be super nutritious and full of energy to kickstart your day. For a prediabetic, the best morning foods can be greek yoghurt, eggs, whole wheat bread, oatmeal and low-carb smoothies. These are slow-digesting carbs and contain healthy fats and proteins. Also, to avoid drastic spikes in blood sugar early in the morning, choose foods with a low glycemic index for breakfast. Finally, try to limit the use of spreads like butter, sweetened jam and marmalades.
Q. Do eggs affect blood sugar levels?
A. eating eggs in moderation does not negatively impact your blood sugar levels. Instead, eggs are a valuable part of a fat-loss diet. In addition, it can improve fasting blood glucose in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Prediabetic patients should also focus on reducing fat and cholesterol levels to improve from prediabetes. Also, eggs help lower unhealthy cholesterol and replace it with healthy cholesterol.
Q. Do eggs raise your cholesterol?
A. Eggs are healthy and nutritious foods. However, cholesterol is present in eggs, but it is not like that found in fast foods. Eggs contain healthy cholesterol levels, replacing unhealthy stored body cholesterol. Eggs help reduce harmful cholesterol and replace it with healthy cholesterol.
Q. What foods to avoid if you are prediabetic?
A. The first thing to avoid is fast-digesting carbs. Fast digesting carbs have a high glycemic index, raising blood sugar levels. In addition, these foods are sweet foods or beverages. Additionally, prediabetics should avoid fried foods, refined grains, candies and alcohol. These worsen the prediabetic condition and make you prone to type-2 diabetes. Furthermore, do not opt for foods deficient in fibre and nutrients. These are the types of foods that contain trans fat, like packaged snack foods and white bread, pasta, and rice.
Q. What is the fastest way to bring down your blood sugar?
A. If your blood sugar gets higher than usual and you want to get quickly rid of it, then you must try taking fast-acting insulin. Working out and exercising is another way to reduce your blood sugar as exercise uses stored glycogen and glucose and results in overall glucose reduction. Nonetheless, the healthy way to lower insulin is to take a more gradual approach through appropriate diets, medicines, and exercise.
Q. Is peanut butter good for diabetes?
A. Peanut butter is a good source of healthy unsaturated fats. And it is safe for a person with diabetes to consume peanut butter in moderation. Also, consider unsweetened peanut butter and free from added salt and fat.
Q. Is cheese OK for people with diabetes?
A. In most cases, a diabetic person may go for cheese. It is a calcium-rich food that contains many nutrients. However, moderation is the key as cheese is high in calories, and in most cases, it is the cause of weight gain. Goat cheese and cottage cheese are the healthiest cheese option for people with type 2 diabetes.
Q. How long does it take to reverse prediabetes?
A. Prediabetes is an early sign of getting diabetes. Unfortunately, getting rid of diabetes in days or weeks is not easy. However, following a regular healthy diet, exercising, and avoiding unhealthy foods may help you reverse prediabetes. In most cases, it takes up to 3 years to reverse prediabetes. But it all varies from person to person.
Q. Will diabetes affect my future generation?
Yes. Diabetes type 2 is a hereditary condition. The risk is greatest when there are several family members who have the disease, as well as when the kids are overweight, sedentary, and/or have other type 2 diabetes risk factors. If you have type 2 diabetes, your child has a 10-15% chance of developing the disease. Furthermore, there is a 75% chance that the other identical twin will also get type 2 diabetes if the first twin in the pair has it.