How to Avoid Getting Diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, 57 million Americans are considered “pre diabetes”. That means a person is “at risk” for getting type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That number may seem incredibly high — that’s why it is so important to learn how to prevent diabetes.
The ADA also tells us that there are about 1.5 million new diagnoses of diabetes every year in people aged twenty or older. Many of these cases of diabetes could have been prevented with a few simply lifestyle changes. Diabetes is not a death sentence — millions of people live normal lives with diabetes, thanks to proper treatment and lifestyle changes. But those same millions who now face insulin treatment and other drastic measures to take care of their diabetes could have prevented the onset of diabetes altogether.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolism disorder that arises from improper levels of glucose in the blood. Since most of what we eat is broken down into glucose, any problems with absorbing glucose can cause serious problems in the body. Glucose is basically sugar in the blood — this is why some people call diabetes “sugar diabetes” — but gluclose is a good thing for humans. In fact, is is our main source of “fuel”.
When food is eaten, the glucose from the food makes its way into the bloods. Certain cells in the body use glucose for energy and growth, but glucose cannot enter these cells without the presence of insulin. What is insulin? Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. When you eat, the pancreas releases insulin to help our cells absorb glucose from our blood. In the process, insulin lowers our body’s blood sugar level.
Diabetic people either do no produce enough insulin, produces no insulin, or have cells that do not properly absorb insulin from the pancreas. An excess of blood glucose eventually just passes from the body in urine — even if there’s plenty of glucose in the blood, diabetic people’s cells are not able to absorb it for energy and growth.
Three Ways to Prevent Diabetes
Because diabetes can cause drastic and painful symptoms, ranging from heart disease and high blood pressure to blindness and kidney failure, taking steps now to prevent diabetes could save you the expense and pain associated with diabetes later in life. Even if you consider yourself fairly healthy and don’t have any serious health problems now, taking these three simple steps will help you keep your body healthy and diabetes free.
Were you expecting to avoid a major life complication without exercising? Everywhere you turn these days, you find more evidence to support the idea that we all need to exercise more. You’ve heard it before from your doctor and nothing motivated you to start — what if you found out that exercising just a little bit more every week could reduce your chances of being diagnosed as a diabetic?
As little as forty extra minutes of physical activity a week can reduce your chances of contracting diabetes by as much as 25%, according to the ADA. Forty minutes of exercise can be anything from two twenty minute sessions of basic cardio exercises (like walking on a treadmill) or simply walking to work one or two days a week instead of driving. Exercise doesn’t have to mean attaching yourself to a machine at an overpriced gym — physical activity of any kind, like mowing a lawn or playing a round of gold, will help your body avoid diabetes.
Stop Eating Carbs
Among the most important dietary changes that can help prevent type 2 diabetes is to cut out carbohydrates. You don’t have to avoid them altogether — but eating smaller portions of carbohydrate heavy foods could save you tons of money and time in the future treating diabetes.
Simple carbohydrates are carbs most likely to be immediately converted into fat, and fat in certain areas of the body contributes directly to type 2 diabetes. Simple carbs are smaller molecules of sugar – similar in structure to starch but smaller. The individuals sugars (like glucose, fructose and galactose) are simple carbs, as are most instances where two sugars are bonded together, like the disaccharides.
Simple carbs are digested quickly because these small sugars are used immediately for your body’s energy. Foods like breads, pastas, white rice, and potatoes are simple carb-laden and are best eaten sparingly if you want to prevent diabetes. The goal in preventing diabetes is to make your body’s level of blood sugar regular throughout the day, preventing spikes and valleys that can lead to diabetic troubles.
For people who love their simple carbohydrates but still want to prevent the onset of diabetes, you’re in luck. You can find lots of breads and pastas made with whole grains instead of simple carbs. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a simple carb-free potato.Your best bet is to eat a small portion of sweet potatoes without adding any sugar or syrup. Start eating brown rice instead of white rice. Small changes like this can make a huge difference.
Eat Less Meat
No one is trying to tell you to become a vegan or a vegetarian. You can eat smaller portions and smaller amounts of meat without going full veggie. Many households have already implemented a “Meatless” day into their weekly menus both for health and economic reasons. Consider adding two meatless days — breakfasts, lunches, and dinners without meat of any kind — to save yourself the pain and stress of a diabetic future.
Meats contain high levels of saturated fats — eating lots of saturated fat leads to diabetes. It is as simple as that. Substituting meat for healthier proteins twice a week is a small price to pay for a future without diabetes complications.
Over a quarter of the American population over the age of 65 has diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates that there are six million people living with undiagnosed diabetes right now in America. Since diabetes severely impacts quality of life and can lead to serious health problems, avoiding diabetes by making some small lifestyle changes just makes sense.