The number of individuals with diabetes has skyrocketed over the years. Currently, 11.3% of the US population has diabetes while 38% of US adults are prediabetic. It is important to mention that while there are three types of diabetes, type 1, type 2, and gestational, 90-95% of people with diabetes have been diagnosed with type 2.  First, let me provide you with a brief overview of diabetes.
Our bodies, specifically our beta cells, produce a hormone known as insulin that is meant to reduce our blood glucose levels when they are high. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder often diagnosed earlier in life. With this form of diabetes, beta cells are not able to produce insulin, and individuals must rely on external insulin since their bodies do not generate it. In contrast, with type 2 diabetes, our bodies trigger a heightened demand of insulin due to high blood sugar, but the overworked beta cells cannot keep up with these demands and eventually become resistant to insulin. As a result, blood sugar remains heightened, and this is what can lead to serious health problems.
However, type 2 diabetes can be prevented and is largely influenced by lifestyle factors such as weight, nutrition, and exercise. The risk factors for type 2 diabetes include sedentary lifestyle, obesity, poor dietary habits, age, race, history of gestational diabetes, and family history of diabetes. While we cannot alter our past or our family’s past, we have the power to make improved choices regarding our weight management, exercise, and diet.
The pursuit of weight reduction is often driven by appearance goals, but it is crucial to also recognize that effective weight management holds significant importance beyond the outside.
For individuals grappling with overweight and obesity, practicing weight control can play a pivotal role in managing and preventing a variety of chronic conditions. By embracing weight management alongside dietary and exercise practices, one can decrease their risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, sleep apnea, and other weight-affected conditions.
The potential ramifications of diabetes are substantial. These encompass retinopathy (blindness), neuropathy (numbness and poor wound healing), cardiovascular disease, and nephropathy (renal dysfunction). The good news is that preventing type 2 diabetes is within our reach, and embracing these proactive measures contributes significantly to our overall health and wellbeing. Alongside weight management, eating low-glycemic foods should be a priority as well. The glycemic index (GI) proves a valuable tool, ranking foods on a scale from 1-100 based on their impact to blood sugar levels. The goal is to prioritize the consumption of low glycemic foods, foods that are absorbed slowly, to maintain a state of homeostasis, or equilibrium, in blood sugar levels. Below is a list of foods that are low and high in glycemic index.
Low GI Foods High GI Foods
Brown rice White rice
Steel-cut oats Instant oatmeal
Most fruits and vegetables Potatoes and corn
Whole-grain bread White bread
Sourdough bread Donuts
Beans Ice cream
In addition to consuming low glycemic index foods, limiting alcohol intake and regular physical activity are other steps you can take towards diabetes prevention. By embracing these proactive measures, you can embark on a journey toward a life characterized of improved wellbeing and greater happiness.
“National Diabetes Statistics Report.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/index.html.
The Writer Avery Otsuji is a Nutritionist with Inspire Medical Group, a partner of Premiere Weight Loss + Wellness. She has a passion for helping individuals reach their health goals and believes in a holistic approach to nutrition and health. Avery specializes in a wide range of topics, including weight management, heart health, diabetes, digestive health, and meal planning. With her personalized, evidence-based approach, Avery is dedicated to helping clients find sustainable nutrition and lifestyle solutions that work best for them.