Preventing Diabetes

Preventing diabetes is possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that with moderate exercise and weight loss, diabetes can be avoided or at least delayed substantially. That is, type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that only accounts for about five percent of the diabetes cases in the United States. It can be controlled but probably not prevented.

You can prevent the most common form of diabetes, type 2, with a twofold approach: Lose some weight, and exercise five days a week or more. It also makes sense to eat a balanced diet and decrease your stress levels, but merely losing a little weight can stop diabetes for many people.

Losing weight

To prevent or delay diabetes, lose at least five to seven percent of your body weight if you are overweight. Being overweight interferes with the way the body uses insulin and can also raise blood pressure and strain your heart.

Choose the diet that works best for you. A Mediterranean diet is a good choice to fight diabetes, as well as high blood pressure and heart disease. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables and good fats like olive oil. It uses beans, fish, seafood and a small amount of lean meat for protein and prefers nonfat or low-fat dairy products to whole milk, butter and cream. Some adults choose to make wine a part of their Mediterranean diet, but it is not an essential element.

Other people have found weight loss success with a low-carbohydrate, Atkins-style diet. Still others go vegan. A vegan diet automatically cuts high-calorie meat and dairy choices from the menu.

Whatever diet you choose, avoid fatty foods like fried chicken, fried fish and breakfast meats. Do not use whole milk or dairy products made from whole milk, and stick to low-fat salad dressings. Also avoid shortening, stick margarine, lard and non-dairy creamer. Cut back on sticky desserts and baked goods, too, which are often full of bad fats. Opt instead for fruit, perhaps with calcium-rich, low-fat yogurt.


The other half of the CDC recommendation is exercise. A workout need not be strenuous or prolonged to be effective. A daily walk of half an hour or a similar amount of swimming or calisthenics will save many people from diabetes.

However, if you have not been exercising for a while, start with a gentle walk of 10 minutes or so, and only gradually increase your time and distance. Eventually, you can increase your walking time and develop a regular circuit that will keep your body tuned.

Another approach is to take a brief walk in the morning, another at lunch and a third in the evening. As long as you put in a half hour altogether, that's all that matters; iit does not have to be all at once.

Working together, a healthy diet and mild exercise can save you from diabetes. At the same time, you'll enjoy the energy boost and relaxation your improved lifestyle brings.

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