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Can a Good Diet Keep Diabetes at Bay? — an article on the Smart Living Network
March 3, 2008 at 1:48 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Can a Good Diet Keep Diabetes at Bay?


The Link Between Diabetes and Diet

The link between diabetes and diet is well established. Most Americans eat a diet high in simple sugars and low in fiber. These people are at an increased risk of developing diabetes. Conversely, people who eat plenty of fiber and little sugar are unlikely to become diabetics. Saturated fats have also bee shown to contribute to the problem, especially in people who are already on their way to developing diabetes. Extra body fat, often the consequence of unhealthy eating, also makes it more likely to develop diabetes. This fat, especially if located around the midsection, has been shown to decrease the production of insulin (the hormone that controls the levels of glucose in the blood) in the pancreas and reduce the cells" responsiveness to the hormone.


Pre diabetes is a condition in which an individual has a higher than normal blood sugar level, but that level is not yet high enough to qualify as diabetic. Most people with pre diabetes go on to develop full-blown diabetes within ten years of their diagnosis. But this result is not inevitable. Healthy lifestyle changes, including a good diet, exercise, and plenty of sleep can help reverse this process. Many people who implement these changes not only do not develop diabetes, but, in fact, return their blood sugar to a consistently healthy level. Even if you're not pre diabetic, applying all these measures early will not only keep you from having problems with your blood sugar later on but also contribute to a longer, healthier life.

Can a Good Diet Keep Diabetes at Bay?

Eating a healthy diet can have a huge influence on your risk of developing diabetes. Often times, replacing unhealthy items with healthy ones is all that's required. The following are some basic recommendations for changing your diet to reduce your diabetes risk:

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Replace white flour, pasta and rice with whole grain versions.
  • Be sure to include plenty of soluble fiber at every meal.
  • Eat lean protein, such as fish, poultry, low-fat dairy and legumes rather than red meat.
  • Cut out all trans fats from your diet and make sure to only eat small amounts of saturated fats. Most of the fat in your diet should come from healthy mono unsaturated fats such as olive oil.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.

The Role of Exercise

For some poorly understood reason, muscle cells become less responsive to insulin if they are not exercised regularly. This is often how diabetes starts. By exercising regularly, preferably at least thirty minutes a day, you can keep your muscle cells sensitive to insulin and may prevent the development of diabetes. Fitness levels, or lack thereof, are the most accurate predictor of diabetes, even beyond age or obesity. Staying fit is the most important thing you can do to make sure you don't get diabetes.

The Importance of Sleeping

Getting sufficient sleep is important to healthy living. Among countless other benefits, getting adequate amounts of sleep can help curb the appetite and aid digestion, two things that are very useful when trying to eat healthy to avoid diabetes. A recent study found a more direct link between sleep deprivation and diabetes. The researchers discovered that otherwise healthy individuals with a good weight and body mass index who didn't get enough deep sleep showed a markedly decreased insulin response after only three nights in a row of insufficient sleep. Hence, if you're worried about developing diabetes, getting adequate amounts of restful sleep should be one of your priorities, along with diet and exercise.


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