7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Potentially Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Jan 13, 2019

 

You Will Learn

  • Why getting healthy starts with being intentional and informed.
  • Why quitting smoking and getting active can be game changers.
  • How to change your diet to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.  

 

If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, it can be an overwhelming and confusing experience. Check out our blog post HERE that provides need to know information about type 2 diabetes.  

You have control over many of the factors that influence whether or not you develop type 2 diabetes.  

 

1. Own Your Choices  

As the saying goes, if nothing changes, nothing changes. But when it comes to high blood sugar, if nothing changes, things get worse.  

Most of your health is a direct result of choices you have made, either consciously, or more likely than not, subconsciously.  

Don’t be disheartened though, this is good news! It means you can choose differently.  

The first step in transformation is understanding that every choice you make can take you one step closer or farther away from reaching your goals.  

With a conscious effort and the right tools, you can change your lifestyle to get your blood sugar under control.  

 

2. Get Informed  

Once you have decided to make some lifestyle changes, it is important to make the right ones.  

Quitting smoking and losing body fat are the two changes that will have the greatest return on your investment.

There is a lot of general advice about what you should eat and how you should move to manage your blood sugar.  

At Reshape, we offer the expertise and support to develop a personalized plan to help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  

 

3. Stop Smoking  

Smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers.3 The risk of developing diabetes increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day.  

Smoking causes inflammation and oxidative stress in your body and is also associated with a higher risk of belly fat. All three are risk factor for diabetes.  

Quitting smoking is probably the single best thing you can do for your health, and the benefits of quitting start immediately.  

 

4. Lose Belly Fat  

Belly fat is also known as visceral fat. This type of fat lies underneath your abdominal muscles and encroaches on your internal organs. Belly fat is a risk factor for diabetes because it encourages the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that increases blood sugar.1  

 

5. Reduce Your Sugar and Refined Carb Intake  

Blood sugar and insulin have a direct correlation. The higher your blood sugar, the higher your insulin. If your blood sugar and insulin are too high for long enough you will develop insulin resistance, the start of type 2 diabetes.  

To prevent this, it is important to understand how food affects your blood sugar and insulin response.  

Simply stated, there are 3 major food categories, also known as macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.  

Carbohydrates will cause the greatest blood sugar response. Refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta, candy, sweets, and pop will cause a higher blood sugar response than complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, low-sugar fruits, and vegetables.  

Protein does cause a small blood sugar and insulin rise, but much less and slower than carbohydrates.  

Fat does not have a significant impact on blood sugar or insulin levels. That is why the Keto diet is becoming more popular to treat diabetes. But before you go Keto, read this blog post to avoid 2 potential pitfalls of the Keto diet.  

 

6. Eat More Protein and Healthy Fats  

As described above, protein does not have a big impact on blood sugar and insulin levels, and fat has close to none.  

Eating foods higher in protein and healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats will keep your blood sugar levels lower, thus requiring less insulin, and less work for your pancreas.  

 

7. Get Moving!  

Whether you are exercising or just being active, your muscles need glucose for energy.

Physical activity causes glucose to move out of your bloodstream and into your muscles, thus lowering your blood sugar.  

Exercise also makes your cells more sensitive to insulin. This means less insulin is needed to lower your blood sugar to a healthy level.2  

 

Bottom Line  

There is so much that you can do to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes. It all starts with your mindset, you need to get intentional and get informed. If you are smoking, please stop, that is the #1 thing you can do for your health. Next try to eat less sugar and refined carbs and finally get moving. Any exercise is better than none.  

 

Action Items  

  • If you are smoking, set a quit date and make a plan to stop. Get an accountability parter. Talk to your doctor to see if there is a medication to make it easier. 
  • Set small, attainable goals to eat less sugar. If you are having 2 pops a day, try cutting back to 1. If you eat desert every night, try just a few times a week.
  • If you have been telling yourself you will start exercising when...stop the excuses and make it happen. Again, start small. It could just be a 10 minute walk per day over the lunch hour. With each little victory you will have new motivation to reach your next goal.  

 

References  

1. Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al. Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health. Circulation. 2009;120(11):1011-1020. doi:10.1161/circulationaha.109.192627. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19704096.

2. Richter EA, Hargreaves M. Exercise, GLUT4, and skeletal muscle glucose uptake. Physiol Rev (2013) 93:993–1017. doi:10.1152/physrev.00038.2012.

3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.

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