Sunday, July 8, 2012

12 Ways To Never Get Diabetes: Part 1

Nearly 25% of Americans are thought to have prediabetes- a condition of slightly elevated blood sugar levels that often develops into diabetes within 10 years- but only 4% know it. What's worse, those who are aware, less than half really try to reduce their risk by losing weight, eating less, and exercising more. These are just a few good-for-you habits that can reverse prediabetes and ensure you never get the real thing, which can mean a lifetime of drugs and blood sugar monitoring, an increased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other scary health threats. Read on for the first part of our series of 12 simple tricks everyone can start today.
1. Nudge the scale. 
Even extremely overweight people were 70% less likely to develop diabetes when they lost just 5% of their weight- even if they didn't exercise. If you weigh 175 pounds, that's a little less than 9 pounds! Use a calorie counter to see how many calories you consume- and how many you need to shave off your diet- if you want to lose a little.
2. Pick the right appetizer.
In an Arizona State University study, people with Type 2 diabetes or a precursor condition called insulin resistance had lower blood sugar levels if they consumed about 2 tablespoons of vinegar just before a high-carb meal. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which may inactive certain starch-digesting enzymes, slowing carbohydrate digestion. In fact, vinegar's effects may be similar to those of the blood sugar- lowering medication acarbose (Precose).
Before you eat that fettuccine, enjoy a salad with this dressing: Whisk 3 tablespoons vinegar, 2 tablespoons flaxseed oil, 1 glove crushed garlic, 1/4 teaspoon honey, 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt, and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Ditch your car.
People in a Finnish study who exercised the most- up to 4 hours a week or about 35 minutes a day- dropped their risk of diabetes by 80%, even if they didn't lose any weight. This pattern holds up in study after study: The famed Nurses' Health Study, for example, found that women who worked up a sweat more than once a week reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 30%. And Chinese researchers determined that people with high blood sugar who engaged in moderate exercise (and made other lifestyle changes) were 40% less likely to develop full-blown diabetes. Why is walking so wonderful? Studies show that exercise helps your body utilize the hormone insulin receptors on your cells. Insulin helps blood sugar move into cells, where it needs to go to provide energy and nutrition. Otherwise it just sloshes around in your bloodstream, gumming up blood vessel walls and eventually causing serious health problems.
4. Be a cereal connoisseur.
A higher whole grain intake is also linked to lower rates of breast cancer, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke- and cereal is one of the best sources of these lifesaving grains, if you know what to shop for.
Look for the words high fiber on the box; that ensures at least 5 g per serving. But don't stop there. Check the label; in some brands, the benefits of fiber are overshadowed by the addition of refined grains, added sugar, or cholesterol-raising fats.
Where that fiber comes from matters too, so check the ingredient list to find out exactly what those flakes or squares are made from. Millet, amaranth, quinoa, and oats are always whole grain, but if you don't see the whole in front of the wheat, corn, barley, or rice, these grains have been refined and aren't as healthy.
The "total sugars" listing doesn't distinguish between added and naturally occurring sugars; the best way to tell is scan the ingredients again. The following terms represent added sugars: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, sugar, and sucrose. Skip cereals that list any of these within the first three ingredients (which are listed by weight).
Next time: Part 2.
If you are a diabetic and do not currently see a podiatrist, call our Bristol office today to make an appointment.
Richard E. Ehle, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Diabetic Foot Care in CT
Podiatrist in Bristol, CT
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