Top tips to avoid diabetes
If you have recently been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, or have a HbA1c between 42-47mmol/mol then here are some simple tips to get you started. This is based on healthy eating guidance and applies to most of us! If you have a family history or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes then it is worth considering what changes you can make. Diabetes can often be avoided if action is taken sooner rather than later.
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Top 10 tips for avoiding diabetes
- Do not skip meals! This only causes your metabolism to slow down, and you will be more likely to eat too much later in the day
- Include good sources of protein 2-3 times per day. This can include lean meat, fish, eggs and beans. Protein is very important for providing a sense of fullness after a meal
- Eat more fibre! Many of us do not get enough fibre so switch to wholegrains and include lots of vegetables, salad and 2-3 handfuls of fruit throughout the day. You can add fruit and vegetables to cereal, sandwiches, eat it as a snack or make a soup
- Snack mindfully! Try limit keeping snacks on your desk if you are working. You will be inclined to eat them but not get the full sense of satisfaction if you are not paying attention. Keep options nearby such as a bowl of fruit which you can go to when you feel hungry
- Choose ‘low glycaemic index’ foods such as brown rice, sweet potato, bulgur wheat, yam, rye or sourdough bread at mealtimes. Carbohydrates are not the enemy and provide you with important energy. These options keep your blood sugar steady and help reduce blood sugar ‘spikes’
- Do not deny foods completely or label them as good and bad. All foods can be eaten in moderation, and nothing is completely off the menu. Listen to what your body needs and make conscious decisions
- Find exercise you enjoy! You do not have to join a gym if it is not something you enjoy. Whatever the form of exercise, the most important thing is that you can keep it up
- If appropriate, lose 5-10% of your body weight, this has been shown to help reduce risk of type 2 diabetes. Be careful however to avoid ‘dieting’, instead look for small lifestyle changes which you can achieve
- Gradually reduce portions – you must allow your body to adapt to smaller amounts so try not to go cold turkey! If you feel the need to snack after a meal, this is a sign you may not have had enough to eat. Remember to fill your plate with more vegetables e.g. boiled, roasted, in a stew/soup, or add beans and pulses to help bulk it up
- Make it fun and interesting! Try new recipes and get your friends/family involved. The changes you make need to become a way of life for the long-term. Remember there is no one size fits all when it comes to making dietary changes!