November is Diabetes Awareness Month and I think we are probably all aware that the incidence of type 2 diabetes is on the rise. Type 2 diabetes, known as adult onset diabetes until recently, is the most common form of diabetes where either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells just ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to convert sugar into energy to fuel our every activity. Aside from the cells being starved for energy, this form of diabetes can over time harm your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.
Now there are things you can do to considerably lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. One is take this risk assessment test at the American Diabetes Association. Plus, you can reduce your risk with some simple lifestyle changes. I found this great list of tips at The Diet Dish and here are some highlights.
- Maintain a healthy weight: It is no coincidence that the incidence of diabetes has increased as the incidence of obesity has increased. If your "ideal" weight is unrealistic for you, at least work on losing 10-20 pounds. Even modest weight loss can have profound impact on your health.
- Eat light and often: Keeping your glucose consistent throughout the day is one of the best nutritional habits to prevent diabetes. Do not skip meals. Do not overeat at meals. Have three small meals and three snacks daily to spread out your calories and therefore blood glucose throughout the day.
- Limit the amount of sweets you eat: It is a myth that eating sugar causes diabetes. Your body does not have a certain threshold for sugar that all of a sudden you will get diabetes eating your 1,000th cookie. However, limiting simple sugars is a good nutritional practice and can help to keep your blood sugar under good daily control.
- Choose foods with low glycemic index: Even foods we think are healthy like pretzels can have a strong impact on blood sugar when eaten by themselves. Choose whole grains instead of refined grains and look for fiber and protein in snack foods.
- Get regular exercise: Exercise is like natural insulin--the more you move the more you use excess glucose in your bloodstream. Look for every opportunity in your day to get more daily activity in addition to daily exercise.
To see more ways to reduce your risk just