There are many ways to help prevent the onset of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes — and making healthy lifestyle changes, including losing weight and getting regular exercise, is a great place to start.
In fact, weight loss and other healthy habits have been found to be more effective than medications for reversing pre-diabetes, a precursor to diabetes with which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not as high as in diabetes. If you’re following a healthy diet, such as the South Beach Diet, you’re taking the right steps.
To reverse pre-diabetes (and prevent type 2 diabetes), try these smart-eating guidelines from the South Beach Diet:
- Eat whole grains, such as brown rice, barley, wild rice, bulgur, slow-cooking oatmeal, and whole-grain breads and pastas. Quinoa is another healthy option.
- Enjoy beans and other legumes frequently.
- Eat plenty of vegetables, prepared without unhealthy fats (like stick margarine and butter) or sweetened sauces.
- Choose whole, fresh fruits like berries, apples, and citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit halves. Avoid canned or jarred fruits with added sweeteners or syrups.
- Include nonfat or low-fat dairy in your diet, such as fat-free or low-fat milk, plain or artificially sweetened low-fat soy milk, nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt, and artificially sweetened low-fat or nonfat flavored yogurt.
- Focus on lean proteins, like fish and shellfish, skinless poultry breasts, and lean cuts of meat.
- Use healthy cooking methods, such as baking, roasting, broiling, or grilling.
- Avoid saturated fats and trans fats; instead, choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, found in olive oil and canola oil, for example, or foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish.