Minimising the risk of Diabetes
by Helen West, Dietician at The Weightmatters Practice (full profile)
Prevention is defined as ‘keeping from happening’ so can diabetes be prevented? There are certainly many steps and choices we can make to build a lifestyle that reduces the threat of developing diabetes. The 3 key facts for the best chance to escape diabetes are; a healthy diet, to maintain a healthy weight and to be as active as possible within your own capabilities.
What would be termed as a ‘diabetic diet’ is actually one that many of us should follow. That is, a diet with little to no sugar, high fibre and low fat, particularly saturated fats, which give a greater probability of heart disease. This should be linked with portion controlled carbohydrates (starchy foods like cereal, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes) determined and dependent on age, sex and level of physical activity.
As we get older, we actually need a lower intake of calories because our metabolism slows down. Even if we maintain a healthy diet we still need to be careful with portion sizes. Invariably people eat what they have always eaten, which is fine when we are young and the calories get more efficiently burned but keeping to the same amounts once over 35/40yrs old will effect our weight unless we are particularly active. It is this weight gain that can be a major factor in developing diabetes because excess around the waistline creates insulin resistance.
It is this mechanism which can lead to ‘Impaired fasting glucose’, where glucose levels are raised above the normal range.
Research shows that if a person is said to have impaired fasting glucose, they have a 50% risk of becoming diabetic within 10 years.