Prediabetes is a condition in which the blood glucose level is higher than normal fasting blood sugar or normal blood sugar after eating that may progress to Type 2 diabetes if we don’t improve our diet and physical activity.
By 2045, IDF projections show that 1 in 8 adults, approximately 783 million, will be living with diabetes, an increase of 46%. It is a crucial phase to be tamed, as it poses an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
A pre-diabetic diet plan can help maintain blood sugar levels. Lifestyle changes can help to maintain balanced blood sugar levels.
What is a Prediabetes Diet?
A prediabetes diabetic diet involves a proper diet that includes all balanced, nourishing nutrients and reduces the high risk of increasing blood sugar.
Risks and Consequences of Untreated Prediabetes
Prediabetes is a serious health condition. We should consult a doctor and take the necessary actions as it causes an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Some of the risks and consequences of untreated prediabetes are:
- Progression to Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Kidney damage
- Eye problems
- Nerve damage
- Increased infections.
Importance of Early Intervention
Providing early diagnosis and proper care for all types of diabetes can:
- Help people living with the condition to avoid or delay associated complications
- It reduces its progression to Type 2 diabetes
- Reduces the mental stress over the condition
- Reduces the cost of medication or treatment required
Diet for Prediabetes- — What foods should I eat?
The best diet for prediabetes should include diverse food groups that are sustainable, healthy, balanced and low GI (Glycemic Index) foods that do not restrain us from having our favourite foods.
1. Focus on Fiber-Rich Foods:
Fiber is an important part of a prediabetes diet because it helps to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, which can help to keep blood sugar levels stable. Good sources of fiber include:
- Fruits and vegetables: Aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, and carrots, are especially good choices for people with prediabetes.
- Whole grains: Choose whole grains over refined grains whenever possible. Whole grains are a good source of fiber, as well as other important nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Good examples of whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, and oats.
- Legumes: Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and peas, are a good source of fiber, protein, and other nutrients.
- Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. They can be eaten as a snack or added to meals and salads.
2. Choose Complex Carbohydrates:
Complex carbohydrates are a type of carbohydrate that takes longer for the body to digest than simple carbohydrates. This means that they cause blood sugar levels to rise more slowly and gradually. Complex carbohydrates are also a good source of fiber, which can help to keep blood sugar levels stable.
Good sources of complex carbohydrates include:
- Whole grains: Whole grains are a good source of fiber, as well as other important nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Good examples of whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, and oats.
- Legumes: Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and peas, are a good source of fiber, protein, and other nutrients.
- Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber, as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, and carrots, are especially good choices for people with prediabetes.
- Fill the plate with one-quarter carb foods oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread or pasta, quinoa, starchy vegetables (such as potatoes and peas), beans, fruit, yoghurt, and a cup of milk.
3. Limit Sugar and Processed Foods:
Sugar and processed foods are high in empty calories, which means they provide little to no nutrients. They are also often high in saturated and trans fats, which can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
Limiting sugar and processed foods is one of the most important things you can do to manage prediabetes and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Here are some tips for limiting sugar and processed foods:
- Read food labels carefully and choose foods that are low in added sugar. Added sugar is any sugar that is not naturally present in food, such as sugar that is added to candy, baked goods, and processed foods.
- Avoid sugary drinks, such as soda, juice, and sports drinks.
- Limit your intake of processed foods, such as fast food, frozen dinners, and snack foods.
- Choose whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.
4. Healthy Fat Choices:
Healthy fats are an important part of a prediabetes diet. They can help to improve blood sugar control, reduce cholesterol levels, and promote heart health.
Good sources of healthy fats include:
- Monounsaturated fats: Monounsaturated fats are found in foods such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
- Polyunsaturated fats: Polyunsaturated fats are found in foods such as fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, and nuts and seeds.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is especially beneficial for heart health. They are found in fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
5. Incorporate Lean Proteins:
It is important to choose lean protein sources that are low in saturated and trans fats. Saturated and trans fats can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
Here are some tips for choosing lean proteins:
- Choose skinless chicken and turkey breasts.
- Choose lean cuts of beef, such as flank steak or eye of round.
- Grill or bake fish and poultry instead of frying them.
- Choose low-fat dairy products
- Limit your intake of processed meats, such as sausage, bacon, and hot dogs.
Meal Planning for pre-diabetic diet plan:
A meal plan is a guide on when, what, and how much to eat to get the nutrition while keeping the blood sugar levels within the target by considering our goals, tastes, lifestyle, and medicines we take.
- Option 1: Vegetable omelette made with 2 eggs, bell peppers, spinach, and a sprinkle of turmeric. Serve with a small serving of plain Greek yogurt.
- Option 2: A bowl of oatmeal made with rolled oats, topped with sliced almonds and a few blueberries. You can add a touch of cinnamon for flavor.
- A small portion of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, and cashews).
- A cup of green tea.
- Option 1: Grilled chicken or tofu salad with a variety of colorful vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers) and a vinaigrette dressing made with olive oil and lemon juice.
- Option 2: Chickpea and vegetable curry with a side of brown rice or quinoa.
- Greek yogurt with a few slices of cucumber or carrot sticks.
- A small piece of fruit (like a small apple or a few berries).
Evening Snack (if needed):
- A few cherry tomatoes or cucumber slices.
- Herbal tea or a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon.
- Option 1: Grilled fish (salmon or tilapia) with a side of sautéed greens (spinach or kale) and a serving of quinoa.
- Option 2: Lentil and vegetable stew (dal) served with a small portion of brown rice and a side of mixed greens.
Foods to Avoid If You Have Prediabetes
Sugary Beverages- Sugary drinks provide empty calories and are a real risk factor for obesity.
Sugary Snacks- Cut out high-calorie, junky snacks, cakes, cookies, candy and save your decadent desserts for special occasions.
White Bread and Refined Grains- They do not have any fibre or nutrients, so limit portion sizes.
Sweetened Breakfast Cereals- Breakfast is important, but do not eat sugar-laden cereals that spike the blood sugar in the morning.
The Role of Physical Activity:
- Physical training activity plays a role in maintaining blood sugar levels and increasing insulin sensitivity.
- Doing exercises also helps in weight management, lowers blood sugar levels, increases energy, reduces stress, etc
Stress Management Techniques:
- Stress management will also control prediabetes.
- Some of the stress management techniques are:
- Deep breathing
Getting Adequate Sleep:
Smoking and Alcohol Considerations:
- Both smoking and drinking alcohol are not for humans with pre-diabetes.
- Many alcoholic beverages are dehydrating. In addition, some cocktails may contain high amounts of sugar, which can cause blood sugar spikes.
- Alcohol sometimes increases appetite, causing us to eat more junk.
- It leads to mental health problems, insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels, stress, etc. Avoiding alcohol and smoking is always the best option for prediabetes.
Monitoring and tracking
Blood Sugar Monitoring:
- It is crucial to monitor blood sugar levels in prediabetes.
- Blood glucose meters use a drop of blood to check the levels at that moment, and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) check the blood glucose regularly, day or night.
- Regular checking of blood sugar levels gives a clear understanding of diabetes and prediabetes.
Keeping a Food Diary:
- Keeping a food diary helps to note down the list of food items to eat and follow it so that it helps to maintain blood sugar levels.
- The calories consumed can be noted.
Consulting a Registered Dietitian:
- Consulting a Registered Dietitian (RD) is the best option for managing prediabetes.
- RD’s help us develop a prediabetic diet plan tailored to our body and lifestyle.
- They also suggest diabetes reversal programs and intermittent fasting diet plans.
Cooking and Dining Out
Healthy Cooking Tips:
- Choose Healthy Fats: Opt for healthier cooking oils like olive oil, avocado oil, or canola oil, which are high in monounsaturated fats. Limit the use of saturated and trans fats, such as butter and margarine.
- Baking, Grilling, and Steaming: These cooking methods require minimal oil and help retain the natural flavors of the ingredients. Use non-stick cooking spray or parchment paper to reduce sticking.
- Reduce Sodium: Cut down on salt by using herbs, spices, and other flavorings like garlic, lemon, and vinegar to season your dishes. You can also choose low-sodium or no-salt-added versions of canned goods.
- Roasting and Broiling: These methods can add a nice crispiness to your dishes without the need for excessive oil. However, be cautious with high-temperature cooking, as it may produce harmful compounds in certain foods.
Making Smart Choices When Dining Out:
- Choose restaurants that offer healthy options. Many restaurants now have menus that indicate which items are low in calories, fat, and sodium.
- Ask about their cooking methods. Avoid restaurants that fry their food.
- Choose lean protein and whole-grain options. Avoid processed meats, such as bacon and sausage
- Limit your portion sizes. It is easy to overeat when eating out, so be sure to control your portions.
Prediabetes Diet Success Stories
After being diagnosed with pre-diabetes in July 2022, it was hard to process it for my mother. Being a 70-year-old, she thought she would be diabetic soon and became weak by eating too little and cutting all sugar. It was then I came across the diabetes reversal program at Satva Clinic. The expert guidance from the doctor and prediabetic diet plan helped my mother to be fit and control her prediabetes.
Testimonials and Inspirational Stories
When my nephew learned he was pre-diabetic, he was devastated. Being a foodie, a chocolate and biryani lover, he couldn’t accept it and became stressed. Being pre-diabetic at the young age of 32 is hard. That’s when I suggested Satva’s diabetes reversal program.
After joining, he started losing weight and saw a control in his blood sugar. He improved his sleep quality and started looking fitter without giving up his favourite foods! A pre-diabetic diet plan specially curated for him did wonders.
The role of diet in managing prediabetes is essential. Eating good food, having a balanced diet, and exercising can maintain blood sugar levels. Weight management, physical activities, and proper sleep can be beneficial in maintaining blood sugar levels.
Satva Clinic has the best diabetic doctors in Bangalore who focus on comprehensive changes based on natural treatment, diet plans and lifestyle changes. The Diabetes Reversal and Wellness Program is a 12-week program that includes six diet consultations with continuous support through WhatsApp for diet advice.