If your bloodwork shows the signs of prediabetes, you’re not alone – more than 1 in 3 Americans are also living with the condition. Despite the name, prediabetes isn’t a pre-problem; it’s a serious health condition that, if left untreated, can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The good news is, prediabetes is reversible with proper lifestyle changes, including regular exercise and a healthy diet. But what does ‘healthy’ really mean in the context of prediabetes?

Read on as we dive into the details of this common condition and answer the question, is there a prediabetes diet?

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes have blood sugar levels between 100 and 125 mg/dl.

When you eat, the digestive system converts the food into glucose, a simple sugar your cells use for energy. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, acts like a key and allows glucose to enter your cells through the bloodstream. If you have prediabetes, your body doesn’t properly complete this process, causing glucose to build up in the bloodstream. This could be because your cells don’t respond normally to insulin, a condition called insulin resistance. Another cause is when your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to deliver glucose into the cells.

Prediabetes is like a warning sign, suggesting that without intervention and lifestyle changes, someone with this condition will likely progress to having type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes often have no symptoms, so regular check-ups are important for early detection. Making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and losing excess weight can significantly reduce the risk of progressing from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.

Nutrition and Prediabetes: The Prediabetes Diet

The foods you eat have a direct impact on controlling prediabetes and reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Although there is no one diet developed specifically for prediabetes, certain eating patterns can help lower blood sugar levels and keep your condition in check. These dietary habits include the Mediterranean Diet and the Diabetes Plate Method, among others.

Like most diets used to manage diabetes, the primary goals of a prediabetes diet are to stabilize blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight, and decrease the chance of further health complications. Here are some key components of such a diet:

Choose Whole Grains Over Refined Grains: Whole grains have more fiber and nutrients than refined grains. Examples include whole wheat, quinoa, oats, brown rice, and barley.

Eat Plenty of Fiber: High-fiber foods can help control blood sugar levels. Include vegetables, fruits, legumes (like beans and lentils), and whole grains in your diet.

Incorporate Healthy Fats: Healthy fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil can help manage blood sugar levels and improve heart health.

Limit Added Sugars and Refined Carbs: Foods and beverages high in added sugars and refined carbohydrates can spike blood sugar levels. Limit or avoid sugary drinks, sweets, and foods made with white flour.

Choose Lean Protein Sources: Lean protein can help you feel full without the added fat. Good sources include poultry (without the skin), fish, tofu, legumes, and eggs.

Monitor Portion Sizes: Eating too much of even healthy foods can lead to weight gain. Be mindful of portion sizes and try to eat meals and snacks at regular times throughout the day to keep blood sugar levels stable.

Stay Hydrated: Drinking water instead of sugary drinks can help control blood sugar levels and promote weight loss.

Limit Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol can affect blood sugar levels, so it’s important to drink in moderation if you choose to drink.

Consulting with a healthcare provider or a dietitian can help tailor these recommendations to your individual health needs and preferences, providing a personalized approach to managing prediabetes.

Eating a healthy diet is crucial to reversing prediabetes and protecting your future health. If you or a loved one need help controlling diabetes, our testing supply program and continuous glucose monitors can support your treatment plan with quality supplies delivered right to your door each month. Visit our website and contact our team today to learn more.