Healthy diet can prevent prediabetes progressing
Diabetes is a rising epidemic among the New Zealand population and prediabetes is also starting to emerge.
According to the 2008/09 NZ Adult Nutrition Survey, 18.6 per cent of the New Zealand’s population 15 years and over had prediabetes.
Prediabetes refers to blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classed as Type 2 diabetes.
The diagnosis of prediabetes can be daunting but the good news is that a healthy diet and lifestyle may prevent prediabetes from progressing into Type 2.
Here are our top five nutrition tips to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Tip 1: Rate your carbohydrates: Choose quality carbohydrates that are packed with nutrients and/or fibre.
For example wholegrain or wholemeal breads, pasta and grains, fresh fruit, low fat dairy and starchy vegetables.
Tip 2: It’s never too late for the healthy plate: A great tool to use to manage portion sizes at your lunch and dinner meals is the healthy plate model which comprises of: half a plate of nonstarchy vegetables, quarter of a plate of carbohydrates and the other quarter of the plate is protein.
Tip 3: Snack hacks: Choose energy-filled healthy snacks that keep you fuller for longer, for example, a piece of fruit, wholegrain crackers, a small handful of nuts, hummus and veggie sticks or a pottle of low sugar yoghurt.
Tip 4: Think before you drink: A litre bottle of fruit juice or fizzy drink has around 20 to 30 teaspoons of sugar.
This can be shocking when the recommended added sugar intake according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for adults is only six teaspoons per day.
Aim for fluids with no added sugar such as water, milk, herbal tea, tea and coffee with no sugar to ensure you are staying hydrated throughout the day with nourishing fluids.
Tip 5: Manage your weight mate. Maintaining a healthy weight through choosing heathy foods and exercise can help reduce the risk of prediabetes progressing to Type 2 diabetes.
This includes limiting foods high in calories such as takeaways, deep fried foods, high sugar drinks and foods and processed foods.
Prediabetes can be looked at as if someone was standing at a cross roads with two paths they can take, one being the path to Type 2 diabetes and the other being the path to reversing their prediabetes through diet, exercise and lifestyle measures.
Just remember: “Progress is progress, no matter how small”.
Dushanka Hettige is a NZ registered dietitian, MHT Diabetes Trust. The MHT Diabetes Trust runs a series of education classes in the community. For more information: Ph 357 5992, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.diabetestrust.org.nz and facebook.com/MHTDiabetestrust/