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An American Epidemic: Type 2 Diabetes

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Written By Dana Yarn, RDLD

Type 2 Diabetes is turning into an epidemic; it breaks my heart to see both children and adults who are diagnosed with this disease that could have been prevented with weight management and proper nutrition. There are millions of people in this country who are walking around unaware that they have diabetes. I often hear from clients that they did not feel any symptoms when they were first diagnosed so they did not take it seriously and were not compliant to the diabetic diet their doctor recommended to them. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and feel "fine" you will have a better quality of life down the road if you make some healthy habit changes NOW. Don't worry, you can still enjoy your favorite foods and your quality of life will not go down, just focus on making small changes. Controlling your diabetes through diet and exercise is optimal. A common goal of most of my diabetic clients is to get off diabetes medication while avoiding further complications such as neuropathy, blindness, amputation, or becoming insulin dependent. You can have that goal too!

Exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week, studies show that exercise helps stabilize blood sugars. Some experts even suggest that on the days you exercise you do not have diabetes. I would not go that far, but to say the least exercise is VERY important when it comes to diabetes.

Aim to lose 7% of your body weight, several studies have proven that weight loss contributes to stable blood sugars. For a 275 lb. adult male this means lose 20 pounds or for 170 lb. female they should lose 12 pounds.

Focus on fiber and lean protein. Fiber helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates which leads to stable blood sugars and helps one avoid high blood sugar readings. Aim to eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day; the best fiber sources include most fruits, vegetables and beans. Protein also helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and should be included in most meals or snacks. Instead of having pasta with marinara sauce have ground turkey or beef with marinara sauce over a steamed vegetables.  Rather than having a piece of fruit as a snack has it with a scoop of protein and unsweet almond milk in a shake or 1-2 Tbs. all natural almond butter with your fruit. The extra protein will keep you feeling full for a longer period of time thus avoiding overeating later in the day.

If you are struggling with diabetes and have specific questions or comments I would love to help you! Post a comment and we will respond as soon as possible!

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