Prediabetes means your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough for diabetes. Normal fasting blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dL, but if it’s between 100-125 mg/dL, you have prediabetes. If it goes above 126 mg/dL on two tests, you have diabetes.
When you have diabetes, you need to be careful about what you eat and drink. You have to watch your diet closely. Prediabetes is like a warning sign that you might get type 2 diabetes. So, it’s super important to make smart choices about what you eat. We talked to Sumaiya A, a Clinical Dietitian at Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, to find out which foods you should stay away from if you have prediabetes.
Many People Don’t Know They Have Prediabetes
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says most people with prediabetes don’t even know they have it. Unlike diabetes, prediabetes often doesn’t show strong symptoms.
In India, the National Urban Diabetes Survey found that 14% of people have prediabetes. It usually happens because your body doesn’t use insulin properly. Insulin is like a key that helps sugar go into your cells for energy. But if you have prediabetes, your cells don’t listen to insulin as they should. Your body tries to make more insulin, but it can’t keep up, and your blood sugar goes up. This sets the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in the future.
What to Eat and What to Avoid
Sumaiya says, “If you have prediabetes, it’s really important to choose foods that help control your blood sugar levels and lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.” To do this, here are some foods you should avoid:
- Processed Foods: These are foods with lots of sugar, unhealthy fats, and refined carbs. They can make your blood sugar spike quickly. Examples are sugary snacks, candies, pastries, and soft drinks.
- Sugary Breakfast Cereals: Many cereals have added sugars. To avoid blood sugar spikes, go for cereals with whole grains or have oatmeal instead.
- Fruit Juices: Even though fruit juices have natural sugars, they lack the fiber found in whole fruits. It’s better to eat whole fruits in moderation and avoid homemade or packaged juices.
- High-Fat Meals: Processed and fatty meats can make you gain weight and become resistant to insulin. Instead, choose lean proteins like chicken without skin, fish, tofu, or beans.
Foods to Choose
- Non-Starchy Vegetables: Load up on leafy greens because they’re low in carbs and packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- Healthy Fats: Eat good fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil in moderation.
- Low-Fat Dairy: Go for plain, low-fat dairy or dairy alternatives to cut down on saturated fat.
- Fiber-Rich Foods: Foods high in fiber help keep your blood sugar stable. So, pick whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits with their skins.
Other Lifestyle Changes
Besides eating right, here are some things you should do to manage your blood sugar levels:
- Get regular exercise
- Keep a healthy weight
- Manage stress
- Don’t smoke and limit alcohol
If you have prediabetes, you still have a chance to prevent it from turning into diabetes. Many people don’t even know they have prediabetes, so it’s crucial to follow a healthy lifestyle every day.