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Prediabetes

Pre-diabetes is a medical condition where the blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered as Type 2 diabetes. In other words, it is the precursor to Type 2 diabetes. It has no clear symptoms, where the only reliable method is through blood tests.1


Normal

Prediabetes

Diabetes

Fasting Glucose

< 6.1 mmol/L

6.1 – 6.9 mmol/L

> 7.0 mmol/L



What should you do if you have Pre-diabetes?


Weight management

Being overweight increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by seven times, while being obese makes you 20 to 40 times at a higher risk to develop diabetes than an individual with healthy weight (i.e. 18.5 to 22.9 kg/m2).2


Stay Active

Television-watching is the most detrimental form of inactivity. For instance, every two hours spent watching TV rather than performing any physical activity increases the likelihood of developing Type-2 diabetes by 20%, cardiovascular disease by 15% and premature death by 13%.3 Unhealthy snacking associated with TV watching may also explain this relationship. Hence, rather than snacking on unhealthy snacks, consider healthier snacks such as sweet cacao nibs, dried incan golden berries, quinoa puffs, etc.  


Inactivity promotes Type-2 diabetes. Hence, start working your muscles more often to promote their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. This also reduces the stress on your insulin-making cells.4 Rejoice, as you do not need to do long bouts of hot and sweaty exercise to reap this benefit. Based on the findings from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, it was suggested that a daily half hour brisk walking session can reduce the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes by 30%.5 Aside from lowering the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, exercise also provides other benefits as well (e.g. cardiovascular health).



Healthier Eating Habits

  1. Choose wholegrains

Evidence has indicated that a diet that is rich in wholegrains (e.g. quinoa, brown rice, oats, etc) reduces one’s risk to diabetes. For instance, based on the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II, it was observed that individuals who consume 2 to 3 servings of wholegrains a day were 30% less likely to develop Type-2 diabetes than those who rarely consume wholegrains.6 Furthermore, it was observed that individuals who eat an extra two servings of wholegrains daily lowered their risk of Type-2 diabetes by 21%.


  1. Skip the sugary drinks

Based on research, every additional can of sugary beverage (i.e. 330 mL) that people drink each day, increases their risk of Type-2 diabetes by 25%. This is attributable to weight gain from the consumption of sugary beverage.7


Plain water is a great choice to drink in place of sugary beverages. Alternatively, you can also consider coffee and tea as long as you do not add excessive amounts of sugar and creamer. If some sweetness is preferred, you can consider adding some yacon root syrup, which is a low-calorie natural sweetener which provides a pleasant caramel-like flavour and beneficial effect for our gut.


  1. Choose good fats

Good fats such as monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fats that are found in oil (e.g. olive oil, canola oil, chia seed oil), nuts and seeds (e.g. sacha inchi seeds, chia seeds, etc) can help to ward off type 2 diabetes. 8


Conclusion

It is never too late. By making some changes to your lifestyle and eating habits, your risk towards Type-2 Diabetes can be reduced significantly even though you may already be pre-diabetic.


References


  1. Ministry of Health Singapore. 2019. Understanding Prediabetes: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment. Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/730/Understanding-Prediabetes-Signs-Symptoms-and-Treatment. [Accessed 21 April 2021] 


  1. Hu FB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Colditz G, Liu S, Solomon CG, Willett WC. 2001. Diet, lifestyle, and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. New England journal of medicine. 345(11), 790-797.


  1. Grøntved A, Hu FB. 2011. Television viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 305(23), 2448-2455.


  1. Rana JS, Li TY, Manson JE, Hu FB. 2007. Adiposity compared with physical inactivity and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes care. 30(1), 53-58.


  1. Tanasescu M, Leitzmann MF, Rimm EB, Hu FB. 2003. Physical activity in relation to cardiovascular disease and total mortality among men with type 2 diabetes. Circulation. 2003. 107(19), 2435-2439.


  1. de Munter JS, Hu FB, Spiegelman D, Franz M, van Dam RM. 2007. Whole grain, bran, and germ intake and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study and systematic review. PLoS medicine. 4(8), e261.


  1. Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, Després JP, Willett WC, Hu FB. 2010. Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. Diabetes care. 33(11), 2477-2483.


  1. Havard T.H. Chan. 2021. Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes

[ONLINE] Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/disease-prevention/diabetes-prevention/preventing-diabetes-full-story/#:~:text=They%20found%20that%20people%20with,plant%2Dbased%20diets%20%5B41%5D. [Accessed 22 April 2021].

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