Diet for prediabetes
Here are some dietary recommendations for prediabetes, including a list of foods that are best for those looking for the best diet to lower blood sugar.
As part of a prediabetes diet, partake foods that are moderately low in carbohydrates and take longer to digest. This helps prevent your blood sugars from rising from a large blast of glucose. Include fibre-rich foods, lean proteins, and foods with a low Glycaemic Index. For example, vegetables, such as carrots, Leafy greens, Squash, Corn, Whole wheat pasta etc.
Restrict your carbohydrates intake to about 1 cup (or two slices of bread) per meal.
Protein slows the rate at which carbohydrates enter your bloodstream, keeping blood sugar levels steadier. Eating protein at every meal can help you feel full and reduce the urge to snack.
Any diet, no matter how nutritionally perfect, needs to fit into your lifestyle to be practically sustainable.
Include foods you love to eat in your diet.
Allow for indulgences and special occasions, so you can satisfy the occasional craving and fit in a party or work event without going off your diet plan or feeling guilty.
Rely on “regular” foods and ingredients that your local supermarket carries.
Adopt the motto, “Eat to live” and not “live to eat”
Spend only the amount of time in the kitchen that you need to, rather than requiring elaborate dishes for all three meals.
When you’re under physical stress, your blood sugar levels can increase. Managing mental stress is a key part of both weight loss and effective glucose control. It is important to practice breathing and relaxation techniques to help deal with daily stressors. Practice yoga or meditation for relaxation.
Getting quality sleep (7-8 hours per night) is vital to health. Not getting enough quality sleep can increase stress hormones in the body, which can lead to elevated blood sugar levels. Too little sleep—less than seven hours a night—and poor sleep quality, can increase insulin resistance.
Maintain a regular sleep schedule when possible. If you have insomnia or suffer from snoring (which could be a sign of sleep apnoea) seek medical help.
Adopt good sleep hygiene. Do not keep any electronic devices in the bedroom, keep your bedroom dark, cool and quiet and do not eat food or drink alcohol late in the evening. Eating late at night is associated with elevated sugar levels in people with prediabetes, so it is always advisable to make lunch your largest meal and eat nothing starting three hours before bed.
Strictly adhere to portion control:
The amount of food you eat is directly related to the rise in your blood sugar levels, mainly carbohydrate containing foods. The problem is, the portion sizes we are used to eating are often much larger than the recommendation. Portion control can assist weight loss, which we know is helpful in reversing prediabetes. In addition to reading food labels, use measuring cups, measuring spoons or household food scales to ensure you are eating an appropriate portion.
Foods to Limit or Avoid:
Fatty red meat and poultry with skin
Solid fats (e.g., lard and butter)
Refined grains (e.g., white bread, pasta, rice, and crackers, and refined cereals)
Sweets (e.g., candy, cake, ice cream, pie, pastries, and cookies)
Sugar-sweetened beverages, (e.g., soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, and sugar-sweetened coffee and tea beverages)
Alcoholic beverages and mixed drinks
Sugar-sweetened foods, such as flavoured yogurt and oatmeal, and sugary condiments
Dried fruit and fruit juice
The Glycaemic Index helps you pick foods that will not cause dramatic changes in blood sugar
The Glycaemic Index is a number that tells you how fast or how slow your body converts carbohydrates into blood sugar. The scale ranges from 1 to 100; for a prediabetes diet, the lower the number, the better:
< 56 = Low
56 - 69 = Medium
>69 = High
Research suggests that focusing on foods with low-glycaemic index carbohydrates and high fibre may protect against diabetes and cardiovascular disease. You can use food labels to estimate the Glycaemic Index value of a particular food.
To know about prediabetes and why we should be concerned, click here
For sample meal plans for prediabetes click here