Tips for diabetic control and prevention
By Marybeth Allison, RD, LDN
With type 2 diabetes on the rise in the United States, the Centers for Disease Controland Prevention (CDC) estimates that the number of older individuals with diabetes will double or triple by 2050 (1). This means that one in three adults aged 65 years or older will be affected by the disease.
The good news is there are small changes you can make now for a healthier future!
5 tips to help prevent or control diabetes in the New Year:
1. Make a Small Weight Loss Goal
Losing even a few pounds such as 2% of your body weight can benefit glycemic control. Losses of 5% to 10% in body weight can lead to significant improvement for levels of blood glucose, blood pressure, and lipids with fewer medication interventions (2).
2. Monitor Portions and Focus on Fruits and Vegetables
Use the My Plate guide to help plan your meals. This is the latest nutrition information and recommendations from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The website even offers free customized information for your age, gender, weight, and health goals. Go to ChooseMyPlate.gov to start planning today. (3)
3. Be Mindful and Chew Well
Studies suggest that faster eating leads to higher calories consumed, weight gain, higher blood sugar, and larger waistline (4). By slowing the meal down and chewing more, the brain has time to recognize intake and send signals of fullness. Give yourself time to enjoy the meal and flavors. Try different spices and cooking methods to add variety.
4. Stay Hydrated with Water
Our bodies are made mostly of water, so staying hydrated is an important part of any lifestyle. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day can provide the hydration your body needs to function as well as provide blood sugar control and appetite satiation (5). Be careful with sugary drinks such as soda, sports drinks, alcohol, and juice. These can cause spikes in blood sugar as well as empty calories.
5. Be Physically Active
One size does not fit all with activities. Find what is right for you and give it a try even if it just a few minutes at a time. Maybe try dancing, chair exercises, water aerobics, or go for a walk after dinner. Find something fun to do after your meal to help prevent over indulging with food (4). Being active does not mean you need a gym membership.
Marybeth Allison, RD, LDN is a Nutritionist at PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. PACE is an alternative to nursing home care for seniors and is based on a personalized schedule of adult day center and home care combined with geriatric healthcare expertise.
(1) Number of Americans with diabetes projected to double or triple by 2050. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r101022.html. Updated October 22, 2010. Accessed December 12, 2017.
(2) Delahanty LM. The Look AHEAD study: implications for clinical practice go beyond the headlines. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014; 114(4):537-542
(3) USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov website. https://www.choosemyplate.gov. Accessed December 22, 2017.
(4) McCullough, Marsha. 10 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy Portions. Diabetic Living website. http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/food-t-eat/nutrition/10-easy-ways-to-eat-healhty-portions?page=0. Accessed December 15, 2017.
(5) Doskictz, Jewels. Staying Hydrated with Diabetes. Diabetic Connect website. http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-information-articles/general/767-staying-hydrated-with-diabetes. Accessed December 22, 2017.