There are simple lifestyle measures that can help lower your risk.
Ways to help prevent diabetes
One way you can help lower your chance of getting type 2 diabetes is to eat a variety of foods from each food group to get the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy body weight.
Staying active is another way to keep your body weight in the healthy range and helps cut your risk for diabetes. Being physically active doesn’t mean you have to spend money joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer. Think about the kinds of physical activities that you enjoy, like walking, running, bicycling, gardening, housecleaning, swimming or dancing. Try to make time to do what you enjoy on most days of the week. Then increase how long you do it, or add another fun activity.
Another way to help lower diabetes risk is to eat a healthy diet low in added sugars and saturated fats. Examples of saturated fats include cheese, butter, lard, and cream. A good habit is to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats – like the fats found in avocados, nuts, olive oils and vegetable oils. Eating healthy also means getting plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Avoiding tobacco use is important to reducing diabetes risk, too. Tobacco use can increase blood sugar levels and lead to insulin resistance. People who smoke heavily – more than 20 cigarettes a day – have almost double the risk of developing diabetes compared with people who don’t smoke.
Going for regular medical check-ups and being in the know about your blood sugar level is another way to lower diabetes risk. Your doctor can see if your blood sugar level is in the safe zone. And, if it’s not, lifestyle changes or medication started early can be effective in getting you the help you need.
Tips for lowering unhealthy, saturated fats
Since it’s not just any fat but saturated fat that causes diabetes, a good way to lower type 2 diabetes risk is too look for ways to limit unhealthy fats from your diet. Some easy ways are to:
- Pick poultry, fish and lean red meats instead of fatty cuts of meat.
- When preparing these foods, don’t fry them. Instead, bake, broil, grill, roast or boil. Or, have plant-based proteins, like beans and lentils.
- Choose low-fat dairy products like low-fat cheese, skim milk, nonfat yogurt, nonfat frozen yogurt, evaporated skim milk and buttermilk.
- Use low-fat vegetable cooking spray when preparing foods.
- Choose lower-fat gravies and salad dressings and
- Opt for fruits and vegetables which are always good low-fat choices.
Source: Based on information from the World Health Organization, October 2018 and WebMD, 15 May 2019. This material is provided for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical/clinical advice.