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Diabetes prevention: Expert advice on how to stop diabetes before it starts

Updated on: 14 June,2023 10:18 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Aakanksha Ahire | aakanksha.ahire@mid-day.com

Diabetes prevention is directly linked to the food we eat and the amount of sugar we consume. Health experts suggest adopting healthy lifestyle habits to keep diabetes at bay

Diabetes prevention: Expert advice on how to stop diabetes before it starts

Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels and other health indicators can help detect any potential signs of diabetes early on. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, excess weight gain, stress and insufficient sleep are among a few common factors that give birth to various health concerns. Most common of them all is diabetes. “Diabetes is a heterogenous disorder resulting from the complex interaction of the genetic and environmental factors,” says Dr Sonali Kagne, deputy consultant, department of endocrinology, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai. She affirms that there are several lifestyle choices and eating habits that help in diabetes prevention. 


Diabetes prevention is directly linked to the food we eat and the amount of sugar we consume, directly or indirectly. Kagne says, “Consuming excessive amounts of sugar can lead to various health issues, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and dental problems. It is important that our diet includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins and healthy fats.”


Carbohydrates, proteins and fats constitute the macronutrients that our body requires to gain energy. Each play a key role in ensuring the human body stays in good health. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate mainly used as a source of energy. If consumed in excess, this extra energy is stored in the body in the form of triglycerides. Proteins help build and repair tissues, while fats provide energy and support vital functions like hormone production. A balance of all macronutrients ensures our overall well-being. At the same time, consumption of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals obtained from a variety of food groups as well as drinking adequate water too helps maintain optimum health.


Role of sugar in diabetes
Sugar or carbohydrates in the food is broken down into glucose, which enters the bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas helps transport glucose from the blood into the cells to be used for energy.

However, in individuals with diabetes, there is either insufficient insulin production (Type 1 diabetes) or the body's cells are resistant to the effects of insulin (Type 2 diabetes) which leads to the level of blood glucose (sugar) remaining high. Consuming foods and drinks containing high amounts of sugar can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, especially in individuals with diabetes or impaired insulin function. This can result in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), which can lead to symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision. If left untreated, one can develop more serious health complications.

Role glycemic index plays to keep diabetes in check
The glycemic index or GI is a scale that measures how quickly carbohydrates, including sugars, raise blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI value cause a more rapid and significant increase in blood sugar compared to those with a low GI value. Hence it is important for people with diabetes to avoid consuming foods high in GI index.

Tips for diabetes prevention
Kagne lists down some simple tips that can aid in diabetes prevention:

Eat healthy
Adopt a balanced and nutritious diet that includes a variety of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. Limit the consumption of processed food and beverages containing sugar.

Weight management
Excess body weight, particularly around the waistline, increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Combine a healthy diet with regular physical activity to manage weight effectively.

Regular physical activity
Engage in regular exercise to improve insulin sensitivity and help maintain a healthy weight. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with strength training exercises at least twice a week.

Portion control
Be mindful of portion sizes to prevent overeating. Use smaller plates, bowls and utensils to help control portion sizes and avoid the temptation to consume excessive calories.

Choose water over sugary drinks
Always choose to drink water or unsweetened beverages instead of sugary sodas, energy drinks, fruit juices, or sweetened coffee and tea.

Manage stress
Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practising relaxation techniques, engaging in hobbies, exercising regularly or seeking support from friends, family or a mental health professional.

Regular check-ups
Visit your healthcare provider regularly for routine check-ups and screenings. Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels and other health indicators can help detect any potential signs of diabetes early on.

Also Read: ‘Farted in public’: After Priyanka Chopra’s ‘oops’ moment, understand the importance of gut health

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