6 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Prediabetes
Think you're too healthy to be at risk of prediabetes? If you've read up on prediabetes you'll discover that it doesn't just affect the old or the overweight. Here are six steps to prevent it:
Lose A Small Amount Of Weight
It turns out a little loss can make for big gains. While a type 2 diabetes diagnosis can bring with it demands for significant weight loss, size doesn’t matter too much when you’re at the prediabetes stage.
Research has shown that losing between 5% and 7% of your total body weight can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 54%.
“People are constantly shocked as to how little weight they need to lose in order to avoid progressing to full-blown type 2,” Wright says.
And don’t give up hope if the scales stay fairly static initially – your glucose levels are likely to be coming down as long as you find a routine of exercising and eating well.
Supplement With Vitamin D
Vitamin D isn’t just a winner for good bone health – stepping up your intake has been shown to directly lower your risk of following the slippery slope from insulin resistance to type 2 diabetes.
A study presented to the Endocrine Society, which gave prediabetes patients a powdered vitamin D3 mix for more than a year, found that for every unit increase in vitamin D levels, diabetes risk decreased by between 5% and 8%. Score.
The best way to increase your levels is to eat more fish – sardines, salmon and tuna are top picks – but a daily supplement will work too, and research claims taking it with your largest meal of the day improves absorption by 50%.
Choose The Right Exercise
It’s a simple equation: exercise = improved insulin sensitivity. But not all workouts are created equal when it comes to prediabetes.
Once again, Hiit is a hands-down winner, especially if you get your sweat on in the hour before sitting down to eat.
A recent study from the University of Otago, New Zealand, found that performing sets of six, one-minute intense incline walk intervals, finishing half an hour before breakfast, lunch and dinner, resulted in a 12% drop in mean blood glucose levels.
Sleep Enough, But Not Too Much
Clocking up too much or too little sleep can interfere with the hormones that regulate your blood sugar, making prediabetes all the more likely to hit.
In fact, a Yale University, US, study found that participants who regularly got less than six hours of shut-eye doubled their diabetes risk, and those who slept more than eight hours tripled their odds.
So nailing around seven-and-a-half hours nightly will leave your blood glucose levels in prime position.
Teede believes it’s a case of slowly building good habits, so cut down your caffeine intake from lunchtime onwards, skip late-night screen time (which has been shown to disrupt your natural sleep cycle) and leave work at work.
Work On Stress Levels
Stress well and truly sucks when it comes to your circulatory system. The inevitable increase in the hormone cortisol makes your heart beat faster, your breath quicken – and your blood sugar levels soar.
“The cortisol causes your bodily tissue, we’re talking muscle and fat, to become less sensitive to insulin,” Wright explains.
“So more glucose is readily available in the bloodstream.” And this is one area where mindfulness still rules.
New research from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, US, suggests that the practice of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can cause fasting glucose levels to drop significantly in women.
Download the Mindfulness for Beginners app, created by founder of MBSR Jon Kabat-Zinn, and follow one of the guided meditations during times when you feel particularly stressed or know that it’s likely to hit.
Boost Your Metabolism In The Morning
Tend to kick your day off with a sad little yoghurt pot or coffee-to-go? That’s got to stop. “Economising first thing in the morning won’t work to bring your blood glucose down,” Teede says.
“You need to eat a good breakfast, consistently, to control insulin levels and eat less overall throughout the course of the day.”
The advice on eating to normalise blood sugar usually falls into two camps: those who recommend grazing throughout the day to avoid spikes and others who believe three set meals are key to portion – and glucose – control.
Wright’s a fan of the latter: “Fill 25% of your plate with wholegrain carbs – brown, quinoa, wholegrain bread – then add a handful-sized portion of protein.
The rest should be vegetables. Eat your next meal when you begin to get hungry, rather than hold out and wait for starvation to hit, and one protein-rich snack late afternoon will help stave off evening binges.”