In our previous email, we spoke about how lifestyle diseases are preventable. We also introduced four of the most common types of lifestyle diseases: type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases.
Over the next few days we will break down each of these conditions and more importantly list down simple and actionable tips to prevent them. The first on our list is type 2 diabetes, because that's what all of you are most eager to know more about!
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 70 million people in India had type 2 diabetes in 2015. This number is projected to touch 100 million by 2030.
Those are staggering numbers. More so because type 2 diabetes is preventable and at times even reversible. A 2019 study published in the journal Nutrients noted that individuals with type 2 diabetes who are put on a low-carbohydrate diet are able to bring their HbA1c levels to below 6.5%. HbA1c refers to hemoglobin that is linked to carbohydrates. It is a common biomarker used to measure type 2 diabetes (Hallberg, 2019).
Here are 7 ways by which you can prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes.
1. Take a risk assessment
One of the best ways to figure out how to prevent type 2 diabetes is to know where you stand currently. Different people have different risk factors. Some people may have smoking habits, others unhealthy eating habits, and a few others may have none of these but a high genetic risk. Knowing your risk can help you personalize your prevention measures.
2. Manage your weight
Weight management is different from trying to lose weight. Excess body fat has been shown to increase resistance to the hormone related to type 2 diabetes. Monitor your body mass index (BMI) regularly, and ensure that it is within 25 kg/m2. Intermittent fasting has been proven to be a good technique for weight management. It refers to an eating pattern where you switch between periods of eating and fasting. Consult your dietitian to help you design a fasting period that is appropriate for you.
3. Exercise regularly
Studies have shown that brisk walk for 30 minutes everyday can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes by 30%. Additionally, it reduces blood glucose levels, improves blood pressure, and triglyceride levels.
4. Improve your eating habits
Here is a pro tip: Reduce outside food as much as possible. With the rise of at-home food delivery services, ordering in food has become as easy a few clicks away. Start by restricting that to the weekends. Cooking your own meals with fresh ingredients is not only healthy, but also delicious. This will also improve the nutrient value of the food. Fresh, home-cooked food contains vitamins, and minerals like magnesium, chromium and ingredients like curcumin.
5. Limit alcohol intake
There are several adverse implications of excessive alcohol intake: weight gain, increased blood pressure, increased triglyceride levels, and in the long-term liver complications. Why would you want to put your body through so much stress? Restrict intake to 1-2 glasses a day. Avoid it if you can.
6. Quit smoking
That’s right. Not limit smoking, but quit! Nothing good has ever been proven to have come out of tobacco smoke. According to the Center for Disease Control, 70 out of the 7000 chemicals in tobacco smoke are carcinogenic. Moreover, smokers are 50% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers.
7. Limit carbohydrate intake
Studies have shown that limiting carbohydrate intake not only prevents type 2 diabetes, but also reverses it in people who already have that condition. One of the best diets that has repeatedly proven to show results is the ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet is a low-carb, medium-protein, and high-fat diet. This diet has also proven to be effective in weight management and mental clarity.
Now that’s already a lot of work for you! As we mentioned in the beginning, get a risk assessment done before you begin implementing preventive measure. This will help you focus on the areas that need work.
We have made this into a checklist to stick on your fridge so that you don’t lose sight of your mission to prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes.