Food for Thought – (4/3/2023)

Food for Thought

Nutrition Approaches for Prediabetes

Prediabetes means your fasting blood sugar levels are elevated but not to the point that meets criteria of type 2 diabetes (T2DM). To prevent the progression from prediabetes to T2DM, the key is a balanced diet approach. All bodies are different and respond differently to different types of foods. Meaning there is no magic diet for diabetes and you do not need to eliminate an entire food group. Instead focus on emphasizing a well-balanced diet with emphasis on non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. Additionally, many studies suggest that a well-balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits and ample exercise is an effective strategy for slowing diabetes progression and complications.

When you eat or drink foods with carbohydrates- also known as carbs- your body breaks them down into glucose which raises the level of glucose in the blood.

There are three main types of carbohydrates in food:

  • fiber
  • starches
  • sugar

The term “total carbohydrates” on the food label refers to all three of these types. The goal is to choose nutrient dense carb choices, which means they are rich in fiber and minerals and low in added sugars, sodium, and saturated and trans fats.

Eat most of these

Whole, unprocessed non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, tomatoes have a lot of fiber and very little carbs, which results in a smaller impact on your blood sugar.

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Eat some of these

Whole, minimally processed carbohydrate foods. These are your starchy carbohydrates and include fruits like apples, blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe; whole intact grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal; starchy vegetables like corn, potatoes, peas; and beans and lentils.

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Try to eat less of these

Refined, highly processed carb choices and those with added sugar. These include sugary drinks like soda, sweet tea and juice, refined grains like white bread, white rice and sugary cereal, and sweets and snack foods like cake, cookies, candy and chips.

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The USDA’s my plate method is designed as a guide to incorporate healthy eating choices, especially when eating away from home. Using a standard 9-inch dinner plate and leaving some room around the edges, focus on making half of your plate non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens. Fill up the other half of your plate with one quarter of lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish or tofu (not fried) and the other quarter with healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or quinoa.

– Olivia Sellers, RDN, LDN

Want more?

Check out our previous edition of Food for Thought!

Drinking enough water is important for your health. Even mild forms of dehydration can affect our mood, our ability to maintain our body temperature, and increase our risk for constipation or kidney stones. Learn more about the science behind why water is so essential in your daily life with our previous Food for Thought post below!

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