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How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes with Diet and Exercise

Aug 11, 2008
Changing your lifestyle is hard, plain and simple. However, if your doctor has told you that you have pre-diabetes, also known as impaired glucose tolerance, the effort it takes to incorporate healthy foods and a little physical activity into your daily routine is well worth it.

A clinical study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases found that losing a mere 5 to 7 percent of your total body weight can significantly reduce the risk of developing full blown type 2 diabetes. The 2002 study found that a group of patients that followed a low-fat, low-calorie diet and exercised moderately for 150 minutes a week reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent.

The connection between weight and type 2 diabetes is undeniable. Obese people are five times more likely to get diabetes than people who maintain a healthy weight. Of the over 21 million people in America with diabetes, 95 percent of the cases are type 2. Other risk factors include heredity and sedentary lifestyle choices.

So, how can you make the changes to your diet and activity levels? Start off slowly. Swap out a salad for an order of french fries. Do without the ranch dressing though. Instead, try using straight balsamic vinegar or another low-calorie alternative. Then, incorporate a 10-minute walk into your daily routine. Whether it is before lunch, after dinner or first thing in the morning, make sure to make the time and effort every day.

Once you adapt to these basic changes, step it up a notch. After about a week, you'll feel ready to make more challenging changes. Replace candy and sugary beverages with fresh fruit and unsweetened iced tea. Better yet, drink only water for a week. You'll feel great, and your skin will be positively glowing. Also, extend your walks to 30 minutes for five of the seven days of the week. You'll be amazed at the health benefits a nice walk will bring. You don't have to run marathons to be physically fit. Walking burns calories and uses lots of muscle groups without putting lots of strain on your joints. It is ideal for weight loss.

Old habits die hard, but losing your vision or a limb to diabetes is much more difficult than eating a salad and taking walks. Being dependent on insulin and blood sugar testing devices is a difficult way to live. When your blood sugar constantly spikes and drops, it is hard on your body, your personality and the other people around you. You can become irritable, moody, aggressive and even manic. Your good health matters to each and every person that loves you. Your friends and family are counting on you to preserve your own health so you can enjoy many more years to come.

If you are a borderline type 2 diabetic, you don't have to spend the rest of your life on medication if you learn how to change your lifestyle. It is not easy to do, but a life without needles and pills makes all the salads and aerobics worth the effort.
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