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What kinds of diets lower my risk for type 2 diabetes?

A whole foods diet (fresh foods in their natural state versus processed and "fast foods") is the best diet strategy for anyone, including those individuals with diabetes. For a more structured approach, after years of studies and research in the diabetes community, it appears that the most successful strategy is to follow a "Mediterranean-type" diet with fresh (preferably organic) vegetables in abundant quantities, as well as nuts and extra-virgin olive oil as two of the major sources of beneficial dietary fats.

With this diet, fresh fruit is consumed in moderation and low-fat dairy products, fish, and poultry (remove the skin before eating) are consumed in low to moderate amounts, with red meat eaten sparingly and infrequently.

This type of diet is typically moderate in fat quantity, with fat (primarily from olive oil and nuts) comprising 25‐35% of total daily calories and unhealthy saturated animal fat less than 10%. The Mediterranean-type diet has been shown to prevent prediabetes and diabetes when it is combined with regular exercise.
The American Diabetes Association does not recommend one diet over others to prevent diabetes. However, eating fewer calories and cutting down on saturated fat can help lower weight, blood glucose, blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. Here are some helpful tips:
  • Choose lower-calorie snacks, such as having pretzels instead of potato chips
  • Eat smaller servings of your usual foods
  • Eat salad and at least one vegetable at dinner every night
  • Use lemon juice or vinegar on salad instead of sald dressing
  • Share your main course with a friend or family member when eating out
  • Take home half your main course when eating out
  • Cook in low fat ways: roast, broil, grill, steam, or bake, instead of deep-frying or pan frying
Find out if you are at risk for prediabetes or diabetes at www.diabetes.org/risktest

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.