Preventing Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes

By Bob Greene,

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  • Exercise regularly. Working out can help you peel off extra pounds if you need to lose or help you maintain your weight if you're at a healthy weight. Then there's a separate one-two punch: Exercise, especially more intense workouts, can help you shed risky abdominal fat (called visceral fat), which increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. It also makes the body less insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is a common cause of diabetes; if you have insulin resistance, the insulin that's supposed to transport glucose (that comes from the foods you eat) through your bloodstream and into all your body's cells becomes less effective. Exercise helps your cells become more receptive to insulin, making it easier for the hormone to do its job.
  • Go for whole grains. Whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains. Not only does this help with hunger (fiber tends to dampen appetite), but it also helps keep blood sugar levels more stable. When you eat foods made with refined grain, like white bread or corn flake cereal, the glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly. On the other hand, whole grains take longer for the body to break down, so you get a much slower and less severe blood sugar spike. Start replacing your regular white bread and crackers with whole-grain versions, and trade in white rice for brown rice. Pasta is an exception; because of the way it's made, even regular pasta promotes a relatively slow rise in blood sugar compared to other foods made with refined grains. Whole-wheat pasta is even easier on blood sugar. If you're not a fan, try Barilla Whole Grain, which at 51 percent whole grain gives you some of the benefits but not the gritty taste, or Barilla PLUS, which has added fiber and protein. The meal plans in the book feature a number of tasty ways to incorporate more whole grains into your diet.
Bob Greene

Article written by Bob Greene
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