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What food to avoid if you are prediabetic?

Blood sugar levels elevated but not yet at the threshold for diabetes are referred to as prediabetes. A person with prediabetes is more likely to get type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a stroke.


Your body is alerting you to change your diet if your blood sugar levels are higher than usual. There is still time to regulate the levels and avert the onset of diabetes. A diet consisting of fresh, healthy foods can help prediabetics lower those numbers. Avoid processed foods containing many unfriendly substances, and reconsider your protein options.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 88 million adult Americans, or more than one in three, have prediabetes. Although prediabetes increases the chance of developing diabetes, it does not cause it. CDC also added that reducing body weight by 5-7% can minimize this risk.


A person has a fair chance of preventing diabetes from arising if they take the appropriate actions. A healthy diet and regular exercise are two crucial lifestyle components typically included in prevention regimens.


Other names


An expert in medicine or healthcare may use the following terms to describe prediabetes:


  • Impairment of glucose tolerance (IGT) results in higher-than-average blood sugar levels following meals.
  • Impaired fasting glucose (IFG) indicates that your blood sugar levels are higher than usual in the morning before breakfast.

Causes of Prediabetes


When you eat, your pancreas releases the hormone insulin, which causes blood sugar to enter your body's cells and serve as an energy source. The carbohydrates in your diet are turned into glucose, or blood sugar, after you eat a meal.


Up until the release of insulin by your pancreas, that glucose remains in your bloodstream. Insulin is a key to unlocking your cells, allowing glucose to enter and be utilized as fuel by your body.


Although they are at an earlier stage, the causes of prediabetes are comparable to those of diabetes. They are mainly made up of:


  • Insulin resistance: Insulin resistance happens when the insulin hormone no longer causes your cells to react. The rise in blood glucose levels caused by your body's resistance to insulin leads to prediabetes and, if the process is not stopped and allowed to continue, type 2 diabetes.

  • Increased metabolic disturbance: When there is a metabolic disturbance, the body's metabolism is disrupted by abnormal chemical processes. The body's ability to break down huge molecules for energy, the effectiveness with which cells can produce energy, or any issues with energy regulation could all be impacted by this. Increased insulin resistance and worsened hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) contribute to increased metabolic disruption.

Symptoms to look out for with prediabetes


Adults typically either show no symptoms or are so slow or mild that they may go undiscovered for years. However, cautionary indications can occasionally be seen.


Darkened skin on specific body areas is one potential indicator of prediabetes. You may have too much insulin in your blood if you have a black patch or band of velvety skin anywhere. This includes the back of your neck, under your arms, groin, or elsewhere.


Other skin conditions that are prediabetes indicators are yellowish, reddish, or brown patches of skin that are hard, itchy, or painful. Also, thickening of the skin on the fingers or toes, sudden blisters, and patches of reddish-yellow bumps that resemble pimples but are itchy are included in these indicators.


Typical warning signs and symptoms that type 2 diabetes has replaced prediabetes include:


  • Increased hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Unintentional weight loss

Diagnosis 


For prediabetes, there are numerous blood tests available.


Fasting plasma glucose test


After fasting for eight hours, a technician will draw blood to check your blood sugar levels.


Millimoles of sugar per liter (mmol/L) of blood or milligrams of sugar per deciliter (mg/dL) is used to express blood sugar levels. In general:


  • Less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) is considered normal
  • 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) is diagnosed as prediabetes
  • 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or higher on two separate tests is diagnosed as diabetes

Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test


This test determines your average blood sugar level over the previous two to three months. In general:


  • Below 5.7% is considered normal
  • Between 5.7% and 6.4% are identified as prediabetes
  • 6.5% or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes
  • Some situations, such as pregnancy or an unusual kind of hemoglobin, might cause the A1C test to be erroneous.

Oral glucose tolerance test


This test is less commonly used than the others, except during pregnancy. Before drinking a sweet liquid at the primary care physician's office or the location of the laboratory testing, you must fast the previous night. A technician will draw more blood and do more testing two hours later. In general:


  • Less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is normal
  • Between 140 to 199 mg/dL (7.8 to 11.0 mmol/L) is consistent with prediabetes
  • 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or higher after two hours is indicative of diabetes
  • Your doctor will generally monitor your blood sugar levels at least once a year if you have prediabetes.

Diet and Prediabetes


Your chance of getting prediabetes can increase due to a variety of reasons.


If diabetes runs in your family, genetics may be a factor. However, other elements are more critical in the emergence of prediabetes. Other possible risk factors include being overweight and not exercising enough.


As a result of insulin's difficulty transporting sugar into your cells, sugar from food accumulates in your bloodstream when you have prediabetes.


Your blood sugar is affected by the quantity and kind of carbs you eat at a meal. Higher blood sugar spikes might result from a diet high in refined and processed carbs that break down fast.


Prediabetes diet: Foods to Avoid


Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can help avoid the onset of type 2 diabetes. A crucial action is to pay attention to total calorie intake.


Refined Carbohydrates


Refined carbohydrates (simple carbs) are absorbed quickly and have a high glycemic index (GI). You can use a glycemic index to determine how carbs affect blood sugar levels. The body breaks down foods with a higher GI index value more quickly. High GI carbohydrates rapidly raise blood sugar levels. Examples of refined carbohydrates include:


  • white bread
  • white rice
  • white flour
  • pastries, 
  • bagels 

These highly refined carbohydrates have been deprived of fiber and other necessary nutrients, which lessens the reaction of your blood sugar. Refined carbohydrates lack the fiber that makes you feel satisfied and full after eating; thus, they often leave you hungry soon after a meal.


Sweet Pastries and Cakes


It is simple to understand why a piece of sugary cake is on the list of foods to stay away from if you have prediabetes. Desserts and pastries are produced with dairy, sugar, flour, saturated fats, and calories, which are known to promote blood sugar rises and have little to no nutritional benefit. Thus, they are all associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, inflammation, and obesity.


These includes:


  • sweet pastries
  • cakes
  • donuts
  • tarts
  • pies 

Foods with Added Sugar


Most processed goods have sugar added by manufacturers to enhance flavor and shelf life. The amount of sugar in a serving is indicated on the Nutrition Facts label. Chances are that the product contains too much of the added sweet stuff if sugar, phrases like "syrup," or anything ending in "-ose" are listed first in the ingredients list. Among the commercially produced items that people with prediabetes should consume with caution or completely avoid are:


  • baked goods, like cookies, cakes, and pies
  • cereal
  • granola bars
  • frozen desserts
  • tomato sauce and ketchup
  • salad dressings, barbecue sauce, and marinades
  • fruit-flavored yogurt
  • jams and jellies

Starchy Vegetables


Carbohydrate content is higher in starchy vegetables, which might affect blood sugar levels. Non-starchy veggies have few carbs and barely affect blood sugar levels. It is advisable to continue eating non-starchy vegetables rather than starchy vegetables if you have diabetes.


But they also include good nutrients. Give them a fourth of the space if you utilize the plate technique. Starchy vegetables include:


  • white potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • corn
  • winter squash like acorn or butternut.

Sugary Beverages


Sugary beverages are the number one source of added sugars in diets. These are:


  • regular soda 
  • fruit juice
  • sports drinks
  • energy drinks
  • sweetened iced tea
  • bottled, brewed, or from a mix of creamy cocktails made with juices or liqueur
  • tea and coffee with added sugar,

The recommended daily intake of added sugar is less than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) for most women and less than 36 grams (9 teaspoons) for most men, while there is no precise amount for people with prediabetes. 8


When eaten, sugar-sweetened beverages are absorbed into the bloodstream far too quickly, increasing blood glucose levels and hyperglycemia.


Saturated Fats


Saturated fats raise cholesterol and tip the scales in favor of LDL cholesterol, the so-called "bad" cholesterol. Your risk of heart disease and stroke could be up as a result. You'll want to take every precaution to safeguard your heart because heart disease is a severe concern if you have prediabetes. Among saturated fats are:


  • butter
  • cream sauces
  • high-fat meats
  • chicken or turkey skin
  • coconut oil

Less than 10% of the daily calories for most adults should come from saturated fat. For instance, a person who consumes 2,000 calories per day should keep their saturated fat intake to 20 grams or less.


Trans Fats


Trans fatty acids (TFA) may influence peripheral insulin sensitivity and the risk of type 2 diabetes by affecting how the cell membrane function. Look out for trans-fat-containing oils that have been "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated." Once you make the switch to healthier whole foods, you are less likely to encounter trans fats, which appear most often in these products:


  • processed baked goods, like cookies, cakes, pies, and doughnuts
  • frozen pizza
  • commercially fried foods
  • some kinds of margarine

Sweetened Cereals


Hot and cold sweetened cereals are frequently made of refined carbohydrates, have high added sugar content, and have little nutrients.


According to one study, breakfast cereals typically contain 20 grams of sugar per 100-gram serving. Children's breakfast cereals often include more sugar than cereals marketed to adults.


Processed Meats


Although processed meats often don't contain sugar, they have been associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes because they tend to be higher in fat, salt, and preservatives.


Processed meats are associated with a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, including:


  • bacon
  • sausage
  • salami
  • hot dogs
  • lunch meat 

Sugary Condiments, Salad Dressing, Jams


Enjoying a prediabetes diet requires adding condiments, herbs, and spices to enhance the flavor of your food. However, several condiments and salad dressings, like commercially produced ketchup, barbecue sauce, honey mustard, and French dressing, have significant sodium, carbohydrate, fat, and calorie content.


Many fat-free dressings also have higher carbohydrate counts than their conventional counterparts since sugar is used instead of fat.


Another undiscovered source of added and natural sugar is jams and jellies. Although they are created from fruit, many also contain sugar to improve flavor and aid in gel formation.


Dried Fruit


During the drying process, dried fruits lose both water and volume. As a result, they contain more sugar, calories, and nutrients per serving than whole, fresh produce.


Additionally, sugar may be added when drying fruit, raising blood sugar levels.


Flavored Yogurt


Yogurt is a simple snack or a fantastic, nutrient-dense alternative for breakfast. While many fruit-flavored yogurts are heavy in sugar, yogurt is still a good source of nutrients and can be an excellent snack for persons with prediabetes. This applies to yogurt that has fruit on top, as well as yogurt that has other toppings like granola, almonds, and sweets.


French Fries


You should minimize your intake of French fries, especially if you have prediabetes. Since potatoes have a high glycemic index and a high proportion of carbohydrates, they quickly spike insulin and blood sugar levels.

In epidemiological studies, high consumption of fried meals has been linked to a number of unfavorable health consequences, including type 2 diabetes (T2D).


Most people find it simpler to make suitable adjustments gradually rather than all at once. It's critical to get medical attention immediately to diagnose the issue before type 2 diabetes sets in. If you've been told you have prediabetes, you can work with your doctor to create a diet plan that would be beneficial.

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