November is Diabetes Prevention month, so here are some answers to questions you might have.
What are some foods that can aid in preventing Type 2 diabetes and why are they beneficial?
Eat more plants! Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are naturally low in fat and high in fiber. When we eat high fat foods, it causes fat particles to build up in our cells which interferes with insulin's ability to move glucose out of our bloodstream. So instead of powering our cells the glucose circulates in our bloodstream and can lead to diabetes.
I have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Will I have it for life?
There is good news! In a 2003 study funded by the NIH, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine determined that a plant-based diet controlled blood sugar three times more effectively than a traditional diabetes diet that limited calories and carbohydrates. Within weeks on a plant-based diet, participants saw dramatic health improvements. They lost weight, insulin sensitivity improved, and HbA1c levels dropped. In some cases, you would never know they’d had the disease to begin with.
Is all sugar bad for people with Type 2 diabetes?
Since sugar causes a spike in insulin levels, people with Type 2 Diabetes should be careful about their sugar intake. Fiber can help counteract a spike in glucose, so instead of drinking fruit juice, eat the whole fruit. According to Registered Dietitian Lauren Simmons, “Having sugary treats in moderation is okay, and pairing treats with your meals will help keep your blood sugars more level than having a treat on an empty stomach”.
Are all carbs, such as pasta and bread, bad?
No!! The glycemic index (GI) identifies foods that raise blood sugar. Foods such as beans, oats, sweet potatoes, and white and wheat pasta have a lower GI. Breads such as pumpernickel, rye, multigrain, sourdough, and tortillas, and also bran cereals, muesli, and rolled or steel-cut oats are all great choices. Grains such as barley, parboiled rice, couscous, corn, and quinoa have a lower glycemic index too.
Are there foods that are beneficial for people age 60+?
Yes! Aim for 40 grams of fiber per day. Fiber is only found in plants, so load up your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Not only does a low fat, high fiber plant-based diet help prevent diabetes, it can help reduce your risk for cancer and heart disease. Plant-based eating is a delicious way to improve your health!