The Bitter Side of Sweet

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 26 million Americans have diabetes, and over 60 million more are on the verge with pre-diabetic conditions that may be symptom free.

But just because it’s common doesn’t mean diabetes isn’t serious. Living with the disease means a higher risk for heart disease, kidney problems, nerve damage, blindness, and limb loss.

Some kinds of diabetes are preventable; some are manageable. For people with type 2 diabetes who are overweight or obese, two of the most effective strategies for reversing the disease are losing weight and getting active. Losing just 5% of body weight can make a huge difference in the need for medications to control blood sugar.

As far as eating goes, the best foods for people at risk for type 2 diabetes are low-glycemic items, foods that don’t cause sudden upsurges, or spikes, in blood sugar (glucose) levels. A diet centered around lean protein, vegetables, whole fruit, and low-fat dairy is the best diet to keep sugar under control.

As far as bread and other starches go, sticking with whole grain products in smaller portions can help keep your blood sugar within normal limits. But simple starches like potatoes and white bread, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and sugary sodas—the most common culprit—are high glycemic and best left alone.

Low-glycemic meal replacements such as Medifast Meals, are ideal for people who want to avoid diabetes or lessen its impact. For controlling diabetes, it’s important to keep carbohydrate intake consistent throughout the day, and each Medifast Meal has just about the same nutritional profile. Following the 5 & 1 Plan is a great way for people with type 2 diabetes to lose weight, too!

In a study published by The Diabetes Educator in 2008, test subjects following the Medifast plan lost twice as much weight as those following the American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet and were twice as likely to follow the plan and stick with it. In fact, about 40% of those Medifast users lost at least 5% of their body weight, compared with just 12% on the standard ADA diet.

Of the many chronic diseases that can affect us in our lifetime, diabetes is unique since it’s so easy to manage through simple things: diet and exercise. If you’re living with type 2 diabetes or at risk for getting it, embracing the Habits of Health can help you take charge of your own destiny.

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