The 4 Key Diet Changes That
Can Lower Your Diabetes Risk
- Replace refined carbohydrates with whole grains. Processed carbs include regular pasta, white rice, white bread, typical breakfast cereals and foods made with white flour, which is refined.
Refining takes out the healthful bran and fiber from the grain.
Instead, aim for three servings a day of whole grains like whole-wheat pasta, brown or wild rice, whole grains like barley and quinoa, whole wheat and whole grain breads, whole grain breakfast cereals like bran flakes and oats and other foods made from whole grains.
Whole grains aren’t as easily converted to sugar as refined grains, so you experience a lower, slower increase in blood sugar.
- Replace sugary drinks with water, coffee, or tea instead. Sugar is a refined carbohydrate, too. Sugar can add to diabetes risk indirectly—by causing weight gain—and directly by increasing diabetes risk factors like chronic inflammation, blood fats called triglycerides and lowering HDL cholesterol (the good type of cholesterol).
- Replace saturated fats with healthier fats. The two types of dangerous fats are saturated fat found in animal foods, from butter to beef (the white marbling is pure fat), and trans fat, found in many fast-food restaurant foods, packaged foods including those with “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” in the ingredients list (it preserves their shelf life) and solid fats like some margarines.
Instead choose poly- and mono-unsaturated fats found in liquid oils as well as in nuts and seeds.
- Replace unhealthy protein with good-for-you sources. Research shows that eating even a small 3-ounce serving of red meat—beef, pork, lamb—every day raises diabetes risk, and the risk from processed meat like bacon, hot dogs and cold cuts is even greater.
Healthy protein sources include fish, skinless chicken, nuts, no- and low-fat dairy, poultry, and beans.