Prediabetes is more than just a warning sign—it’s a call to action. If you’ve been told you’re on the edge of diabetes, it’s easy to feel trapped or overwhelmed. But what if there’s a way out? With the right knowledge and tools, you can not only halt the progression but actually reverse prediabetes! This isn’t just hopeful thinking; it’s backed by science and success stories from countless individuals. In this guide, we’re going to share the most effective, evidence-based strategies to turn the tide against prediabetes.
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What Is Prediabetes?
Around 422 million people have diabetes worldwide.
Prediabetes is a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
It is a condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than usual but not as high as someone with diabetes.
It indicates that your body is struggling to check blood sugar levels.
Prediabetes should be taken as it can develop into type 2 diabetes.
Prevalence of Prediabetes
1 in 3 adults has prediabetes.
And 8 out of 10 people don’t know that they have the condition.
Having prediabetes and not knowing about it increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
How Do I Know If I Have Prediabetes?
Prediabetes usually shows no symptoms.
Some people, however, can develop a darkening of armpits, elbows, and neck.
A simple blood test result can reveal prediabetes.
Doctors conduct a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test.
Results anywhere between 100 and 125 can indicate prediabetes.
An A1C test can also detect prediabetes.
This test monitors your blood glucose levels for three months.
Test results between 5.7 and 6.4 can indicate prediabetes.
How Long Does It Take For Prediabetes To Progress To Diabetes?
There is no sure-shot time frame within which prediabetes can progress into diabetes.
However, certain factors can accelerate the process.
Weight gain or certain medications can make prediabetes progress into diabetes.
Without taking any action, prediabetes can progress into diabetes within five years.
Can Children Get Prediabetes?
The instances of children developing prediabetes have increased significantly in the last 20 years.
The two main reasons for this development are an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
Eating junk food has led to an increase in total calorie consumption.
Children are suffering from obesity due to unhealthy diets.
Increased screen time has led to less exercise and activity.
These factors are increasingly putting more pressure on the pancreas, the organ that produces insulin and regulates blood sugar.
It has led to more children developing prediabetes.
Risk Factors For Prediabetes
Prediabetes usually does not have symptoms.
But if you have any of these risk factors, you might develop prediabetes eventually.
Here are some risk factors you should look out for prediabetes:
- Being 45 or older
- Being overweight
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle and being less active
- High blood pressure
- Smoking cigarettes
- Gestational diabetes
- Health conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or sleep apnea
- Taking steroids or antipsychotic medications
- Having a parent or sibling with diabetes
Can You Reverse Prediabetes?
Prediabetes can develop into diabetes if left untreated.
However, prediabetes is reversible.
Lifestyle modifications can help reverse prediabetes.
Leading a healthy life can significantly reduce the chances of prediabetes developing into type 2 diabetes.
How Long Does It Take To Reverse Prediabetes?
Reversing prediabetes might take several weeks, months, or even a couple of years.
It all depends on the lifestyle changes one makes and how consistent they are with these changes.
Some people might require more time to reverse prediabetes than others.
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The Nutrition Way To Reverse Prediabetes
Those who have diabetes are advised to include and exclude certain foods from their diet to manage the condition.
However, diet is equally important to reverse prediabetes.
Here is a list of foods you should eat and avoid if you want to reverse prediabetes.
What To Eat
Here is a list of foods to include in your diet if you want to reverse prediabetes:
- Complex carbs: They include whole grain bread, rice, and pasta. Complex carbs take longer to digest and do not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. They also keep you feeling full longer, thus reducing binge eating.
- Lean meats and healthy proteins: Beans and legumes, soybean products such as tofu or tempeh, eggs, and fish can be excellent sources of healthy protein.
- High-fiber foods: Including fruits with edible skins and whole grains like quinoa and barley is recommended. These foods are high in fiber and keep you feeling full longer. They also make bowel movement easier.
What Not To Eat
Here is a list of foods that you should avoid if you want to reverse prediabetes:
- Trans fat is dietary fat formed when liquid oils are turned into solid fat. These fats increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease and should be avoided. It is most commonly found in baked and fried foods. If the label mentions hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, the food likely contains trans fat.
- Refined carbs like white bread, white flour, or white pasta lose their nutrition and fibers during refining. They are easier to digest but cause a sudden spike in blood glucose levels. It is best to avoid them if you have prediabetes.
- Foods with added sugar tend to cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Certain condiments, yogurts, jellies, sports and energy drinks, and baked goods contain much sugar and are best avoided.
- Red meats are suspected to cause heart ailments. However, their excessive consumption can also lead to type 2 diabetes. Processed red meats like bacon and deli meat are best avoided if you want to reverse prediabetes.
Other Nutritional Tips
- Staying hydrated is vital to reversing prediabetes, as it helps lose weight. Avoid sugary drinks and beverages and instead switch to plain water. It will help keep blood sugar levels in check.
- Control portion sizes: Watching portions and reading nutrition labels can help you understand and better control what you eat. Always remember to eat mindfully. It prevents overeating.
- The Mediterranean diet focuses on lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. It could be massively effective for reversing prediabetes.
The Fitness Way To Reverse Prediabetes
Exercise is an integral part of every healthy lifestyle.
Lack of physical activity has been linked with diabetes and increased insulin resistance.
Exercising leads to muscles using up stored glucose and maintains insulin sensitivity.
- Start by doing light exercise. Simply walking for 30 minutes a day can reduce the chances of developing diabetes by 50%.
- Don’t sit for too long. Don’t sit still for more than 30 minutes. Remind yourself to get up and stretch. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Incorporate exercise gradually into your daily routine. Join a club, go for a local hike, or jog with friends, but do it consistently. Exercising 30 minutes a day for five days a week can go a long way in reversing prediabetes.
Is There A Best Exercise?
There are different exercises that you can start with.
If you are an absolute beginner, start walking for 30 minutes daily.
Start by doing it twice a week, gradually increasing the frequency.
Once you are ready for more, you can start doing strength training exercises like squats, lunges, or chest presses.
Remember to be consistent with whatever activity you are doing.
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Other Lifestyle Modifications Required To Reverse Prediabetes
Diet and exercise are two of the most important lifestyle changes to reverse prediabetes.
However, there are other things to remember to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Alcohol and Smoking
Chronic drinking can make your body less sensitive to insulin.
In the long run, this can lead to type 2 diabetes.
People who drink excessive alcohol are advised to drink moderately.
Moderate limits for men are not more than two glasses a day and not more than one for women.
Smoking causes common health problems like heart ailments, cancer, and neuropathy.
Smokers are more prone to develop diabetes from prediabetes.
Around 40% of people who smoke develop type 2 diabetes.
Consult your doctor to control nicotine cravings and quit smoking.
Stress has many adverse consequences for our body.
When you are stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol.
Also called the stress hormone, cortisol can increase insulin resistance over time.
It, in turn, will lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Stress management techniques are essential to keep your body’s cortisol levels in check.
Stress management is vital to reverse prediabetes.
Sleep plays a vital role in maintaining our overall health.
People who don’t get enough sleep have a higher cortisol level in their blood.
Excess of this hormone can negatively impact the body’s blood sugar levels.
People who don’t get seven to nine hours of sleep will have a higher cortisol level.
People who are chronically awake between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. can also have higher cortisol levels.
Fixing your sleep schedule can help reverse prediabetes.
Disorders like sleep apnea can also affect the quality of your sleep.
It is a condition where breathing stops repeatedly during the night due to the relaxation of throat muscles.
Consider getting yourself treated if you suffer from this disorder.
Sound sleep will help prevent prediabetes from progressing into diabetes.
What Is The Fastest Way To Fix Prediabetes?
Changing your lifestyle is probably the only way to reverse prediabetes, but it is gradual.
Once you start to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, you will start seeing results.
But test results might take a few weeks to show any improvement.
There is no quick fix to prediabetes, but with consistency, it can be reversed.
When To See A Doctor?
Prediabetes has the probability of progressing into type 2 diabetes if left unchecked.
You should consult a doctor if you notice the following symptoms:
- Increased and frequent urination
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Blurred Vision
- Wounds that take a long time to heal
- Infections occurring more frequently
- Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
Summary: How To Reverse Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a condition where your body’s glucose levels are higher than usual but not high enough to get a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes can progress into diabetes if left untreated.
However, it can also be reversed with lifestyle changes.
A balanced diet and exercise can help reverse prediabetes.
Managing stress and quitting smoking and alcohol are also necessary to reverse prediabetes.