If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, you have plenty of company. Around 98 million Americans are prediabetic, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control — and that’s reason for concern.
To get an understanding on how to prevent levels of type 2 diabetes from increasing, several studies have focused on the role nutrition plays in the development of the disease.
Among other suggestions, such as eating meals high in plant-based foods and reducing processed and sugar-laden foods, the general wisdom has been to opt for lower-fat dairy products like low or no-fat milk, yogurt and cheese. But a new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming higher fat dairy products may have a more protective effect when it comes to the risk of developing prediabetes.
Prediabetes can be reversed. It does not automatically progress to type 2 diabetes.
To come to this conclusion, Isabel Slurink, in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology at the Tilburg University School of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the Netherlands, and her research team looked at the relationship between different types of dairy products and prediabetes risk in nearly 75,000 people participating in the Lifelines Study, a longitudinal population-based study.
The average age of participants was 46. Sixty percent were female and 19 percent were smokers. The average dairy consumption was four servings a day, mainly comprising high-fat-type cheese, low-fat types of milk and low-fat yogurt.
To figure out how much dairy each participant ate, the researchers used a food frequency questionnaire at the beginning of the study. After four years, there was a follow-up analysis, and the team found that 3.7 percent of the participants had developed prediabetes.
When the researchers dove deeper into their data, they found that low-fat milk was linked to a higher risk of prediabetes, while high-fat yogurt was connected with a lower risk of prediabetes.
More research is needed to understand the role dietary dairy choice may play in prediabetes risk. The amount and type of dairy that’s best may also depend on overall health issues.
Prediabetes can be reversed. It does not automatically progress to type 2 diabetes. Losing just a small amount weight if you’re overweight and getting regular physical activity can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A weight loss of around 5 to 7 percent of your body weight — around 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person — will do it.
Regular physical activity — at least 150 minutes a week of brisk walking or a similar activity can make a big difference in blood sugar levels. That's just 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Getting enough sleep is another way to reduce the chances your blood sugar levels will progress to full-fledged type 2 diabetes. So are quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and eating meals with plenty of vegetables and whole grains.