Manage Prediabetes With Diet & Lifestyle Changes

Manage Prediabetes With Diet & Lifestyle Changes

Key Takeaways:

Seeing a dietitian provides personalized advice on diet and exercise to prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes, offering the latest in nutritional science and supportive lifestyle changes.
Emphasizing whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, along with pairing carbohydrates with proteins and fats, helps manage blood sugar levels by ensuring a slow and steady absorption of sugar.
Regular physical activity and careful selection of beverages minimize sugar spikes, while a balanced approach to eating, focusing on moderation rather than restriction, fosters a sustainable and healthy relationship with food.

Many people who are diagnosed with prediabetes are unaware of the benefits diet and exercise can have on the rate of their disease progression. Research has shown that diet and exercise alone can prevent someone from progressing from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes! Some studies have even found that with changes to diet and exercise, individuals have reduced their A1C levels back below those indicating prediabetes. 

The diet and lifestyle changes that can improve one’s prediabetes prognosis while effective, are not always the easiest changes to make. That’s where us dietitians come in! Working with a registered dietitian (RD) offers you direct access to the latest scientific information and nutrition education, tips and tricks for making behavior changes, and an amazing support system. 

So, what exactly are the nutrition and lifestyle changes that improve diabetes outcomes? 

Here are the top 4 changes:

1. Try a Mediterranean Style Diet


Carbohydrates (better known as sugar) often get a bad rap in today’s media, but it is actually our bodies preferred source of energy! Instead of cutting out carbohydrates to improve your blood sugar readings, while working with an RD, we would focus on incorporating whole grain or “complex” carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates are those foods that have both carbs and fiber. For example, fruit has both carbohydrates and fiber! The fiber in them helps slow your body’s absorption of sugar, giving you a more gradual increase and decrease in blood sugar rather than a big spike. Whole grains do the same thing. Whole grains are those that have not been processed to remove the fiber elements, and therefore also slow your body’s absorption of the accompanying carbohydrates. Some great examples of whole grains are whole wheat items, seeds, nuts, bulgar, farro, quinoa, and many more!

Protein & Fat

Protein is important for many processes in our body, but especially important for building muscle. Fat is also essential for things such as cell growth and maintenance, and anti-inflammatory properties. Both also have a large impact on how our body absorbs carbohydrates, much like fiber. While working with your RD, you will likely discuss pairing protein and/or fat with carbohydrates to help achieve that slowed absorption and therefore a gradual increase and decrease in blood sugar.

Veggies & Fruit

As mentioned above, fruits and vegetables are complex carbohydrates! Meaning they have both carbohydrates and fiber in them, making it a great source of fuel for your body. Fruits and vegetables also store lots of essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly. When working with your RD, you will discuss incorporating fruit and/or vegetables at each meal to create a balanced plate and incorporate those complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbohydrates.

2. Make Time for Exercise

Exercising at least 30 minutes a day has been shown to decrease blood sugar and A1C levels! This does not mean you need to run or complete a high-intensity workout for 30 minutes each day. This can be any type of movement, such as walking, biking, going up and down the stairs in your house, or any other type of movement that gets your body moving!

3. Choose Beverages With Intention

Many of our favorite beverages have hidden sugars within them. Some of the most popular are soda, diet soda, juice, alcohol, and energy/sport drinks. These beverages often have added sugars, which fall into the simple carbohydrate group. This means there is no fiber, protein, or fat coupled with those carbohydrates to help your body moderate the absorption of sugar. Because of this, these beverages (similar to simple carbohydrate foods such as candy and processed baked goods) will spike your blood sugar soon after intake and then drop rapidly after the spike. While working with your RD, you will discuss having these in moderation and what some good alternatives are to quench your thirst without spiking your blood sugar!

Hydration is a key element to blood sugar maintenance as well. You and your RD will discuss ways to ensure you are drinking enough water throughout the day to allow your body to function properly.

4. Everything in Moderation

Many people view dietary changes as an all or nothing, but in reality that can cause more cravings and “binge” moments. Your RD will discuss with you how to have everything in moderation. For example, your vice may be Hershey’s Kisses, so you and your RD will develop a plan that allows you to still have Hershey’s Kisses but in a quantity that is better for managing your blood sugar and overall health! By allowing yourself to eat everything and avoiding labeling items as “cheat” meals, you can work on developing a healthier relationship with food that involves everything in moderation.

Seeing a Dietitian

This may seem like a LOT of information and changes, and it quite honestly is! This is precisely why it is so beneficial to work with an RD who can walk you through all of this information and aid in making long-term, sustainable changes to help you improve your prediabetes markers and overall health. 

Your first session is at no cost to you. Take control of your health and book an appointment with a registered dietitian today.

Upgrade your self-care routine

Covered by most insurance plans.