Tips on How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Wednesday 7 April 2021
4 minute(s) read
Dr..Jubil Tom

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Jubil Tom, MD

on 4 June 2021

Table of Contents

How Weight Affects Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a common chronic disease that can lead to serious diabetes complications if left untreated. Blindness, kidney failure, and heart disease are some of the conditions uncontrolled type 2 diabetes can cause.

Type 2 diabetes is primarily caused by excessive levels of blood sugar. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being overweight, eating poorly, and a sedentary lifestyle. It is important to address these risk factors to prevent type 2 diabetes. [1]

Why does weight matter when it comes to type 2 diabetes? Not everyone who is obese will develop type 2 diabetes, but type 2 disproportionately affects those who are overweight.

Excess weight, especially weight stored in the midsection around the liver (visceral fat), can lead to insulin resistance and inflammation. Insulin resistance and inflammation can significantly increase type 2 diabetes risk. [2] 

The closer you get to a healthy weight, the more you will lower this risk. [3] After losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight is key, as studies show that regaining weight can increase type 2 risk once again. [4] 

an overweight woman jogging

Working Out

A great way to reach healthy weight goals is by working out regularly. When you exercise, less insulin is needed to control blood sugar, improving insulin sensitivity in your cells. Moderate physical activity can increase insulin sensitivity by 50 percent, and high-intensity exercise can improve it by 85 percent. [5] 

It is more important to exercise regularly than intensively, so start slow if you have to, but aim to build a consistent routine. Any type of exercise, including aerobic, interval training, and strength training, can reduce blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. [6] Finding a physical activity you enjoy, such as a sport or group activity, can motivate you to stay active. 

Healthy Consumption Habits

Your diet has a direct impact on your type 2 diabetes risk. It can dictate your weight, immune system strength, energy levels, and other important aspects of your life. Follow these tips to improve your chance of preventing type 2 diabetes. 

a. Low-Carbohydrate Diet

How does a low-carb diet help prevent diabetes? Studies show that a low-carb diet can lower blood sugar levels by 12 percent in 12 weeks. [7] By reducing your carbohydrate intake, your blood sugar will not spike as often after a meal, which puts less stress on your body to produce insulin.

A low-carb diet typically consists of lean meats, fish, eggs, leafy vegetables, nuts, fruits, and healthy oils like coconut, olive, or rapeseed oil. [8] Talk to a dietician for tips on how to implement a low-carb diet. 

b. Portion Sizing

As the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Even on a low-carb diet, it is important to eat the right portion sizes. Avoid large portions because eating too much food all at once can cause high blood sugar and increase your risk of diabetes.

By reducing portion sizes, you can reduce your risk of diabetes by up to 46 percent compared to those who make no lifestyle improvements. [9] In just 12 weeks, eating smaller portions can help control blood sugar and lower insulin levels by a significant amount. [10]

an older, white-haired man eating cereal and fruits

c. Increasing Fiber

There is strong evidence that eating lots of fiber is extremely beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are proven to decrease the risk of diabetes.

A high-fiber diet also has the benefits of reducing cholesterol and your gastrointestinal cancer risk. Foods that are rich in fiber include pears, strawberries, carrots, kidney beans, almonds, and sweet potatoes. [11]

d. Reducing Processed Foods

You can eat all the healthiest foods in the world, but eating too many processed foods will still put you at a high risk of type 2 diabetes. Processed foods are linked to not only type 2 diabetes symptoms but heart disease and cancer as well. [1] 

This is because processed foods are often high in refined grains and added sugars. Eating processed and packaged foods can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by 30 percent, so it is very important to minimize your intake of processed foods.

Reducing Your Risk

Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about developing type 2 diabetes. On top of these prevention tips, your doctor will likely recommend quitting smoking. You may not have control over your past actions, genetics, and age, but you can significantly reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by controlling the factors that are in your control. 

Preventing Diabetes from Worsening

If you have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you can still prevent your condition from worsening. Along with the tips above, there are many effective type 2 diabetes medications available.

Prescription diabetes drugs help your body regulate blood sugar levels, keeping symptoms at bay. The right treatment plan can help you maintain a high quality of life. Explore some of our Rybelsus articles to learn about diabetes medications, how to take them effectively, and information like side effects and drug interactions.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.