By Kirsten Hawkins
A few months ago (March 2005), the American Diabetes
Association announced the findings of the comprehensive
Diabetes Prevention Program. The DPP was conducted at over 25
medical centers nationwide and involved thousands of
participants who volunteered to have their habits monitored
to follow dietary and exercise recommendations. All
had been diagnosed with 'pre-diabetes', a condition where the
blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet in
diabetic ranges. Untreated, more than half of those people
diagnosed with pre-diabetes will develop full-blown type 2
diabetes within a decade.
For the study, the participants were divided into two groups.
One half were given dietary recommendations. The other half
the same dietary recommendations, plus the recommendation to
exercise at least 30 minutes daily, five times a week.
The results? Those who included daily exercise in their
routines and followed the diet recommendations cut their risk
of developing diabetes by 58%. The reason? Those who made the
recommended changes in their lifestyle lost 'a moderate
of weight. Even more important, researchers found something
they didn't expect. Those in the treatment group had a
substantial chance of reducing their blood sugar level to
normal, something that had been assumed was impossible.
Apparently, losing weight not only prevents a worsening of
diabetes, it reverses the damage that obesity causes to the
cells that produce insulin.
How much weight loss does it take to have an effect on the
progression of diabetes? The key is in the definition of 'a
moderate weight loss' - 5-7% of your body weight. In other
words, depending on your boy weight, a loss of as little as
7-10 pounds can make a difference!
The recommendations suggested by the American Diabetes Society
for a healthy diet to prevent diabetes is an ideal diet for
steady, gradual weight loss - the kind of weight loss that
stays lost. The diet includes the following suggested daily
* Grain - 6-11 servings per day (Bread, Cereal, Rice, Pasta)
* Vegetables - 3-5 servings per day
* Fruits - 2-4 servings per day
* Milk - 2-3 servings per day
* Meat - 4-6 ounces per day (Meat, eggs, fish, dried beans,
nuts and peanut butter)
* Fats, Sweets, Alcohol - Occasional treats
(Recommendations for portions are based on gender and activity
level. For instance, a sedentary 40 year old woman needs fewer
portions than an active 25-year-old woman.)
Look familiar? It's also the dietary recommendation for the
Heart Healthy diet from the American Heart Association, and
recommendations from the USDA's new MyPyramid. The results
keep coming in, but the message is clear: losing weight,
maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet can
help prevent most major health problems. Why wait till you're
diagnosed? Start today - and it may never happen.
About The Author: Kirsten Hawkins is a nutrition and health
expert from Nashville, TN. Visit www.popular-diets.com/
for more great nutrition, well-being, and vitamin tips as well
as reviews and comments on popular diets.