Fourteen ADA-Approved Foods for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

Jill Weisenberger, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide reveals the best foods for lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Style Magazine Newswire | 6/12/2018, 2:36 p.m.
The typical American diet leaves a lot to be desired. It's heavy on calories, saturated fats, added sugars, fatty meats, ...
Prediabetes: A Complete Guide: Your Lifestyle Reset to Stop Prediabetes and Other Chronic Illnesses (American Diabetes Association, May 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40674-1, $16.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.

"It's important to recognize that foods are much more than their macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) content," says Weisenberger. "Avoiding carbohydrate because it raises blood glucose is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Fruits, along with other plant foods, contain so many disease-fighting, insulin-sensitizing compounds that it's a bad idea to forgo them."

Coffee. Several studies link drinking coffee (decaffeinated or regular) to less risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But it's important to consider how you prepare and drink your coffee. Unfiltered coffee, such as coffee made with a French press, contains cafestol and kahweol, compounds that raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Filtering your coffee with a paper filter removes these harmful compounds.

"Keep your coffee low-calorie and healthful by drinking it plain or with a splash of milk," says Weisenberger. "A heavy hand with syrups, sugars, and cream will turn your coffee into quite a nutritional goof."

Tea. Drinking tea may also shield you from type 2 diabetes. One analysis suggests that the more tea an individual drinks, the greater the benefit, with as little as one cup per day dropping the risk of developing the disease by 3 percent. Pay attention to what you put into your tea to avoid excess calories, added sugars, and saturated fats.

Unsaturated Fats. We hear a lot about avoiding trans fats and saturated fats for the sake of our hearts. Research shows that when we replace these unhealthful fatty acids with either unsaturated fats or wholesome sources of carbohydrates, our risk for heart disease drops. Switching to the more healthful monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats appears to boost insulin sensitivity, too. A Mediterranean-style diet is typically rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and low in saturated fats. A few sources of unsaturated fats include the following: olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, tree nuts, peanuts, nut butters, avocados, and olives.

Alcohol. Consuming small amounts of alcohol is also linked to less type 2 diabetes. But alcohol in excess is linked to more, as well as many other problems. That's why the American Diabetes Association and other organizations do not recommend drinking for the prevention of disease. If you do drink, you don't need much! The benefits of drinking alcohol appear to occur with as little as one-half standard drink daily.

Weisenberger suggests using this list of foods that are associated with less risk of diabetes to create your weekly grocery list. It's okay to gradually start introducing some of these foods into your diet. A complete diet overhaul rarely lasts, but one with gradual changes is more likely to stick.

"Remember that a dietary pattern or an eating pattern to prevent type 2 diabetes is a general health-boosting diet," concludes Weisenberger. "Build your diet around a variety of foods and food groups with an emphasis on whole plant foods, and you can't go wrong. You'll be taking big strides toward preventing type 2 diabetes and doing what's right for your healthy future."