What Is a Prediabetic Diet ? What You Can Eat

We believe there is no universal strategy for living a healthful lifestyle at Verywell. Effective eating programs must be personalized and consider the physical attributes of the individual. Particularly if you have an underlying health condition, consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian before beginning a new prediabetic diet plan.

Although prediabetes is less severe than diabetes, the food you consume can affect both conditions. As a result, dietary considerations are crucial in the management of both conditions.

With an estimated prevalence of 30.3 million individuals in the United States alone, prediabetes is a relatively widespread medical condition.1 Enhanced glucose intolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG) are more significant nomenclatures.

Glucose intolerance occurs when the pancreas fails to secrete adequate quantities of insulin. Insulin facilitates the enzymatic breakdown of glucose within the body. Deficiencies in insulin can lead to elevated sugar levels, although not precisely at the threshold for diabetes.

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Positively, having prediabetes does not automatically guarantee a diabetes diagnosis. Prediabetes is potentially reversible and manageable through dietary and lifestyle modifications.

As the primary contributor to prediabetes and diabetes, glucose receives ample criticism. Despite this, it is in no way advised that you completely eliminate this nutrient from your diet.

Glucose supplies the body with energy; however, for optimal physiological functioning and general welfare, it is critical to limit its consumption.

The following foods are recommended, foods that should be consumed in moderation, and foods to be avoided if you are on a prediabetic diet.

What Can You Eat?

Despite the fact that a prediabetic diet allows for the consumption of a wide variety of foods, it is crucial to be aware of which ones to restrict.

What You Need to Know

A well-balanced diet comprising complex carbohydrates, proteins, and other essential nutrients is recommended for the management of prediabetes. Fruit, alcohol, and complex carbohydrates should be consumed in moderation, while simple carbohydrates and confectionery should be eliminated entirely.

What to Eat

  • Beans

  • Tofu

  • Fish

  • Oatmeal

  • Low-carb alcohol

  • Low-sugar fruit

  • White/lean meat

What Not to Eat

  • Syrups

  • Sugary drinks

  • White bread/white rice

  • Candy

  • Chips

Foods You Can Eat on a Prediabetic Diet

The following is a list of foods that can be consumed safely while on a prediabetic diet.

Healthy Proteins

Beyond its role in facilitating metabolic processes and fostering muscle growth, protein functions as a macronutrient that generates energy.

The process by which the body converts protein into glucose for sustenance is called gluconeogenesis.

Due to its comparatively lower absorption efficiency in comparison to carbohydrates, protein generally induces satiety for an extended duration, thereby diminishing the propensity for nibbling, particularly on undesirable alternatives. Additionally, protein helps maintain lean body mass during weight loss. This is particularly critical given the elevated risk of developing diabetes associated with adiposity.

Additionally, protein prevents carbohydrates from entering the bloodstream too quickly, thereby maintaining stable blood glucose levels.

Poultry Sources

Turkey and chicken are both high-quality sources of protein. Nevertheless, in order to decrease one’s intake of saturated lipids and cholesterol, poultry without the skin is more advisable.

Beef

It is beneficial to incorporate lean meats into a prediabetic diet. Meats that are processed and red in color may be detrimental to your health due to their elevated levels of saturated fat and sodium. In this category are ham and bacon.

However, flank, rib, and T-bone steak, which are the leanest cuts of these meats, may be safe to consume.

Likewise, you may incorporate lean pork alternatives into your diet, such as ham or tenderloin, roast lamb, or lamb cuts.

Fish

Fish is an excellent protein source and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

It is common knowledge that protein is an excellent source of energy and for developing muscle. Fatty acids may be beneficial for cardiovascular health because they slow the heart rate. This attribute is critical in mitigating the likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Vitamin D is also abundant in fish. Although unconfirmed, there are indications that prediabetes, which is a deficiency in vitamin D, may increase the risk of developing diabetes. Although there is evidence to suggest that vitamin D supplementation may slow the progression of diabetes, this notion has not gained widespread acceptance.

Fiber

An excellent addition to a diet for prediabetics is fiber. Meals rich in fiber aid in the reduction of glycemic index.

The glycemic index is a method for quantifying the amount by which a food containing carbohydrates raises blood sugar. Fiber aids in the reduction of glucose levels in the blood.

Foods You Can Eat in Moderation

Following a pre-diabetes diagnosis, there are certain foods that individuals may consume in moderation.

Fruit

A diagnosis of prediabetes does not necessarily imply a life sentence to mundane experiences. Fruits may be consumed in moderation.

Fruits with lower sugar content, such as watermelon, grapefruit, avocado, and kiwi, are viable alternatives due to their propensity to prevent hazardous surges in blood glucose levels.

Alcohol

Alcohol can be consumed by those with prediabetes, which is encouraging. Insulin resistance and functioning β-cells in the pancreas are adverse effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

This dysfunction has the potential to impact the body’s insulin production. Diabetes can be caused by insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction; therefore, it is advisable to exercise moderation when consuming alcohol.

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates continue to have a position in your diet, but only the proper types.

Complex carbohydrates are more nutrient-dense, fiber-rich, and slowly digestible, all of which contribute to prolonged satiety. They are present in bulgur, whole grains, oatmeal, wild rice, and barley, among others.

Foods to Eliminate

In certain instances, some foods are better off left out of your diet.

Simplified carbohydrates are one such substance. These carbohydrates consist of rapidly assimilated sugars, which increases the likelihood of elevated blood sugar levels. They consist of manufactured foods with added sugars and minimal nutritional value, such as syrups and sugary beverages.

When managing prediabetes, bread, candies, white rice, chips, white bread, and caffeinated beverages should be eliminated from the diet.

Pros and Cons

Be mindful of the following pros and cons prior to starting a prediabetci diet.

Pros

  • Can prevent the progression of diabetes: This dietary restriction of refined and simple carbohydrates prevents blood-sugar spikes, which are characterized by elevated glucose levels.7 This may assist in decelerating the rate of diabetes progression within the body.
  • May help in reversing insulin resistance: As a result of the prediabetic diet’s ability to reduce blood sugar levels, insulin will be able to enter cells more readily, thereby aiding in the reduction of insulin resistance.
  • Has been shown to improve weight loss: Proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fiber are a few of the nutrients advocated for in the prediabetic diet , which discourages processed foods and promotes healthy consumption.9 These dietary items may promote weight gain while decreasing the likelihood of developing obesity
  • Makes allowances for cravings like alcohol: This diet promotes adherence by occasionally allowing cravings for healthy alcohol alternatives.

Cons

  • Does not list food quantities:  Although the prediabetes diet advocates for a diet abundant in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber, it does not provide precise portioning guidelines. Specifications are required to assist in regulating blood sugar levels.
  • Safety concerns of low-carb diets: There are numerous adverse effects associated with low-carb diets. As the prediabetic diet recommends a low-carbohydrate diet, individuals attempting to adopt a healthier dietary regimen may be exposed to potential health hazards.

Is The Prediabetic Diet A Healthy Choice For You?

Adhering to a prediabetic diet can be a beneficial strategy for regulating blood sugar levels that are approaching dangerously high highs.

On the contrary, due to its inherent nutrient abundance and low sugar content, a prediabetic diet might prove to be an optimal dietary regimen for individuals seeking to adopt healthier dietary practices.

Health Benefits

Pre-diabetic diets are lauded for their potential to halt the progression of diabetes or rectify its effects. This is as a result of its blood sugar-lowering properties.

This diet may also contribute to maintaining a balanced blood pressure. Additionally, when used in conjunction with physical activity, it provides enhanced advantages such as decreased cholesterol, weight loss, and increased daily vitality.

Health Risks

The prediabetes diet, despite its many benefits, may contain some risk factors. As this is an extremely low-carb diet, there is currently no consensus regarding the long-term safety of following this meal plan. This may result in metabolic states such as ketosis, in which the body consumes fat for energy because it lacks sufficient carbohydrates.12Such symptoms include poor breath, keto flu, and energy loss.

In the same way, chronic carbohydrate restriction can result in kidney injury, osteoporosis, and additional negative consequences.

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Other Ways to Manage Prediabetes

Additional factors besides one’s diet may contribute to an elevated susceptibility to prediabetes.

These factors encompass obesity, sedentary behavior, and age exceeding 45 years. Similarly, factors such as genetics, anemia, ethnicity (Hispanic, Asian, or African/Native American), or having an infant that weighs 9 pounds or more may all contribute to an increased risk of developing prediabetes .

In an effort to mitigate and potentially revers pre-diabetes precipitated by these risk factors, the subsequent strategies may be implemented:

Lifestyle Changes

Obesity-specific programs are a significant aid in the management of prediabetes and the prevention of diabetes.

It may be necessary to combine the correct diet, exercise, and stress-management techniques in order to curb obesity. These interventions may contribute to your long-term health and wellness.

Medication

Medication for prediabetes can decrease blood sugar levels and the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. When lifestyle modifications fail to stabilize blood sugar levels or when there is a higher risk of developing diabetes, these medications are typically prescribed.

Metformin, the only prediabetes medication presently approved by the ADA, has been associated with favorable results such as a reduction in body mass index (BMI) and an enhancement of cholesterol levels.

Bariatric Surgery

This includes procedures that alter the structure of the digestive tract. This is to facilitate weight loss effectiveness.

Bariatric surgeries function in various ways to either reduce the capacity of the stomach to retain food, thereby restricting caloric intake, or to enhance the body’s ability to assimilate nutrients. On occasion, it could be a hybridization of the two.

A gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or an adjustable gastric band may be utilized during this operation.

 

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