Avoid Type 2 Diabetes: Healthy Tips from the UH Texas Obesity Research Center

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Also called hyperglycemia, Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is the most common form of the disease, but can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes.

Below are suggestions from the University of Houston Texas Obesity Research Center for lowering your risk of T2D.

The Big Impact- Make small changes one step at a time. Set realistic goals to achieve a healthier lifestyle to lower your risk for T2D. Start with one goal and, once it is achieved, then move on to the next one.DiabetesRibbon

  1. Keep a Weight Record - Knowing your weight can help you determine if you are healthy or if you need to make changes. Being overweight can increase your risk for T2D. Set a realistic goal for weight loss and take it one day at a time.
  2. Sit Less and Move More- Physical activity helps keep your blood sugar at healthy levels, which lowers your risk of prediabetes and T2D. Walk more, use the stairs, run outdoors, dance, strength train or swim. Have fun while exercising by listening to music, joining a support group, playing a sport or working out with a friend.
  3. Cut Calories- Lower your consumption of refined carbohydrates by avoiding white bread, white rice, white pasta, sugary cereals, candy, cookies and cake. Over a period of time, eating a large quantity of these refined carbohydrates may increase your blood glucose level and increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  4. Skip the Beverage- A 12-ounce can of regular soda has about 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate. Consuming 40 grams of carbohydrate is like consuming 10 teaspoons of sugar. One cup of most fruit punch and other sugary drinks has about 100 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrate, about seven to eight teaspoons of sugar. Instead of the sugary beverage, drink more water. You can cut about 150 calories.
  5. A Healthy Pantry- Adopting healthy eating habits helps maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk for T2D. Stock your fridge and pantry with plenty of lean meats, low-fat dairy, vegetables, fruits, brown rice, whole grain breads and cereals.
  6. Don’t Skip Mealtime- By eating a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner, you fuel your body with energy and avoid the snacking that comes when you let yourself get too hungry. People who successfully lose weight and keep it off do so by not skipping meals.
  7. Use your Culinary Skills- Not everyone is a skilled chef, but this should not stop you from cooking a healthy dish at home. Make any recipe healthier by baking it instead of frying it, using less of the recommended sugar and salt, switching to whole grain products when appropriate, and/or incorporating more vegetables.  
  8. Plan Your Meals- Having a plan for making meals will save you time and trips to the grocery store. This will allow you to incorporate more whole grains, vegetables and fruits into your diet.
  9. Eating Out - With our busy schedules it is hard to avoid eating out. Eat smart by asking for grilled meat instead of fried, requesting the dressing or sauce to be on the side and replacing the french fries with vegetables or a salad.  Control your servings by splitting a dessert or passing on it completely. Overconsumption leads to weight gain and may increase your risk for T2D.
  10. No to Smoking- Smoking is bad for your overall health and may increase your risk for developing T2D. Make a plan on how you can quit smoking, but don’t do this by yourself. Ask someone for help and support. Additional resources can be found at http://www.uh.edu/policies/tobaccofree/resources/