Weight Loss Helps Prevent Diabetes

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 and to​ follow dietary and exercise recommendations. All participants 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 got 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 amount' of​ weight. Even more important,​ researchers found something that 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 diet allowances:

* 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 the​ recommendations from the​ USDA's new MyPyramid. the​ results just 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.

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