What Are the Best Foods to Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, Pre-Diabetes and Diabesity?

This is such a timely question! As I’m sure you’ve seen in the headlines, the rates of diabesity, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes are rapidly growing and negatively impacting millions of lives. The good news is that these diseases can be prevented, managed and in some cases even reversed with a healthy diet and active lifestyle. You are on the right track to look at food as a solution.

It is estimated that 29.1 million people in the U.S. – children and adults – have diabetes, and another 86 million people have pre-diabetes. Of those, many are considered to have diabesity, i.e., diabetes associated with obesity. Whether you are already diagnosed among the millions in one of these groups or simply focusing on prevention of these and other diseases, a healthy diet and lifestyle can be powerful.

Next time you head to the grocery store or enjoy a meal out at your favorite restaurant, be sure to choose foods like these to help prevent a diagnosis of pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes or diabesity:

  • Whole Grains: Studies repeatedly point to the importance of whole grains in the diet to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more. High in fiber, vitamins and minerals, whole grains take more time for the body to digest, resulting in steadier glucose and insulin levels and more sustained energy than refined carbohydrates. Try quinoa, brown rice, whole grain pasta and 100% whole wheat bread.
  • Lean Protein: Good for managing weight, lean protein – favored in place of higher fat and more processed meats – has also been linked with a lower risk of diabetes. Opt for seafood, poultry and the occasional lean cut of red meat such as sirloin.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Fill your diet with a wealth of fruits and vegetables for overall health and disease prevention. Like whole grains, fruits and veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Try dark leafy greens, peppers, apples, broccoli, pears and more. The sky’s the limit!

If you’ve already been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes or diabesity, work closely with a registered dietitian on a personalized healthy eating plan that will work best for you and your lifestyle.