Have you gotten your blood sugar checked recently? If not, you should consider doing so! Your chance of developing diabetes increases with age, and according to the CDC, 48.8% of adults over age 65 meet the criteria for prediabetes. That is an overwhelming statistic!
If you are one of the 26 million older adults that fall into this prediabetic category, chances are your doctor has told you they will “keep an eye on your blood sugar” because it is not yet high enough to be treated with medication. Does that sound familiar? If so, read on because this article is especially important for you!
Please note, however, that this article is for educational purposes only and is NOT to be taken as medical advice. You need to consult with your physician to determine if medication is right for your.
If your blood sugar is in the prediabetic range, your doctor will typically monitor it until it inevitably creeps up into the diabetic range. At that point, a medication such as Metformin is often prescribed to lower glucose levels. Yet, what if you could stop the progression to type 2 diabetes and avoid medication altogether?
It turns out this is possible! Research has shown that prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are lifestyle related diseases that can often be prevented with lifestyle-based interventions. In fact, lifestyle interventions have outperformed Metformin (the most commonly prescribed medication for type 2 diabetes) time and time again for the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
For example, The Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group completed a study called Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin which demonstrated the superiority of lifestyle interventions over Metformin.
The results were significant, showing a 39% lower incidence of diabetes in the lifestyle intervention group compared to the Metformin group! Here are the three components that made this lifestyle-intervention program more successful than metformin for preventing type 2 diabetes (#3 might surprise you!):
First, EXERCISE of moderate intensity, such as brisk walking, was recommended for at least 150 minutes per week. It is widely accepted that exercise is a key component for blood sugar regulation, and walking is feasible for many people.
However, more recent research has shown that a combination of aerobic exercise (such as walking) and resistance training with weights is even more effective for improving blood sugar than it is to do either on its own. The current ADA guidelines also reflect this and now recommend a combination of aerobic and resistance training.
Secondly, NUTRITION education was provided to the participants. It is clear that diet is on the forefront when it comes to blood sugar regulation and was a crucial part of the study. In this study, participants were instructed to eat a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet. However, the American Diabetes Association has since adopted the idea that a lower carbohydrate approach may be better for diabetes.
Yet, despite the outdated nutritional recommendations provided in this study, the intervention was STILL more effective than the Metformin group! Perhaps an improved nutritional approach could foster even better results.
Last but certainly not least, the third factor that made the study successful was the fact that it was done in a GROUP setting. Perhaps this helped because it provided a social component or perhaps because it encouraged accountability.
In a group setting, individuals can lean on one another for support, hold each other accountable, bounce ideas off of one another, ask questions, and simply have more fun. Working toward health goals within a group often makes lifestyle changes more enjoyable and less daunting. Research has certainly supported the benefits of working toward goals with a group or at least with a partner by your side.
As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – in other words, it’s much easier to stop something from happening in the first place than it is to reverse it once it has happened.
The same certainly goes for type 2 diabetes!
Lifestyle interventions such as diet, exercise, and being part of a group, are all effective prevention methods, even in comparison to popular drugs like Metformin. Moreover, lifestyle interventions only have healthy “side-effects” unlike the negative side effects often associated with medications.
Now that you have an idea of what to do to prevent diabetes, find a friend or join a group and get started today!
Have you found that being part of a group helps hold you accountable to your health goals? Have you been told you are prediabetic? Did your doctor suggest changing your diet or exercise routine to balance your blood sugar? Do you regularly get 150 minutes of exercise per week?
Tags Medical Conditions
Yes, a low carb diet is the way to prevent Type 2 Diabetes. A diagnosis of pre-diabetes is a warning and indicates that you are insulin resistant and you will become diabetic if you don’t change your diet. Many people believe that the pill (Metformin) will solve their problem and they can eat whatever they want even with Diabetes. If they do that one pill will turn into two pills, then will become additional medications, and then will eventually mean Insulin injections.
Hi Linda!! Thank you for reading the article and for your insightful response. I sure do agree with you!