Three Diet Secrets That Block Diabetes

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Start them now to stop lifelong illness

Time was, diabetes struck mostly in middle age. But in the past 8 years, the onset of diabetes among people 30 to 39 years of age has skyrocketed by 70%-enough for the American Diabetes Association to call it an epidemic. Sixteen million adults now have the disease. One major cause? Rising obesity among young adults.

Diabetes can be especially grave when it strikes early. "The younger you are when you get it, the tougher it is to avoid serious complications such as blindness and loss of limbs," says Michael Engelgau, MD, a diabetes researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

"People in their 30s don't think it can happen to them," says Dr. Engelgau, "but if the possibility of diabetes isn't on their radar screen, it should be."
PHOTO (COLOR): Diabetes fighter #2: a luscious sub.

What You Can Do

The good news is that a recent Finnish study showed that three simple diet changes can head it off. Even in people with impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often precedes diabetes, taking these steps reduced the subjects' risk of progressing to diabetes by 58% over 4 years. (Reported at American Diabetes Association scientific sessions, June 2000)

• For the three easy diet changes that nip diabetes in the bud, see "Little Steps Curb Diabetes," at right.

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By Holly McCord, RD, nutrition editor

Adapted by RD

with Gloria McVeigh

LITTLE STEPS CURB DIABETES
Aim for the three diet goals below. You can achieve each goal with one little switch, as our examples show.

1. Lose 8 lb To drop 8 lb in 1 year, do one of these:

Have flavored seltzer instead of a 12-oz can of Coke or Pepsi-four times a week (about 150 fewer calories a day)
Have a 1-oz bag of pretzels instead of a doughnut for coffee break-5 days a week (about 120 fewer calories a day)
Have a Nutri-Grain Strawberries & Creme Twist instead of a Frosted Strawberry Pop Tart for breakfast-every day (about 75 fewer calories a day)
2. Eat Less Fat
To cut total daily fat intake by 22 g and saturated fat by 6 g (one-half of the maximum fat for women, one-third for men), do one of these:

Have a turkey sandwich with two tomato slices instead of two Cheddar cheese slices
Have 1 cup of tapioca pudding instead of 1 cup of Haagen-Dazs ice cream
Have a Subway 6" Roast Beef Sub instead of a McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese
3. Add More Fiber
To add 6 to 8 g of fiber-one-quarter of the fiber you need in a day-do one of these:

Have 1 cup of raisin bran cereal (8 g) instead of 1 cup of Cocoa Puffs (0 g)
Have 1/2 cup of baked beans (7 g) instead of 1/2 cup of pasta salad (1 g)
Have 1 large apple (7 g) instead of a fruit roll-up (0 g)
Have 1 cup of lentil soup (7 g) instead of 1 cup of chicken with rice soup (1 g)

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