The global pandemic highlighted the need to understand and manage chronic diseases. Conversations surrounding health came to the forefront as people confronted the difficulties of the covid spread. When it comes to diabetes, there are significant lifestyle changes that a person can implement to improve health and prevent such diseases from emerging—especially when a person is at high risk due to family history.
So, what dietary changes can you implement to help prevent diabetes?
Your primary care physician or family doctor can help you start your journey towards better health. Connect with us at El Paso Family and Pediatric Clinic and learn more.
NOTES ABOUT DIABETES IN THE UNITED STATES
According to data from the American Diabetes Association, about 37.3 million Americans in the United States have diabetes. That number translates to about 11.3% of the population. There are 1.4 million new cases of diabetes across the nation every year.
The same concerning numbers occur in young people. About 283,000 Americans under 20 are said to have some form of diabetes. During the worldwide pandemic, data showed that people with diabetes were far more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19. At the same time, early studies concluded that 25% of people that exhibited serious COVID-19 symptoms and complications and ended up in the hospital had diabetes.
As this data emerged, people sought to make changes to their lifestyle that could help them ward off chronic diseases such as diabetes. One of the first places to start on this journey is by examining one’s diet and physical activity.
ASSESSING YOUR DIET TO COMBAT DIABETES
What you put into your body will greatly affect your health and state of mind. Taking a step back and assessing what you’re eating is a good starting point.
Here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself about your diet:
- Am I ingesting sugary drinks like sodas, juices, or other beverages throughout the day?
- Am I getting enough vegetables?
- Am I getting enough fruit?
- Am I consuming too many simple carbohydrates?
- Am I hydrating properly and watching my water intake?
Asking these questions can point out places to start making changes.
BEST TIPS FOR MAKING DIETARY CHANGES AND TRANSITIONING TO A HEALTHIER YOU
Of course, making changes to your diet takes work and discipline. Everybody is different. It also depends on what kinds of changes you are trying to make and your goals. There are a few words of advice when making changes and avoiding mistakes.
Here’s our top list.
#1 Make it a Team Sport
While diet is a very individual choice, it can sometimes be difficult for people to transition when they don’t talk to their families about it or have zero support from those around them. For example, getting your family, husband, wife, or kids on board will make it a team effort and make sure everyone is on the same page.
#2 Don’t Keep the Doctor Away
Use your primary care doctor as a resource. One place to start with dietary changes is your primary care physician’s office or family doctor. Your primary care doctor will know your medical history, family history, and other relevant factors that can impact decisions about your diet. Speak with a physician about your goals, and they can help you make healthy choices.
#3 Start Small, Be Patient
One of the most frustrating aspects of making dietary changes is how difficult they are to maintain long-term. One of the biggest mistakes people make is they try to make huge changes from one day to the other. Lifestyle changes like diet can take some time, so it’s best to tackle a little bit at a time and stay consistent, then try to take on everything at once and find yourself frustrated and overwhelmed.
HERE ARE THE TOP FOODS TO AVOID
If you have decided to take some action with your diet, here’s where to start. Learn about what foods to avoid first and slowly eliminate them completely from your diet.
- Highly processed carbohydrates. By now, most people have some idea that ingesting highly processed foods is not a good idea. These foods are heavily processed and primarily made with white flour, white sugar, or white rice. These foods cause rapid and sudden spikes in blood sugar. On top of the list are donuts, cakes, muffins, and pasta.
- Sugary Drinks. High on the list of no-nos are sugary drinks like sodas, sweet teas, lemonades, and juices. A 2010 study, for example, showed that sugar-sweetened beverages can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Saturated and Trans fats. These are foods that include packaged baked goods or fried foods that you order in restaurants. Some whole full-fat milk and cheese can also contain high levels of saturated fats.
- Processed Meats. Processed meats that include bacon, sandwich meats, and hot dogs can be bad because of their high content of nitrites, preservatives, and sodium.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH. ALTER YOUR DIET TO HELP PREVENT DIABETES
If you want to take control of your health, your diet is the first place to start. Your primary care physician is here to help you and support your goals. In addition, we can integrate important factors of your unique health history to ensure you’re making the right choice and on the right track.
Connect with us at EP Family and Ped today and take control of your health.