What does it take to prevent diabetes?

Diabetes Prevention

Do you plan to start exercising the night before and find it hard to get up in the morning? Are those running shoes and gym-wear crying of neglect? Many people face this kind of a scenario. All those failed attempts to change your diet, start exercising, and reduce weight seem to add to the guilt if not anything else. If your attempts are not working well, there is every risk that you may no longer enjoy normal blood sugar levels!  

It is really surprising to see how people drive themselves to a host of chronic conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. These conditions are gateways to many other serious conditions like atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, heart failure, kidney disease, and stroke.

We are driving ourselves towards these chronic conditions because we fail to take notice of the risk factors and the early signs of disease. It does not come as a surprise that we are lagging behind other nations in terms of preventive care.

For example, how many of you above the age of 35 yrs had had a blood sugar test recently? How often do you measure your blood pressure? Did you ever get yourself a lipid profile test? Preventive care can go a long way in saving us from a lifetime of conflict with disease.  

How are we driving ourselves towards chronic conditions?

When you keep doing everything that increases the risk of getting a disease which you can otherwise avoid, you are driving yourself towards it. India has more than 75 million people with diabetes, and a lot more with prediabetes. In fact, if you consider the number of people who don’t even know they have diabetes, the number would be astounding.

So, how should this bother you? It does. To make it clear, let us consider some of the risk factors of diabetes and how you can avoid them.

Risk factors of diabetes you can avoid

While no one can avoid genetics, family history, and age, there are some risk factors that a person can certainly avoid thereby preventing diabetes.


  • Obesity in India has doubled over the past decade.
  • India is the country with second highest number of people with obesity
  • It is said that by 2025 there would be more than 17 million children with obesity.
  • Indian urban population is more obese when compared to the rural population
  • Generalized obesity, abdominal obesity and high waist circumference lead to diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases

Urban India is riding high on obesity. More and more people lead sedentary lives, do not exercise, make poor dietary choices, and never get themselves screened with blood sugar test. It is also said that children who are obese are more likely to get type 2 diabetes when they grow up.

What you need to do?

If you are overweight or obese, it is better to start addressing this issue. When it comes to changing your diet, there are many foods that are tasty, but do not add too many calories. A diet with vegetables, dietary fiber, fruits, lean meat, and healthy fats can help you lose weight. Losing 10 to 15% of your body weight significantly reduces your risk of getting diabetes.

Yes. It is quite a thing to be motivated, and focused when it comes to physical exercise. So, here are a few tips for you to get over your inertia.

  • Start small – at any time of the day, 5 hours after a meal, start with a 10-minute workout with activities like walking, stretching, or warm up
  • Increase momentum – Once you start with the 10-minute workout, increase the time with an increment of 5 minutes per week
  • Acknowledge your progress – Every inch you can stretch further, every minute you extend is a victory and a progress you should cherish
  • Try to find likeminded people – When it becomes difficult for you to motivate yourself, having a friend or a group can help
  • Stay patient – If you start expecting results too soon, there is every chance that you would get demotivated

Poor dietary choices

When it comes to dietary preferences in India, there is significantly high consumption of carbohydrates and fat, and lesser amounts of protein. Though meat consumption has increased among Indians significantly, people eat very few vegetables. Added to these, high consumption of rice, deep fried foods, junk foods, processed foods, lack of fruits, and excess of salt and sugary foods among Indians is a major reason for abdominal obesity, cholesterol disorders, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

How to avoid diabetes with diet

A diabetic diet or a diabetes diet plan would help you prevent diabetes and maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Concentrate on these six food groups in order to have a balanced diet without straining your body.

  • Starches
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Dairy
  • Meats
  • Fats

When it comes to starches, it is better to opt for complex carbohydrates like brown rice, millets, whole bread, and whole grains. As for vegetables and fruits, a person should be having 200 gm of vegetables and 100 gm of fruit in a day. Dairy products like low-fat milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and buttermilk are good choices in moderate quantities. Lean meat like poultry, fish, and eggs are preferred in limited quantities in order to lose weight.

When it comes to fats, healthy fats like olive oil, sesame oil, and canola oil are preferred. Other healthy fats like nuts and seeds are ideal for snacks.

Knowledge and screening  

In order to avoid conditions like diabetes mellitus, once should be aware of what the condition is, what its symptoms are, and how is it diagnosed.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which leads to high blood glucose levels. Diabetes is caused either due to lack of insulin production as in the case of type 1 diabetes or when the tissues of the body do not respond to the insulin produced as in the case of type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes leads to fluctuations in blood sugar levels leading to two extreme situations. One is high blood sugar level and another is low blood sugar level. Chronic high blood sugar levels damage small blood vessels, large blood vessels, and the nerves of the body. This leads to a host of complications like vision loss, kidney disease, and cardiovascular diseases.

What are the early signs of diabetes?

Early signs and symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased appetite
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Dark spots on skin (acanthosis nigricans)

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is advised that you consult a diabetes doctor and get appropriate blood sugar tests.

What are blood sugar tests?

Diabetes is diagnosed using tests like:

  • Fasting blood glucose test
  • Postprandial blood glucose test
  • HbA1c test

The aim of a person in order to avoid diabetes is to maintain normal blood sugar levels with diet, exercise, lifestyle modification, and periodical testing. Remember to get yourself screened for diabetes with a blood sugar test once a year or as per the advice of your doctor.