Last week, we recapped the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new edition is very similar to older versions. The most significant change is a new limit on added sugar to less than 10% of calories. We’ve encouraged people to cut back for years, but are happy to finally see an official recommendation. Although the Dietary Guidelines have been describing healthy eating patterns for Americans since the 1980s, we still are having a tough time meeting them. Continue reading
November is National Diabetes Month. The purpose is to raise awareness of those who are affected by this disease and highlight the steps people can take to help prevent it. As many as 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. Unfortunately, many of them don’t even know they have it. And 1 in 3 Americans have prediabetes, putting them at a greater risk of developing diabetes in the future. Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, and amputations. As you can see, diabetes is a growing health problem in our country.
- Over 45 years old
- Overweight or obese, especially if waistline is more than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women
- Lack of physical activity
- Family history of diabetes
- History of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- History of heart disease, high blood pressure, low HDL (good) cholesterol or high triglycerides (fat in the blood)
What Can You Do to Prevent Diabetes?
This year’s theme for Diabetes Month is “Eat Well, America!” This theme speaks to how food choices impact diabetes risk. Making smart choices that fit your body’s calorie needs can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. This theme also emphasizes that eating well should include enjoying delicious foods that support your health. And those are the foods we’ll be focusing on here.
- Coffee – Research has found that drinking moderate amounts of coffee (3-5 cups a day) is associated with a lower risk of diabetes. So drink up, but remember to pay attention to what you put in your coffee!
- High Fiber Foods – Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and peas are rich in fiber. Fiber is great for digestive health and weight management, but is also associated with a lower risk of diabetes. You can easily get enough fiber by following the advice of MyPlate – make half your plate fruits and veggies, make half your grains whole, and vary your protein foods to include plant-based protein.
- Low-fat Dairy – Milk is not just for bone health. Low-fat dairy foods also can help lower the risk of diabetes.
- Mediterranean Diet – The world’s healthiest, and perhaps tastiest, diet has many health benefits, including lowering the risk of diabetes. This is likely related to all the fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats that make up this style of eating.
With all of these delicious and nutritious foods that help prevent diabetes, it’s a great opportunity to “Eat Well, America!”
For more information:
- Diabetes: An Overview from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- What is Prediabetes? from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Choose More than 50 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes from the National Diabetes Education Program
- Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes from the National Diabetes Education Program
It may not be swimsuit season, but the holidays are still prime time for focusing on losing weight, even though it’s perhaps the worst time of year for it. This year, instead of trying to lose weight, make healthy lifestyle choices your priority. You have a better chance of success and it will help cut back on the amount of stress we typically feel during this already busy season.
With the extra events and obligations of the holidays, it’s easy for health to get bumped off the to-do list. A little extra time spent planning will go a long way to keeping you on track. Set a SMART goal to give you a roadmap for navigating the holiday season while making healthy choices. Continue reading