Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Diabetes

Practical steps to achieve dietary goals

Prediabetes: You Can Take Action

Magee speaks with compassion about a group of people who desperately need to heed their bodies’ warnings: the 54 million Americans who have prediabetes. “We’re looking at a population where there are certain issues: weight around the middle section, they tend to be obese, and they have been obese for a while,” she said. “This population tends to have been lectured to by medical people, and they feel badly about themselves.” Losing weight is simply not an easy thing to do.

This group, she says, “can turn the ship around by making some lifestyle changes.” She pointed to a study that studied people with prediabetes who cut their risk of having it go to full-blown diabetes by half, if they did five things:

  1. Got closer to their ideal weight—even people who lost a little weight noticed a difference
  2. Increased their physical activity (which helps the body use extra sugar in the bloodstream and helps them lose weight)
  3. Ate less saturated and total fat
  4. Kept excess calories to a healthy minimum (for example, by limiting liquid calories that come from soft drinks, sweet drinks, and bottled and sweetened iced teas)
  5. Increased their intake of dietary fiber, particularly from vegetables

“Some other studies found these lifestyle changes were more powerful than medication given for prediabetes,” she said. “It’s a powerful thing, but it’s not easy.” The point is to make the changes and stick to them.

Magee asked dietitians who work with diabetics where patients needed the most help. The answer was determining a “carbohydrate budget” per meal in order to know what amount of carbs your body can tolerate at different times of the day. She discusses this new information in more detail in the book. “It’s more about learning to spend your carbohydrate budget wisely throughout the day,” she said.

Though new research comes out all the time, “it usually falls in line with previous research,” she said. “Usually when I look at new studies, it adds fuel to my fire.”

Published January 7, 2009

Susan Hindman
Silver Planet Feature Writer

Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Diabetes
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