Incredibly, one in three adults (about 96 million) in the United States has prediabetes, which means their blood sugar levels are elevated. Left unchecked, elevated blood sugar levels can quickly transition into full-blown diabetes, which is a chronic condition that casts a wide net over your health. From poor oral health to sleep apnea, diabetes has many complications.
At South County Sleep Solutions and Prescott Sleep Solutions, Dr. Dana J. Rockey and our team of dental sleep medicine specialists believe that a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition are the cornerstones to preventing diseases like diabetes.
If you have prediabetes, read on to learn how you can reverse this unhealthy course through healthy dietary changes.
When you have prediabetes, the levels of sugar (called glucose) in your bloodstream are elevated. Under normal circumstances, your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, whose primary task is to deliver blood glucose to your body’s cells for energy.
When you have too much glucose in your blood, your insulin can’t keep up, which allows glucose to build up in your blood to dangerously high levels. As well, you can also develop insulin resistance, which means that your cells no longer respond properly to insulin.
As high glucose levels and insulin resistance persist, you can turn the corner into full-blown diabetes.
If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, a diabetes diagnosis isn’t an inevitable outcome — not by a long stretch. In fact, we view discovering your prediabetes as good news because you can take steps to reverse the course of your health, starting with some key dietary changes.
Since elevated blood glucose levels are at the core of the problem, it makes sense that your first step is to greatly reduce the amount of sugar you take in. Unfortunately, everywhere you turn, there are processed convenience foods that are full of sugar — from the small bag of cookies to sugary drinks.
While identifying big sources of sugar may seem obvious — candy, sodas, desserts, syrups — you also need to watch out for subtler sources. For example, that jar of tomato sauce that you pour over pasta may contain sugar. Or, you might assume yogurt is healthy, but flavored yogurts are quite the opposite as many types contain loads of sugar.
While sugar is one type of carbohydrate, you should also pay close attention to your total carbohydrate intake, because your body uses all kinds of carbs to produce blood glucose.
While many carb-containing foods are good for you, like fruits and whole grains, foods that contain refined carbs are not. When the carbs are refined, it means that most of the nutritional value has been processed out of the food, leaving only empty calories behind.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to carbs is to avoid the refined “white” foods, such as:
Instead of these foods, you want to look for whole grain options that retain their fiber and nutritional content. For example, swap out white rice for brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread for white bread, and quinoa for pasta.
As you reduce sugar and refined carbs from your diet, you’ll have more room for fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, lean protein, and healthy fats.
We know this dietary overhaul may seem challenging, but we assure you that it will benefit every area of your health and help reverse your prediabetes. To make the transition much easier, we’re here to help you make the changes through our healthy whole food nutrition and healthy lifestyle counseling.
To learn more about reversing your prediabetes through dietary changes, please call us today at 949-558-0554 in Newport Beach, California, or 928-235-6925 in Prescott, Arizona.