Today, 415 million adults are living with diabetes worldwide (1 in 11 adults) and it is estimated that this number will increase to over 640 million by 2040. Many of these cases could be prevented.

Understanding fats and carbs

While there are a number of factors that influence the development of Type 2 diabetes, it is evident that the most influential are lifestyle behaviors commonly associated with urbanization. These include consumption of processed foods, for example, foods with a high fat content, sugar-sweetened beverages and highly refined carbohydrates.

“A healthy diet, defined as one low in sugar, salt and saturated fat, can help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and reduce complications in people with all types of diabetes.”

Managing activity

At the same time, modern lifestyles are characterized by physical inactivity and long sedentary periods. Together these behaviors are associated with an increased risk of being overweight or obese and the development of Type 2 diabetes.

Lifestyle solutions

A number of prevention programs have shown that modifying such behaviors, by eating healthier foods and increasing physical activity, can greatly reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. These behavior changes can also help people living with all types of diabetes to achieve stable control and manage their condition effectively.

A healthy diet, defined as one low in sugar, salt and saturated fat, can help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and reduce complications in people with all types of diabetes. Based on the types of food that predispose patients to Type 2 diabetes, here are nine recommendations for a healthy diet for the general population. These recommendations will also help people with diabetes to manage their condition to avoid complications.

1. Limit liquid calories

Choose water, coffee or tea instead of fruit juice, soda, or other sugar sweetened beverages.

2. Go green

Eat at least three servings of vegetables every day, including green leafy vegetables.

3. Be fruitful

Eat up to three servings of fresh fruit every day.

4. Snack smart

Choose nuts, a piece of fresh fruit or unsweetened yogurt for a snack.

5. Say “when”

Limit alcohol intake to a maximum of two standard drinks per day.

6. Stop on red

Choose lean cuts of meat, poultry or seafood instead of red or processed meat.

7. Be pro-protein

Choose peanut butter instead of chocolate spread or jam.

8. Avoid the whites

Opt for whole-grain bread instead of white bread, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta.

9. Find your fats

Choose unsaturated fats (olive oil or avocados) instead of saturated fats (butter or coconut oil).

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