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These Food and Fitness Tips Can Help You Manage Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk

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Julie Stefanski

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, National Spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Diabetes is a chronic disease that increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney, eye, and nerve damage. An estimated 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese, 34 percent have prediabetes, and 12.2 percent have diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Statistics Report 2017, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Although food doesn’t cause diabetes, selecting nutritious foods and controlling your portion sizes can help you manage the disease. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is uniquely qualified to help you create an individualized eating plan that is based on your needs, abilities, and resources.

You are what you eat

By consulting with an RDN, you can develop short- and long-term plans to control your blood sugar levels, improve your food choices, and increase your physical activity to help delay or even prevent complications.

Consider these healthful eating tips:  

  • Eat recommended portion sizes, and cut back on foods and beverages that are high in added sugars or salt.
  • Make your carbohydrates count by choosing whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and low-fat milk over sugary drinks and refined grains.
  • Eat fewer foods with saturated fat such as processed meats, and focus on healthful fat sources like avocados, olive and canola oil, and nuts.
  • Eat lean meats, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and swap meat for lentils or tofu every now and then.

Get moving

Whether they have diabetes or not, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week. Experts also recommend resistance and strength exercises at least twice per week. Check with your doctor before beginning a physical activity program that encompasses more than brisk walking.

Some great ideas to get your body in motion:

  • Enjoy some dancing or gardening.
  • Do chores around the house like vacuuming or mowing the lawn.
  • Take a brisk walk, swim, or grab some friends to play basketball or another game.
  • Strengthen your muscles with push-ups or lunges, or use free weights or resistance bands.

Spread your physical activities throughout the day and week. For more healthful tips, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org.  

Julie Stefanski, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, National Spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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