How do I avoid getting diabetes?

I am 23 years old, fairly although not grossly overweight, and have a strong family history of diabetes (on both sides of the family).

I have tried going on diets in the past and failed miserably. What I am doing right now, however, is attempting to change my eating habits for the better. I used to be able to do really well with a “diet” for about a month, and then would backslide and fall off the wagon and never manage to get back on. So this time, I am attempting to phase things in slowly. On January 1, I gave up refined/processed sugar. This isn’t complete – I still eat hamburger buns, and other things with minimal amounts of sugar, but I have given up soda pop, sweet desserts, ice cream, and other foods with high processed sugar content. I have done well with this for the last four months and am embarking on phase 2, which is giving up fast food restaurants (except Subway).

I am doing all this not really to lose weight (although I expect that will be a side effect) but to avoid getting diabetes. What else should I be doing? Are there specific types of foods I should avoid, or make sure to get lots of?

I did a search on this topic but didn’t find anything; hopefully this question isn’t a repeat.

Well perhaps KarlGauss the endocrinologist will check in and answer this one more definitively, but from my perspective as a family doctor who treats a lot of diabetics, I must say that the most important thing to do to avoid diabetes is to get down towards, then maintain your ideal body weight. Adult onset diabetes is due to your own body’s (especially the adipose, or “fat” cell’s) resistance to insulin. Adding any food substance, not just sugar and carbs, then causes the sugars to tend to run high. I know of no foods that induce diabetes, but any hi caloric, nutritionally empty substance will dispose you to developing more insulin resistance if overdone.

In brief then, regular exercise, (I tell my patients to try to do 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day, that way they might manage it 5 times a week), get closer to your ideal body weight, and eat a sensible, balanced diet.

KarlGauss, DrPap, others want to expand/dissent?

Qadgop, MD

Oh yeah, regular exercise makes the prospects of successful dieting and weight loss much better. Dieting alone is hard to sustain, with proper exercise it’s much more pleasant. I’ve got my air-dyne bike set in front of the tv, and play Nintendo 64 while I exercise. (Starfox best for increased exertion, Mario not so hot, slow down to figure out strategy too often).

Subway is high in carbs which do get broken down into glucose in the stomach and absorded into the blood.

Using some of Dr. Atkins teachings - try to reduce carbs (sugar 1st, but all carbs except fiber). Eating more protien and fat will help slow carb absorbtion also. But then again too much protien and not enough fat will cause the protien to get broken into carbs (well some of it).

If you feel good going to subway (a place I don’t go to) think of getting extra meat (if they have it) and combining both meats on one side of the sandwich (toss the unused 1/2 a bun)

Even if you do develope diabetes you might to be able to reduce or even elimiate insulin shots by a low carb diet.

If you can stay on Atkins or other low carb diet - you will loose weight.

Thanks for your responses. I did a little research on, and they say that the main risk factor is being overweight, so it’s clear that losing weight should actually be my main focus.

K2Dave, I thank you for your input – I am not sure that a low-carb diet is right for me, but it is not something I have entirely ruled out. I was really looking for more diabetes-specific info, but it seems that losing weight is the main risk factor involved, so your comments may be relevant after all.

Oh, and thanks also for the exercise info, Qadgop. I hate going to gyms, and there’s no room in my house for an exercise bike (although I do love the idea of parking the thing in front of the TV), but I am enrolling in tap dancing classes this month.

Actually, Qadgop said it all. Try to stick close to your ideal body weight and get regular exercise. Even modest amounts of exercise, say 15 minutes of brisk walking, or making a habit of walking up two or three flights of stairs when given the chance, can lead to a substantial decrease in the chance of getting diabetes (NIDDM to be precise). One study, in very high risk people (positive family history), showed that this level of exercise can cut the chance of developing diabetes by some 35 percent (IIRC). The results also showed that the higher a person’s risk for developing diabetes, the more they were protected against diabetes by doing regular exercise.

And one more thing. Choose your parents carefully.

It’s also important to eat not for weight, but to be well.

Soda is okay, get the no calorie stuff, you get used to the taste.

Actually I’ve become quite addicted to Diet Pepsi ever since I gave up sugar, handy. :smiley: