Pioneer Health



Lifestyle changes are often advised for people at higher risk of diabetes and those newly diagnosed with Type 2, to help manage their diabetes. Here are some proactive lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes.

Walk 5000-10000 steps a day

Get moving is the mantra. One way is by walking and tracking your steps daily. Setting a target of walking 10,000 steps a day is a fun way of increasing physical activity. Begin with 5,000 and gradually escalate. Many high-tech devices are available to track activity levels. This helps start out slowly and tracks progress objectively. If aged 45 and weigh 70 kg, you can burn 400 calories by walking 10,000 steps briskly (3-5mph). Walking, running or jogging 10,000 steps improves a person’s insulin sensitivity and reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Walking has benefits like better sugar control, weight management, stress relief and improved heart health but get a physician’s clearance before. Lifting small weights, using resistance bands help in getting your muscles stronger and toned. Here are some apps:

MyFitnessPal: Watches your diet, has an easy-to-use calorie counter and diet tracker that offers a massive nutrition and calorie database.

Your smart phone: Many newer phones incorporate a motion co-processor designed to track your movement. This acts as a pedometer without impairing battery life.

Fit-Bit: A good app for tracking all-day activity, workouts, sleep and more.

Stand & work: Spending your day standing can reduce the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. A standing desk can help you burn more calories. Getting dictations while walking around in the office also helps.

Increase in protein intake: High-protein diets have become popular as they offer greater weight loss, better blood sugar control and less hunger than other diets. Diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates significantly decrease the HBA1C (three-month sugar average) levels and show improved insulin sensitivity. Studies have found that short-term weight loss and better blood glucose control have been possible for diabetics on a high-protein diet. It’s important to get micro albumin levels checked before starting on high protein diet.

Meal replacement shakes and nutrition bars: These are simple and effective weight loss tools for diabesitics. Products have shown advantages over self-selected weight loss diets. Meal replacement shakes and nutrition bars provide a mixture of protein, carbohydrate and fat, along with added vitamins and minerals.

Increase intake of nuts: Nuts contain unsaturated fats, protein and a range of vitamins and minerals that lower cholesterol, inflammation and insulin resistance. A handful almonds, walnuts and pistachios should be included in the diet to control blood sugars and fats (triglycerides).

Use of  monounsaturated fatty acids oils: Being selective about the types of fat you eat is important. Saturated fat and trans-fat raise low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) levels in the blood raises the risk of heart disease. The good fat are monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and a type of polyunsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids. Plant sources high in monounsaturated fats include vegetable oils like canola, olive oil, high-oleic safflower oil and high-oleic sunflower oil. Three teaspoons of oil a day is recommended.

Use specific metabolism-friendly  seeds: Power foods like flaxseeds, chia seeds, sunflower and fenugreek are rich in omega-3, fiber and antioxidants. Flaxseeds are a good source of fibre and aid in digestion, prevent constipation, and suppress hunger. Fenugreeks help to improve the way the body uses sugar and increase the amount of insulin released.

Dr Misra is Chairman, Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology



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