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You’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes – now what?

Written by
Team Nutrisense
Reviewed by
Kara Collier
RDN, LDN, CNSC
a Stethoscope and a note that says "prediabetes"

It’s never easy to adjust to a new diagnosis, whether an irritating but manageable condition or a life-changing disorder. So, the first instinct many people have is to shut down and hope against hope that there’s been some mistake or that some miracle remedy is right around the corner. These are completely normal and human reactions – it would be more of a concern if someone received terrible health news and felt nothing at all. Along this healthy spectrum of emotional response, it is also worth considering that many people’s first thought is to plan and leave the emotional processing for later. Whatever your habits and patterns, having a set of reliable actions to follow can help at any stage of the process. 

Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s fasting blood glucose levels hover around 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter. If you choose to measure using the glycated hemoglobin figures (A1C test), a prediabetic range would be from 5.7% to 6.4% glycated hemoglobin. Prediabetes is more than often reversible – people whose fasting blood glucose levels drift up into this range can also drift back with concerted effort and dedication. Prediabetes is essentially a signal that glucose levels aren’t as high as diabetic levels, but higher than normal. This is the perfect time for someone to take some action and reverse the trend of their labs in the opposite direction, rather than letting glucose continue to trend upwards to diabetes. 

Here then, you can find, directly from the Nutrisense team, a set of reliable steps you can take to manage your blood glucose levels that should fit most lifestyles of persons with prediabetes.

Keep it Moving

One of the most basic pieces of wellness advice we can give to anyone is to exercise regularly. We know it’s not the most original or technologically recent strategy in the world – in fact, movement is not only as old as humanity but life itself – but our bodies do run at their best levels when we put them through their paces. We would recommend a healthy mix of cardio and light to moderate weight training to a general audience. Still, if you have been recently diagnosed with prediabetes, we can wholeheartedly suggest a regimen focused mostly on strength training, “zone 2” activity, and regular movement throughout the day, with the consultation and advice of your healthcare provider of choice.

a person tying shoelace

Top Exercises for Prediabetes

  • Walking: probably the oldest form of exercise, this tried-and-true method is perfect for people with the joints and mobility to support it. You can go as fast or slow and for as long or short a walk as you like
  • Resistance training: this can be done with no equipment at all, or modified to include what you have available. Body weight resistance training such as squats, push-ups, and lunges are a great way to include strength training in your routine
  • Swimming: perfect for the person who either particularly enjoys the water or wants the freedom of motion in three dimensions it allows, including people with arthritis or other mobility limiting conditions
  • Dancing: some people just want to express themselves physically, and if you have the mobility and energy for it, we can recommend this as a fun way to burn calories and condition your body while enjoying life

The Glycemic Index and Prediabetes

The glycemic index (GI) is a familiar topic for regular readers of our articles, but it’s worth briefly revisiting the concept for a prediabetic population. The GI measures how quickly food is made available as blood glucose relative to a sample of pure sugar. As a wellness measure, eating a diet of low GI foods can stabilize your energy levels and leave you feeling more “even” throughout the day as well. We recommend it for people who can choose low GI foods at home, school, or at work, especially for snacks that can derail even the most rigorous diet. For people with prediabetes, however, the GI is more of a requirement for managing basic healthcare needs than a lifestyle choice. Although diet and exercise, in general, can help reverse or slow the progression of prediabetes, a low GI diet is the better part of preventing blood glucose level spikes from an already elevated base. Here we can recommend a few reliable choices for anyone looking for a low GI diet, but of particular importance to people recently diagnosed with prediabetes.

someone frying veggies

Low GI foods for Prediabetes

  • Unsweetened Greek Yogurt: one of our favorite foods to recommend for people watching their blood glucose levels, this dairy treat can have high protein and fat content, which slows the digestion of the sugars that remain; you can also add nuts and seeds as you like
  • Flame Cooked Meats: we think if the number one priority is keeping blood sugar low, cooking lean meats over an open flame while seasoning them judiciously with spices and not sauces can be an excellent choice for someone with prediabetes
  • Fresh Vegetables: this one is a no brainer, and we’re sure you’ve heard it before, but most whole vegetables are low in sugar, and those that have some sugar in them have much lower GIs than comparable fruits or sweetened processed foods
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Engage with Your Blood Glucose Levels with Nutrisense

Your blood sugar levels can significantly impact how your body feels and functions. That’s why stable blood glucose levels can be an important factor in supporting overall wellbeing.

With Nutrisense, you’ll be able to track your blood glucose levels over time using a CGM, so you can make lifestyle choices that support healthy living.

When you join the program, our team of credentialed dietitians and nutritionists are available for additional support and guidance to help you reach your goals.

Ready to take the first step? Start with our quiz to see how Nutrisense can support your health.

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