Is Diabetes In Your Future?

Is Diabetes In Your Future?
The 7 Percent Solution
Most people with prediabetes have at least one thing in common: They need to lose weight. "When you increase the size and number of fat cells, you release factors that cause insulin resistance," Horton explains. (Insulin is a hormone that allows cells to use glucose as energy; when cells become resistant to insulin, blood glucose levels rise.) What's more, fat deposits in muscle and the liver cause insulin resistance, too.

While losing excess pounds is the cornerstone of any prediabetes plan, drastic measures aren't necessary. "It's misleading to think you have to lose 50 pounds," says Minneapolis nutritionist Marion J. Franz, R.D., co-author of the American Diabetes Association nutrition guidelines. "Even small amounts of weight loss improve health."

The DPP study found that people with prediabetes who lost at least 7 percent of their body weight slashed their risk for type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Participants who didn't try to lose weight and were given the diabetes drug metformin, which lowers glucose levels, reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by a less impressive 31 percent. Those who shed pounds did so by exercising 30 minutes a day and adopting a diet low in fat and calories. "The bottom line: You have to eat less," Franz says.

Nutrition Prescription
While cutting calories is critical, research suggests that choosing specific foods and avoiding others may help control blood sugar.