I answer the question Should You Follow a Prediabetes Diet Plan? in a Splenda Living Blog. But before you read the answer, let's get clear on what prediabetes is, who’s at risk and actions to take that can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. (Prediabetes refers to the condition that occurs before one's glucose levels become high enough to diagnose type 2 diabetes.)
The number of people estimated to have prediabetes is simply staggering. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts the estimate at 86 million Americans. That’s one out of three Americans at risk for diabetes! Of particular concern is that less than 15% of these millions of people have prediabetes because often there are no symptoms, nor have they been tested for it or told they have it.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) now recommends that all adults over 45 years of age be screened for prediabetes. Risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes include being overweight or obese, having one or more parents or siblings who have or had type 2 diabetes or women who have had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy).
According to the ADA, any of the following lab tests with the corresponding results can be used to diagnose prediabetes:
- Fasting Blood Glucose: 100-125 mg/dL
- 2 hours after the start of an oral glucose tolerance test: 140-199 mg/dL
- A1c test (A1c approximates an average of all the ups and downs of blood glucose over the previous two to three months): 5.7 to 6.4 percent
People can develop prediabetes and have it for several years or more before blood glucose levels rise high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Think of the diagnosis of prediabetes as a window of opportunity or yellow caution flag to take immediate action to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes take action today. Don’t delay! According to CDC, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years if they don’t take action immediately.
Let’s switch gears to discuss the specific actions to take if you have prediabetes or diabetes symptoms and, more specifically, to what is a prediabetes diet plan.
Action Plan to Slow the Progression of Prediabetes
Preventing Diabetes with Weight Loss
Studies conducted around the globe over the last few decades show that losing 7 percent of your current body weight and keeping as much of this weight off over the years can help you slow or even reverse prediabetes (this adds up to about 10 to 15 pounds for a person who weighs 200 pounds). In general, the closer you are to your a healthy weight the less risk there is of developing type 2 diabetes.