Diabetes Prevention

Prevention of Diabetes

At present, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. The autoimmune process and environmental triggers that are thought to generate the process that results in the destruction of the body’s insulin-producing cells are still under investigation.

While there are a number of factors that influence the development of type 2 diabetes, it is evident that the most influential are lifestyle behaviours commonly associated with urbanization. These include consumption of unhealthy foods and inactive lifestyles with sedentary behaviour. Studies from different parts of the world have established that lifestyle modification with physical activity and/or healthy diet can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Evidence, including large-scale randomised control trials, shows type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in up to 58 per cent of cases by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and following a healthy eating plan.

People at risk of type 2 diabetes can delay and even prevent the condition by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Regular physical activity
  • Making healthy food choices
  • Managing blood pressure
  • Managing cholesterol levels
  • Not smoking.
  • Many people don’t know they are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

IDF recommendations for a healthy diet for the general population

  • Choosing water, coffee or tea instead of fruit juice, soda, or other sugar sweetened beverages.
  • Eating at least three servings of vegetable every day, including green leafy vegetables.
  • Eating up to three servings of fresh fruit every day.
  • Choosing nuts, a piece of fresh fruit, or unsweetened yoghurt for a snack.
  • Limiting alcohol intake to a maximum of two standard drinks per day.
  • Choosing lean cuts of white meat, poultry or seafood instead of red or processed meat.
  • Choosing peanut butter instead of chocolate spread or jam.
  • Choosing whole-grain bread, rice, or pasta instead of white bread, rice, or pasta.
  • Choosing unsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil, corn oil, or sunflower oil) instead of saturated fats (butter, ghee, animal fat, coconut oil or palm oil.

A particular threat in terms of the associated risk of developing type 2 diabetes is the consumption of high sugar foods, particularly sugar-sweetened beverages