The Experts Took the Calls on Diabetes

By Brad Gillman

Diabetes care was featured in June on the monthly Ask The Expert on KUTV. Intermountain caregivers offered a variety of wellness, treatments and prevention advice.  

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Prediabetes was highlighted in several segments as the prevalence is large. One in three Americans have prediabetes, which equals 86 million people, and 90 percent may not know it. If gone unchecked with no lifestyle changes, it can lead to Type II Diabetes.

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A Prediabetes Action Plan

If a blood test shows an elevated blood glucose in the pre-diabetic range then it’s time to start an action plan to cut your diabetes risk.

“There are three things we recommend to people. The first thing is to increase your activity – at least 30 minutes five days a week,” said Gail Johnson, diabetes educator for SelectHealth.

Lose weight — cutting five to seven percent of your body weight is ideal to making significant impact to cutting your Type II diabetes risk.

Eat healthy – fruits, vegetables and cutting back on carbohydrates are a good place to start.

The combination of those three points can help cut the risk of onset diabetes. If you have a family history, or concerned about your own prediabetes risk, then look for help.

“See a doctor is the best thing. Get that blood test taken and see where you land,” Johnson said.

Preventing Type II Diabetes

The action plan is important because while prediabetes has no symptoms, Type II diabetes is a chronic illness with major health effects. This makes prevention key to potentially avoiding the worst.

The combination of eating healthy and exercise will start to make deficits in your body weight. Losing body weight will also start cutting the diabetes risk for you.

“The National Prediabetes study shows that if people lose just five percent of their weight from a base line, they can reduce their risk from developing Type II diabetes by 60 percent. If they lose ten percent of their body weight from base line, they reduce their risk of developing type II diabetes by 85 percent,” said Liz Joy, Intermountain Healthcare’s medical director of Community Health and Clinical Nutrition.

If you find yourself in the prediabetes range then ask for help in tackling this problem. Intermountain has several classes available. There is Prediabetes 101 which is a two-hour educational classes, also medical nutrition therapy classes, and a Way To Health – which is nutrition program with a yearlong commitment.

Prediabetes Diet

Eat healthy is one part of the trifecta on diabetes prevention. What kind of food you are consuming and how often are important to figure out.

“Basically it takes the body about three hours to digest a meal. Expert are recommending anywhere between two to four hours. Now you don’t want to be eating huge meals. But just small meals throughout the day,” said Dontai Warner, physician assistant for the Intermountain Layton Clinic. 

Focus on having a diet low in fat and high in fiber. Include adding more protein to your diet such as with eggs, peanut butter and nuts.

“Eating whole grain foods are great. Fruits and vegetables are wonderful to have as well.  And then just trying to cut down our sugar intake,” Warner said. “Basically with prediabetes you don’t want to be eating a lot of carbs.”

The focus is on helping the blood glucose and insulin production in the body. But there are a lot of questions whether to avoid sugar entirely.

“You can eat sugar. But it has to be in moderation. A lot of sugar (foods) has a lot of carbs, a lot of calories. Unfortunately, when we are just eating that primarily we are gaining a lot of weight and that’s when prediabetes comes in to play.

For more, visit KUTV’s Ask The Expert website.