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Q. My doctor just advised me that I am “pre-diabetic”. I had not heard that term before. Is pre-diabetes common, and is there anything I can do to avoid full blown diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is actually a relatively new term that is used to refer to a condition where an individual has levels of sugar in the bloodstream that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be classified as full blown Type 2 Diabetes. Believe it or not, over 60 million Americans are now found to be pre-diabetic, and the numbers are growing. Simply put, diabetes is a disease in which the body doesn’t produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that’s needed to convert glucose into the energy needed to convert glucose (the sugars that are in your bloodstream after eating a carbohydrate food, such as bread) into the energy needed for daily functioning. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your pancreas either isn’t producing insulin in sufficient quantity or your cells have lost their ability to respond to insulin (it could also be a combination of the two factors.) Over 23 million Americans now have Type 2 diabetes.
The good news is, experts agree that with lifestyle changes, full blown diabetes can be avoided. There are a number of things you can do right now to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. If you’re overweight, take steps to lose 5-10% of your body weight. Studies show that you can significantly lower your risk of getting full blown diabetes by losing this amount of weight and exercising at least 30 minutes most days can help with both weight loss and reversing insulin resistance. If you’ve been inactive, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Add more greens and vegetables to your lunch and dinner. Vegetables have fiber and nutrients that will both fill you up so that you are eating less of the foods that raise your blood sugars and have important nutrients that can both heal your body and help with food cravings.
Check your cabinets, and try to eliminate refined foods such as white breads, rice, and flour, as well as foods containing high fructose corn syrup and trans fats. Start to use healthier sugar alternatives such as Stevia or Truvia. Agave syrup can also be used in moderation. Drink plenty of water and include healthy snacks into your daily routine. Substitute a small amount of low-sugar healthful dark chocolate for high sugar/high fat candy. Learning how to make substitutions for foods you’re used to eating can take time, but to get you started, substitute whole grain or sprouted grain bread with at least 3 grams of fiber, for white bread. and eat sweet potatoes or beans in place of white potatoes. For more tips on how to makeover your kitchen pantry along with shopping lists visit The most important thing is to begin to take action. You’ll be surprised at how just taking small action steps everyday can yield big results.