If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, it not the end of the world. According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), lifestyle changes such as modest weight loss, healthy eating and physical activity may be able to reverse pre-diabetes and delay progression to diabetes.
Monitoring Your Health
People with pre-diabetes should get their blood sugar level measured every six months to get a good gauge on how their food intake and current lifestyle affects their health.
People above 40 who have normal blood sugar levels, but with a family history of Type 2 diabetes, should also undergo regular health screenings.
Losing just five to 10 per cent of your body weight, and maintaining a healthy BMI (less than 23kg/m2) can reduce the risk of pre-diabetes progressing to overt diabetes4 . It should be noted, however, that fad diets and extreme exercise may not be beneficial as they may result in fluctuating blood sugar levels.
Any weight loss programme should be managed in a healthy and sustainable manner. Eating healthy and being more active are two ways to go about it.
To start off, reducing your meal portions to consume less calories daily will help you lose weight over time. During his National Day Rally this year, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that in 1998, Singaporeans were eating 2,100 calories every day – a healthy level. By 2004, this had risen to 2,400 calories and by 2010, it was at 2,600 calories.5
Spacing out your meals in terms of time can also help your body regulate its blood sugar levels. After every meal, your body’s sugar levels increase, and it takes about two hours for sugar levels to return to pre-meal levels4.
Choosing to eat healthier meals, such as food with healthy fats rather than saturated or hydrogenated fats, is another way to reduce caloric intake. Eating food with slow-releasing carbohydrates or low glycaemic Index (GI), such as non-starchy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can help keep your blood sugar constant. Cutting out sweetened drinks and high sodium foods will help too.
About half an hour of moderate physical activity everyday can make a significant difference in your life, especially if you do not exercise often. Brisk walking, riding a bicycle to run errands around the neighbourhood, or walking instead of driving and taking the stairs over the lift, are a few examples of moderate physical activities that are easy to achieve.
Set realistic goals and chart out a plan so you can follow it visually. Change does not happen overnight so do not be disheartened if it takes some time for your efforts to yield visible results. These efforts will help in sustaining reduced blood sugar levels, lowering your chances of converting from pre-diabetes to Type 2 diabetes.