Pre-Diabetes

by Deborah
(Saratoga Springs)

Deborah's question:


My husband is 6 ft and weights 200 lbs. He was told he is pre-diabetic. What would be a healthy amount of carbs for him to try to maintain? We already understand about complex carbs and eat a lot of veggies and limit the breads. When we do eat them, we eat high fiber, high in whole grain products.

Suzy's Answer

I am sorry to hear that your husband has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes This means that his fasting glucose level is above 100, but not high enough (usually above 130) to be considered full-blown diabetes. The good news is that, at this stage, it will be easier to make lifestyle changes that will get his blood sugar back into a normal range before it can cause serious damage to his system.

I can't give you a specific recommendation as to how he should manage his diet. You would need to visit a dietitian or other licensed health care professional for that kind of targeted information. They will be able to look at his family and health history, body composition, occupation and taste preferences in order to help him establish a healthy regimen.

Tips for planning a healthy diet

In a general sense, it sounds like you have the right idea about healthy eating.

*Eat regular meals and healthy snacks, made up of fresh, whole foods with proportionate amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

*Limit or avoid overly processed food, junk food and fast food. This includes foods made from white flour, foods with added sugar, fruit juices, soda and chips.

*Become food label savvy so that you can evaluate whether the products in the store aisles are worth your food dollars and will fit well into your healthy diet.

BMI

Another thing to consider is that your husband's BMI is 27.1. Anything over 25 is considered "overweight." Of course, the limitation of this way of measuring health, is that it doesn't take into account body composition. I don't know if his 200 pounds is mostly muscle, but normally, a guy who is 6 feet tall, with a healthy body fat/muscle ratio would weigh about 180 pounds. Losing as little as 5-10% of his weight, would improve insulin resistance and help to get his blood sugar number back into a normal range.

Exercise is important, too

Recent studies have shown that exercise correlates with decreased risk of diabetes even more than diet and family history do. Adding regular exercise, preferably something he enjoys, will help tremendously, and not just with his blood sugar number.

Get help

As I mentioned above, you can talk with a dietitian and let her help you set up a diet that meets your husband's particular needs. There are a number of excellent websites that can help you with meal planning and food choices, including the American Diabetes Association site at the following URL:

http://www.diabetes.org/

Thank you for visiting our health eating website and keep us posted on how he is doing!

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