Pre-diabetes, also known as impaired glucose tolerance, is a condition characterized by above-normal blood sugars that do not meet the diagnositic criteria for Type 2 diabetes. To reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and stroke, those with pre-diabetes are advised to lose weight, exercise and choose healthier substitutes for some types of foods.
Partially Hydrogenated Oils
Partially hydrogenated oils are a source of trans fats. According to an article by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health, consumption of trans fats causes metabolic dysfunction by raising bad and lowering good cholesterol, triggering inflammation, damaging the lining of blood vessels and increasing belly fat, body weight and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a common feature of pre-diabetes; as the liver, muscle and fat cells lose sensitivity to insulin, blood sugars rise. The FDA allows manufacturers to claim zero trans fats when half a gram or less of trans fats is contained in one serving size, so large portions of these foods may have significant trans fats. The process of hydrogenating vegetable oils hardens the fats and gives them a long shelf life. Partially hydrogenated oils can be found in commercially packaged cakes, cookies, chips, crackers, pies, salad dressings, margarine, icings and microwave popcorn. Deep fried foods such as french fries and doughnuts also typically contain trans fats.
Refined Complex Carbohydrates
Portion size and fiber are important to weight loss and blood sugar regulation. Refined complex carbohydrates are those starches and sugars that are low in fiber, creating quick spikes in blood sugar. Such fluctuations may cause irritability and increased hunger. These foods should be consumed infrequently. The Joslin Diabetes Center suggests that, when small portions of complex carbohydrates are added to the diet, they should be followed by a brisk walk because exercise helps the body use insulin to lower blood sugar. Better choices are high fiber foods that metabolize slowly and create a full feeling. Brown rice is a better choice than white rice. Whole grain is a better choice than white bread. Other root vegetables, such as parsnips, may be substituted for potatoes. Fresh fruits, which contain protective antioxidants, vitamins and minerals can be eaten instead of candy.
Whole Fat Dairy Products and Meats
Saturated fats raise bad cholesterol, the kind that clogs arteries. Fatty meats and whole fat dairy products are also high in calories. Better choices include lean meats, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products, as these are good sources of protein that metabolize slowly and help regulate blood sugar. Healthy Omega-3 fats, found in fish, flaxseed, spirulina, chia seeds and walnuts, raise good cholesterol, the kind that takes fat out of circulation. Public health researchers in Kenya compared the risk of Type 2 diabetes in 300 adults from two rural African communities, the Luo and the Kypsigis. The Luo had higher dietary intakes of Omega-3 fats, primarily from fish, which correlated with lower levels of impaired glucose tolerance. The study was published in the June 2009 "East African Medical Journal."