Borderline diabetes, also called "prediabetes," means you have elevated blood sugar levels and are in danger of developing type 2 diabetes. To help manage your prediabetes as well as help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, you can follow a diet that moderates carbohydrates and helps you maintain or attain a healthy weight.
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If you have prediabetes, carbohydrates should comprise about 50 percent to 60 percent of your total daily caloric intake. Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, this means you should consume approximately 1,000 to 1,200 calories from carbohydrates. This amounts to 250 g to 300 g of carbohydrates daily. In general, most women should consume between 1,800 and 2,200 total calories per day. Your specific intake requirements may vary depending on your age, weight and level of physical activity. To receive your personalized caloric intake recommendations, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Carbohydrates, unlike protein and fat, elevate your blood glucose levels. If you are a woman with borderline diabetes, it is important to keep track of your daily carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates include sugar, starch and fiber. When counting carbohydrates, consider your total carbohydrate intake -- include the amount of fiber and starch as well as the sugar in a food item. A medium banana, for instance, contains 14.4 g of sugar, 6.35 g of starch and 3.1 g of fiber. The total carbohydrate in a medium banana adds up to just under 24 g.
Healthy Carbohydrate Choices
A healthy diet for a woman with borderline diabetes should focus on nutrient-dense, low-calorie carbohydrates. Emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes and low-fat milk and yogurt. Choose whole grains over processed refined grain products. Good choices include wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, bulgur and breads and pastas made with 100 percent whole wheat flour. Refined grains – such as white bread made from refined grain white flour – are high in starch and low in nutrients.
If you are a woman recently diagnosed with borderline diabetes, it helps to become familiar with the general carbohydrate counts for foods you regularly enjoy. To get you started, here are some examples of common foods that each contain about 15 g of total carbohydrate per serving: one slice of bread; 1/2 cup of beans, lentils, chick peas or starchy vegetable; 1/3 cup of whole grain pasta; 1 small piece of fresh whole fruit; 2/3 cup of plain non-fat yogurt.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- American Dietetic Association: Eat Right: Healthy Eating for Women
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: ChooseMyPlate.gov
- American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness – Carbohydrates
- American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness – Glycemic Index and Diabetes
- American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness – Making Healthy Food Choices
- American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness – Whole Grain Foods
- American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness – Carbohydrate Counting