According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 10 percent of the population — about 30 million Americans — are living with diabetes.

There are two main types of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition that is most often detected early in life, in which the body fails to produce insulin to deliver blood sugar from your meals to the body’s cells.

Type 2 is the more common form of diabetes and is described as “insulin resistance.” In this case, the cells fail to accept the insulin your body produces, so the body is unable to receive the necessary blood sugar for energy. Type 2 Diabetes does not always require insulin therapy, whereas Type 1 Diabetes does.

Prediabetes affects nearly 34 percent of Americans. It is considered a “stepping stone” to Type 2 Diabetes and can provide an opportunity to make important changes and reverse the process to regain control of your health.

Discoveries in genetic research have shown us certain foods can influence some genes in our DNA by turning them “on” or “off.”

This suggests that we are not automatically victims of our genetic blueprint. While family history is, in fact, a risk factor for developing diabetes, it does not seal your fate. The lifestyle choices you make every day may have a significant impact on the development and/or management of a chronic disease like diabetes.

So, what can you do to help reduce your risk for diabetes?

Above all, be kind to your body. Many people understand that weight loss is an important step to reducing their risk for diabetes. If your doctor says you need to lose weight, choose a program that promotes healthy, gradual weight loss.

Restrictive fad diets can be harmful and taxing on the pancreas, and the additional stress to your body can backfire.

A healthy diet should incorporate a variety of whole foods and keep you nourished throughout the day. Aim for sustainable weight loss of no more than 1.5 pounds per week.

If you already have diabetes, a registered dietitian is an excellent resource to help you understand the relationship between carbohydrates and the timing of your meals to help manage the disease.

For the latest information on diabetes, visit: The American Diabetes Association (, Joslin Diabetes Center (,, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (

Susie Bond is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist with Health First Pro-Health & Fitness Center. Contact her at

Healthy lifestyle tips

• Maintain proper hydration by drinking plenty of water and minimizing beverages with added sugars.

• Introduce a new fruit or vegetable to your plate a couple times a week to slowly increase /meet your daily fiber needs (38g for men, 25g for women).

• Choose whole grains whenever possible: brown rice, whole wheat products, quinoa, oats, etc.

• Keep a consistent schedule with your meals and try not to go more than five hours without a meal or snack.

• Try to eat a protein source (meat, peanut butter, beans) anytime you eat foods containing carbohydrates to avoid surges in blood sugar.

• Manage daily stress by getting adequate sleep (min. 7 hours) and exercising 3-5 days a week.

• Minimize alcohol intake to 1 serving per day (12oz beer/ 5oz wine/ 1.5oz 80-proof distilled liquor).

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