By the numbers
8 percent of Americans with diabetes
57 million American adults with prediabetes
44.1 million estimated number of Americans who will have diabetes by 2034
Recent research backs up this approach: According to a landmark 1999 study of 3,200 people at high risk of developing diabetes, sustaining modest (7 percent) weight loss by eating a low-fat, moderate-carbohydrate diet and doing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week can reduce diabetes risk twice as well as the leading diabetes drug, metformin. (A 10-year follow-up found that the lifestyle group was still twice as likely to have avoided diabetes). Other research suggests cutting animal fat in particular, via low-fat vegetarian or vegan diets, may work to reverse Type 2 diabetes, helping those on medication to lessen the amount they take and eventually stop taking medication altogether. Meanwhile, recent (and controversial) studies have linked blockbuster diabetes drug Avandia to a 43 percent increased risk of heart attacks and a 47 percent increase in bone fractures.
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