You don't think you have diabetes, but are you headed in that direction? Know the signs and symptoms, and heed experts' advice on preventing blood sugar problems before they start.
Are you fatigued? Shaky? Nervous and sweaty? Headachy? Dizzy? You probably don’t need a doctor to tell you your blood sugar is out of whack. While most of these seemingly normal and harmless symptoms usually pass once you’ve had something to eat, chronically low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) come with a host of serious health consequences, from heart disease to diabetes.
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and if you're like me you’re probably thinking: We haven't even finished off the Halloween candy. And on the cusp of the holiday season? Really? Do I have to think about this right now?
Well, yes. If the monstrous amount of sugar consumed by Americans every year (an average of over 150 pounds per person) doesn’t scare you, this might: Nearly 26 million U.S. children and adults have diabetes—and those numbers don’t even include the millions of us who have prediabetes and other blood sugar–related health issues, unknowingly.
But here’s the positive news: Healthy eating habits and taking certain supplements can go a long way toward preventing diabetes, unwanted weight gain, and other blood sugar–related conditions. Try these six to start.
Reduce sugar intake. Try these nine easy ways to eat less sugar.
Don’t start your day at a deficit. Skipping breakfast tells your body to go into starvation mode, increasing fat stores and the likelihood of sugar cravings later in the day.
Focus on fiber. It increases feelings of fullness and helps foods digest more slowly, keeping your blood sugar even-keel. (Try these 25 fiber-rich recipes.)
Get adequate protein.
Don’t skimp on healthy fats.
Consider these blood sugar–balancing supplements.
And, yes, high fructose corn syrup really is worse for you than other sugars. But before you give other sweeteners a place in your cupboard, keep in mind that our bodies don’t do well with very much of any refined sugar (even honey, agave, and fruit-juice sweeteners). Read more about sugar’s effects on the body. New low-glycemic sweeteners may be better, including stevia and lo han guo (monk fruit).
Read more about how to prevent low blood sugar and reverse prediabetes.