12 Simple Ways to Fight Prediabetes (2022)

At 28, Jennyvi Dizon wasn't expecting to be turned down for health insurance. "I thought I was fairly healthy," she says. The company disapproved her because she weighed 188 pounds and was 5 feet 3 inches tall. They wanted her to weigh 155 pounds or less.

When she reapplied one month later, the insurer requested blood tests. This time, the news was even more startling: her blood glucose (blood sugar) level was above normal and her cholesterol was high.

Jennyvi's mother has diabetes, so the elevated blood glucose reading was especially worrisome. Online, Jennyvi learned that her test level meant she had prediabetes—a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

"I had been in a little bit of denial because, really, I was overweight and unhealthy, but I didn't realize it," says Jennyvi, a bridal and evening gown designer from Phoenix. "I knew that if I get to the diabetes level, it'll cause me problems later."

The hidden condition

As many as 60 million people in the United States have prediabetes, yet more than 90 percent of them don't know it. People with prediabetes usually have no symptoms, and many who learn about their prediabetes think it's no big deal.

(Video) 12 Dietitian Approved BEST Foods for Prediabetes | THESE Foods Lower Blood Sugar FAST

"People do not take this as seriously as they need to," says Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "The good news is there is something you can do about it," Dr. Albright adds.

The best way to fight prediabetes and get your blood sugar back in the normal range is with a coordinated plan of healthy nutrition, increased physical activity and lifestyle coping strategies that support modest weight loss if you are overweight. (Modest weight loss is defined as losing 5 to 10 percent of body weight.) Research shows that following such a plan not only reduces diabetes risk, but does it better than using medication. Improvements in glucose levels may be seen in as little as three months.

If you have prediabetes, you need to start making lifestyle changes quickly. There's a window of only about three to six years in which you can turn around elevated glucose levels, Dr. Albright says.

Know your risk

Rhonda Hurwitz had three risk factors for developing prediabetes. The Chappaqua, New York, woman had gestational diabetes during both of her pregnancies, more than 20 years ago. That put her at higher risk for prediabetes, yet the condition didn't show up until she was in her 50s and about 15 pounds overweight. By then, both her age and her weight were also risk factors.

Anyone who is overweight and 45 or older should be tested for prediabetes, advises the American Diabetes Association. If you're in that age category and of normal weight, ask your doctor if testing would be appropriate.

Younger overweight women also might need testing if they have: a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides, had gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds. Those in ethnic groups with high risk (African American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian) also should talk with their health care providers.

(Video) Next steps for people with prediabetes

"You need to know your risk status to take preventive steps," Dr. Albright says.

You'll find a simple screening test to assess your prediabetes risk by clicking here.

After preliminary screening, laboratory tests of your fasting glucose level, oral glucose tolerance level and the A1C test will establish whether you are in the prediabetes zone or not. To find out the test result numbers that indicate you have impaired glucose levels, click here.

In addition to those glucose levels, the American Diabetes Association now advises that an A1C test, which does not require fasting, be used to identify prediabetes and diabetes. An A1C range of 5.7 to 6.4 percent puts you in the prediabetes category (a diagnosis of diabetes is made when the A1C test score is 6.5 percent or higher.)

"There's a cascade of events (in your body) that starts to happen as you put on excess pounds. You disturb the body's normal means for keeping glucose in control," says Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, a nutritionist and author of Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy (American Diabetes Association, 4th ed., 2010) and other books ondiabetes.

When first told that you have prediabetes, Warshaw says, that's when "you can get the biggest bang for your efforts" by changing your diet and becoming more physically active.

"People have the notion that you need to lose a huge amount of weight and that is not what the research says," she notes. By losing just a modest amount through lifestyle changes, "you can reduce your glucose levels back to normal."

(Video) Top 12 Prediabetes Symptoms and Treatment

Taking action

Jennyvi moved quickly to beat her prediabetes by going to her doctor, a visit that also turned up a heart palpitation and high blood pressure. Yet the doctor was reassuring: lose the weight and you'll diminish or lose your health problems, he told her.

Seven months later, she's lost 30 pounds by changing her food choices and habits as well as increasing physical activity. She cut sugar and fats from her diet, eliminated midnight junk-food snacks and now joins her husband on daily walks with their energetic dog. "I don't consider it a diet. It's a life change for me," she says.

As a result, her blood sugar level has dropped well into the normal range, and she is no longer considered to be in the prediabetes range. "You get serious about it when your health is at stake," Jennyvi says.

Rhonda embarked on a plan to improve her eating and increase activity. She consulted with a nutritionist and became exercise buddies with a friend. Yet it hasn't been all smooth sailing. "The biggest thing I struggle with is my sweet tooth," she says. "How do you police yourself when you don't have any symptoms? You don't feel any different if you eat right or you don't eat right. It's just something you have to decide to do."

After losing 10 pounds, dropping at least one clothing size and seeing her A1C test results improve, Rhonda regained a bit of weight during the holidays. She's now back on track, avoiding refined, low-fiber carbohydrates such as white rice and white potatoes and eating more salads, vegetables and nuts. "I feel I've got it under control," she says.

What helps


Sheryl Lozicki, RD, MBA, a nutritionist in private practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan, suggests setting three main goals if you're at risk of prediabetes or have been diagnosed with it: eat regularly (no skipping or delaying meals); exercise for a total of 30 minutes daily; and get an average of eight hours of sleep each night. "When you short yourself on sleep, it leads to mindless eating or eating out of fatigue to perk yourself up," says Lozicki.

Choose three behaviors and commit to doing them for at least four weeks. Try these specific ideas from Lozicki, or find others elsewhere in this article:

  • Drink a cup of water with meals and a cup between meals. This fills you up and helps you feel fuller faster.
  • Limit 100 percent real fruit juice to a half-cup, or four ounces. Switch to whole fruit for more fiber and better nutrition.
  • Forget about regular soda, imitation juice drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks.
  • Switch from full-fat to low-fat or nonfat dairy.
  • Increase whole grains in all foods. Switch from regular pasta to whole-grain. Have oatmeal for breakfast. Choose brown rice. All of these have complex carbohydrates, which cause a slower rise in blood sugar as well as other health benefits.
  • No foods other than fresh fruit should be on your kitchen counter or in view at all.
  • Keep cut-up fruits and vegetables up-front and available on the main shelf of your refrigerator.
  • Write down what you eat and why. Were you hungry, angry, lonely, etc.? Know which triggers cause you to eat or overeat.

Increasing fiber in your diet helps lower blood sugar. For some great ways to add fiber, please click here.

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What is the fastest way to fix prediabetes? ›

  1. Eat healthy foods. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and olive oil is associated with a lower risk of prediabetes. ...
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What should I eat for breakfast if I am prediabetic? ›

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What foods should borderline diabetics stay away from? ›

If you have prediabetes, it's a good idea to limit or skip the following 100% fruit juice, soda, and sweetened coffee drinks. Try to avoid energy or sports drinks, mixed alcohol cocktails, and lemonade or sweet tea. Experts aren't sure how artificial sweeteners affect people with prediabetes.

What drink lowers blood sugar? ›

Drinking water regularly may rehydrate the blood, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce diabetes risk ( 20 , 21 ). Keep in mind that water and other zero-calorie drinks are best.

What fruits should a prediabetic avoid? ›

Dried fruit, fruit juice, and certain tropical fruits, like mangoes, tend to contain more sugar. It may be a good idea to limit portions or eat these foods less often. Some canned fruit has added sugar or is packaged in syrup.

What foods to avoid if you are prediabetic? ›

Foods to avoid if you are prediabetic include:
  • Sweets. Pastries. Cookies. Cake. Candy. Pie. Doughnuts.
  • Refined carbohydrates. White bread. Pasta. Bagels. Crackers. Pretzels.
  • Sweetened breakfast cereals.
  • Flavored yogurt.
  • Unhealthy fats from fried foods, such as French fries.
  • Fatty meats.
  • Jams and jellies.
  • Potato chips.

What bread can diabetics eat? ›

The American Diabetes Association recommends choosing whole grain bread or 100 percent whole wheat bread instead of white bread. White bread is made from highly processed white flour and added sugar. Here are some delicious and healthy breads to try: Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran and Wheat Pita Bread.

How many slices of bread can a diabetic eat per day? ›

According to a regular person's calorie intakes, one can have around three medium slices of refined white flour bread in a day. When it comes to a diabetic patient, this number changes, it is best not to consume white flour bread, but if doing so, make sure not to go over two medium slices.

Is rice good for prediabetes? ›

Rice can be part of a healthy diet for prediabetes, but making a few good choices when you eat rice can make a big difference. Using brown rice, adding protein, fiber, and fat, and keeping portions small can help lower diabetes risk.

Are eggs good for prediabetes? ›

A study from 2018 suggests that regularly eating eggs could improve fasting blood glucose in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. The researchers here suggest that eating one egg per day could reduce a person's risk of diabetes.

What can I drink before bed to lower my blood sugar? ›

A: Drinking apple cider vinegar at bedtime can help diabetic people control their blood glucose levels. A diabetic patient should take one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water before sleep. It can also aid in the regulation of fasting blood sugar levels in the morning.

Does lemon water reduce blood sugar? ›

Lemon juice significantly lowered the mean blood glucose concentration peak by 30% (p < 0.01) and delayed it more than 35 min (78 vs. 41 min with water, p < 0.0001).

Is Coke Zero OK for diabetics? ›

Diabetics should avoid coke or any soft drinks as much as possible. Coke Zero is sugar-free. However, the sugar substitutes it contains may not necessarily be a healthier option for people looking to reduce their blood sugar levels.

Can diabetics eat potatoes? ›

Potatoes and diabetes. Share on Pinterest In moderation, a person with diabetes may eat potatoes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend eating starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, as part of a healthful diet. Starch is a complex carbohydrate that takes the body longer to break down than simple sugars.

Are tomatoes good for diabetics? ›

Tomatoes are not high in sugar, and neither are carrots. Tomatoes, similar to carrots, are considered a non-starchy vegetable in meal planning for diabetes. This means that the amount of naturally occurring sugar is minimal in a serving.

Are grapes OK for diabetics? ›

Grapes are adored, nourishing fruits and are safe for diabetics. People can eat them and add them to their diabetic diets as they do not harm or spike glucose levels. Consuming grapes help to reduce the susceptibility to developing type 2 diabetes.

How long does it take to reverse prediabetes? ›

Losing weight and reversing prediabetes can take anywhere from a few weeks, to a few months, to a few years, but the window of time to reverse prediabetes after a diagnosis is between 2-6 years – so you have time!

Does stress cause prediabetes? ›

Stress alone doesn't cause diabetes. But there is some evidence that there may be a link between stress and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Our researchers think that high levels of stress hormones might stop insulin-producing cells in the pancreas from working properly and reduce the amount of insulin they make.

Can prediabetes go away? ›

It's common. And most importantly, it's reversible. You can prevent or delay prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes with simple, proven lifestyle changes.

Which vegetables should be avoided in diabetes? ›

People living with diabetes should look to avoid vegetables with a high GI rating, as the body absorbs blood sugar from those foods much quicker compared with low-GI foods. This includes artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, eggplant/aubergine, green beans, lettuce, peppers, snow peas and spinach.”

Can diabetics eat chocolate? ›

There's a myth about chocolate and diabetes. But you can eat chocolate, just in moderation and not too often. Try not to eat a lot in one go as it affects your blood sugar levels. If you snack on chocolate regularly it may start to increase your cholesterol levels and make it more difficult to manage your weight.

What are the five best fruits for diabetics? ›

With That Cleared Up, Here's 5 of the Best Fruits for Diabetics
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  • Grapefruit. ...
  • Cherries.
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How many slices of bread can you eat in a day? ›

An average person can consume up to 8 slices of white bread per day. Make sure though to balance that consumption with other carbohydrates sources. For example, you may replace 3 slices of bread with 1 large potato or have 1 medium potato and 1 slice of bread.

Is corn good for diabetics? ›

Yes, you can eat corn if you have diabetes. Corn is a source of energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It's also low in sodium and fat.

How many pieces of pizza can a diabetic have? ›

If you have diabetes, following a nutrient-dense diet is essential for optimal health and blood sugar management. However, this doesn't mean you have to give up pizza. Instead, enjoy a slice or two of your favorite pizza occasionally as part of a balanced diet.

What sweet can diabetics eat? ›

Examples of some diabetes-friendly desserts include:
  • granola (with no sugar added) and fresh fruit.
  • trail mix with nuts, seeds, roasted pepitas, and dried cranberries.
  • graham crackers with nut butter.
  • angel food cake.
  • chia seed pudding.
  • low sugar avocado mousse.
  • frozen yogurt bites made with plain Greek yogurt and berries.

How much potatoes can a diabetic eat? ›

Potatoes and diabetes

If your carb goal at a meal is 30 grams, for example, then you can eat 1 cup of mashed potato or 1 medium potato, if you choose.

What foods can lower blood sugar quickly? ›

Best foods that help lower and control blood sugar
  • Whole wheat bread.
  • Fruits.
  • Sweet potatoes and yams.
  • Oatmeal and oat bran.
  • Nuts.
  • Legumes.
  • Garlic.
  • Fatty fish.

Is honey good for diabetics? ›

Generally, there's no advantage to substituting honey for sugar in a diabetes eating plan. Both honey and sugar will affect your blood sugar level. Honey is sweeter than granulated sugar, so you might use a smaller amount of honey for sugar in some recipes.

How can I reverse prediabetes naturally? ›

Some people have successfully reversed prediabetes by modifying their diet and lifestyle.
  1. Eat a “clean” diet. ...
  2. Exercise regularly. ...
  3. Lose excess weight. ...
  4. Stop smoking. ...
  5. Eat fewer carbs. ...
  6. Treat sleep apnea. ...
  7. Drink more water. ...
  8. Work with a dietitian nutritionist.
5 Jun 2020

Can Prediabetics eat potatoes? ›

The best diet for prediabetes helps you lose extra weight and lower blood sugar. Potatoes can be part of that diet if you eat them in moderation, cook them in healthy ways, and eat them with nutritious foods.

Is Sweet Potato good for diabetics? ›

Are there benefits to eating sweet potatoes if you have diabetes? When eaten in moderation, all kinds of sweet potatoes are healthy. They're very high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and can safely be included in a diabetes-friendly diet.

What causes blood sugar to rise without eating? ›

Coffee—even without sweetener. Some people's blood sugar is extra-sensitive to caffeine. Losing sleep—even just one night of too little sleep can make your body use insulin less well. Skipping breakfast—going without that morning meal can increase blood sugar after both lunch and dinner.

Is coffee good for diabetics? ›

Some studies suggest that drinking coffee — whether caffeinated and decaffeinated — may actually reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, however, the impact of caffeine on insulin action may be associated with higher or lower blood sugar levels.

How many boiled eggs can a diabetic eat? ›

They found that eating six to 12 eggs per week had no impact on cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose or insulin levels for people with diabetes.

Are bananas OK for prediabetes? ›

A person with diabetes needs to carefully consider the contents of each meal. While fruits and vegetables contain a wide range of essential nutrients, some can cause blood sugar spikes. For the most part, eating bananas in moderation is safe for people with diabetes.

What time of day is blood sugar highest? ›

The dawn phenomenon, also called the dawn effect, is the term used to describe an abnormal early-morning increase in blood sugar (glucose) — usually between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. — in people with diabetes.

How long does it take cinnamon to lower blood sugar? ›

The addition of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon to the diet led to significant decreases in serum glucose levels after 40 days.

What happens when you drink lemon juice for 7 days? ›

Lemon consumption has been found to reduce stress levels and improve moods. If you drink lemon water for a week, your improved energy levels will combine with the natural stress relief properties of lemon juice and result in optimum and controlled mood levels.

Does ginger lower blood sugar? ›

Ginger supplementation significantly reduced the levels of fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c, apolipoprotein B, apolipoprotein B/apolipoprotein A-I and malondialdehyde in ginger group in comparison to baseline, as well as control group, while it increased the level of apolipoprotein A-I (p<0.05).

What can diabetics drink other than water? ›

What You Can Drink, Besides Water, When You Have Diabetes
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  • Sweet Tea. ...
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  • Chai Latte. ...
  • Lemonade. ...
  • Hot Chocolate. ...
  • Apple Cider. ...
  • Energy Drinks.
11 Jan 2022

How much water should a diabetic drink daily? ›

Drinking water not only fights dehydration, it can also help your body get rid of excess glucose. If you're living with diabetes, you should drink plenty of fluids — about 1.6 liters (L) or 6.5 cups per day for women; and 2 L or 8.5 glasses per day for men.

How fast can you reverse prediabetes? ›

Losing weight and reversing prediabetes can take anywhere from a few weeks, to a few months, to a few years, but the window of time to reverse prediabetes after a diagnosis is between 2-6 years – so you have time!

How can I reverse my prediabetes at 3 months? ›

Some people have successfully reversed prediabetes by modifying their diet and lifestyle.
  1. Eat a “clean” diet. ...
  2. Exercise regularly. ...
  3. Lose excess weight. ...
  4. Stop smoking. ...
  5. Eat fewer carbs. ...
  6. Treat sleep apnea. ...
  7. Drink more water. ...
  8. Work with a dietitian nutritionist.
5 Jun 2020

Can prediabetes be reversed permanently? ›

It's common. And most importantly, it's reversible. You can prevent or delay prediabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes with simple, proven lifestyle changes.

How long does it take for prediabetes to turn into diabetes? ›

Without taking action, many people with prediabetes could develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. With numbers like that, it's important to learn about prediabetes and take action. Take our online test to find out if you are at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Can prediabetes eat rice? ›

The bottom line. People with any type of diabetes can consume rice in small quantities. Maintaining a balanced diet is key. If you have prediabetes, you should also watch your intake of rice and try to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

How long does it take cinnamon to lower blood sugar? ›

The addition of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon to the diet led to significant decreases in serum glucose levels after 40 days.

Does stress cause prediabetes? ›

Stress alone doesn't cause diabetes. But there is some evidence that there may be a link between stress and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Our researchers think that high levels of stress hormones might stop insulin-producing cells in the pancreas from working properly and reduce the amount of insulin they make.

Is oatmeal good for prediabetes? ›


This may help prevent spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels. Eating fiber-rich foods like oatmeal throughout the day may make it easier for people with diabetes to keep their blood sugar stable.

How do you lower your blood sugar immediately? ›

When your blood sugar level gets too high — known as hyperglycemia or high blood glucose — the quickest way to reduce it is to take fast-acting insulin. Exercising is another fast, effective way to lower blood sugar.
Eat a consistent diet
  1. whole grains.
  2. fruits.
  3. vegetables.
  4. lean proteins.

What does being pre diabetic feel like? ›

Prediabetes doesn't usually have any signs or symptoms. One possible sign of prediabetes is darkened skin on certain parts of the body. Affected areas can include the neck, armpits and groin.

Can Prediabetics eat fruit? ›

Enjoy fruit in moderation

Fruit is a natural source of sugar that you can enjoy in moderation. “Limit portion size to one cup or less at a time,” Zumpano says. And choose lower-sugar fruits, like berries and kiwi, most often.

How do you reset your pancreas? ›

The pancreas can be triggered to regenerate itself through a type of fasting diet, say US researchers. Restoring the function of the organ - which helps control blood sugar levels - reversed symptoms of diabetes in animal experiments. The study, published in the journal Cell, says the diet reboots the body.

Does prediabetes affect your eyes? ›

Your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes when you have prediabetes. This can cause retinopathy, which specifically means structural changes to the eye that can result in loss of vision. Having retinopathy is the most critical predictor for vision loss.

Do all pre diabetics become diabetic? ›

Not everyone with prediabetes will go on to develop diabetes. Over the short term (three to five years), about 25% of people with prediabetes develop full-blown diabetes. The percentage is significantly larger over the long term.

What meats can a prediabetic eat? ›

4. Eat lean meats and other proteins
  • beans and legumes.
  • soybean products, such as tofu and tempeh.
  • low fat Greek yogurt.
  • eggs.
  • chicken.
  • turkey.
  • fish, such as cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, tuna, and trout.
  • shellfish, such as crab, lobster, shrimp, and scallops.

Should I check my blood sugar if I am prediabetic? ›

Prediabetes doesn't always have symptoms, so it's important to get blood sugar levels tested, especially if you're at high risk. Losing weight, exercising regularly and eating healthy can reverse prediabetes and prevent Type 2 diabetes.


1. Reversing Type 2 diabetes starts with ignoring the guidelines | Sarah Hallberg | TEDxPurdueU
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