Good and Bad For Diabetes

Here is a summary of foods and other habits that are good or bad for diabetes.

  • According to a recent Harvard study, foods rich in magnesium such as whole grains, nuts, and green-leafy vegetables provide a measure of protection against type 2 diabetes.


  • Even though chickpeas are a major staple in many parts of the world, its health properties are less known than soybeans. The consumption of a chickpea-based meal produced lower serum insulin levels and an improved insulin sensitivity compared to a whole wheat cereal-based meal of equal carbohydrate loading.
  • In a Harvard study, the frequent consumption of processed meat was associated with a 46 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • In the Nurses’ Health Study, the type of fat consumed (but not the total fat intake) influenced the risk of type 2 diabetes. Researchers estimated that substituting about 5% of your calories from saturated fat or 2% of your calories from trans fatty acids (found in hydrogenated vegetable oils) with equal amounts of polyunsaturated fat could reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 35 to 40%.
  • In the Nurses’ Health Study, those with the highest intake of whole grains had a 43 percent lower risk of stroke and 38% lower risk of diabetes compared to those with the lowest intake of whole grains.
  • A modest amount of sustained weight loss can substantially reduce the risk of diabetes in overweight individuals. Middle-aged individuals who lost 1 lb/year for 8 years, then kept the weight off for another 8 years, reduced their risk of diabetes between 37 and 62 percent. Those who lost 1 lb/year for 16 years lowered their risk of diabetes up to 82 percent.
  • Cinnamon contains a methylhydroxychalcone compound and other active substances that greatly increase the glucose metabolism of fat cells. The effectiveness of cinnamon to prevent type 2 diabetes is the subject of active research.
  • The risk of type 2 diabetes in older women was found to be 22 to 23 percent lower for those consuming a high intake of dietary fiber and whole grains compared with those having a low intake.
  • Researchers in Dallas found that men with type 2 diabetes who were unfit were twice as likely to die from heart disease and 2.4 times as likely to die of cancer than those who exercised regularly.
  • Rates of diabetes worldwide are expected to double in the next 10 years. Type 2 or adult-onset diabetes is now showing up in adolescents. Studies suggest that over 80 percent of diabetes is due to overweight and obesity. Worldwide obesity rates are soaring and in the United States obesity has increased 30 percent over the past 10-15 years. Physical activity, whole-grain foods, and high fiber fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of diabetes. Studies have shown all these to be protective factors.

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