Six simple ways to prevent Type 2 Diabetes

The number of people in Dubai with diabetes is on the rise, a survey, which was conducted by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in collaboration with the Dubai Statistics Centre late last year showed that approximately 15.2% of the population (Emirati’s and expats included) are suffering from the disease, a rise of almost 4% since 2011, with another 11.3% that are not diagnosed and thousands more that are at risk of being diagnosed.

A huge percentage of these sufferers are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a condition in which your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or the insulin it does make doesn’t work properly, referred to as insulin resistance.This renders it ineffective in controlling blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes is often associated with an unhealthy lifestyle and is one that people can take steps to help avoid. Eating clean, keeping a healthy weight and being active can help reduce the risk. It’s a condition. Unlike type 1 diabetes, which tends to be genetic or when your own immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin, you can reduce the risk of developing type 2. 

Fit Squad DXB trainer Devinder Bains talks us through the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and as a result help to avoid type 2 diabetes.

1. Maintain a healthy weight

This is the most important way you can help stay free of type 2 diabetes, because it is often closely linked with being overweight. Reducing your waist circumference may help reduce the chances of developing type 2 diabetes – there is a direct link between waist size and diabetes. Men’s waists should not be more than 37in and women’s should stay below 31½in. Fit Squad DXB trainers can advise you on healthy eating as part of your training plan.

2. Cut down on sugary drinks

Type 2 diabetes is all about blood sugar. In the body, the hormone insulin helps the body use glucose in the blood to produce energy. In type 2 diabetes there isn’t enough insulin, or it doesn’t work properly, so sugar levels are less well controlled. Think about how much sugar you consume in your diet, it’s probably more than you think. One of the main culprits is fizzy drinks – one can of cola has around nine cubes of sugar in it. If you take sugar in hot drinks such as tea and coffee, it’s a good idea to cut down on the amount or cut it out altogether.

3. Eat complex carbohydrates

For more even blood-sugar levels, say no to white bread, white pasta and white rice. Choose healthier sources of carbohydrates, for example wholegrains, pulses and fruit and vegetables. Watch portion sizes, too.

4. Do regular exercise

Try to aim for exercising three or four times a week. This can include walking, swimming, taking the stairs rather than the lift. Ideally, you want to aim for exercise that raises your heart rate and this is best done under the watchful day of a personal trainer, who can also make working out varied and fun. 

5. Stop smoking

This can be one of the most difficult steps to take, but people with diabetes already have a higher risk of heart disease, which is in turn made higher if they smoke.
Heavy smokers, those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day, almost double their risk of developing diabetes when compared with non-smokers.

6. Cut down on alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol is dangerous for everyone, not just those with diabetes, however if you have type 2 diabetes you need to take extra care.  Alcoholic drinks can lead to raised blood sugar levels and contain a lot of calories which can contribute towards weight gain. Large amounts of alcohol can lead to hypoglycaemia which is serious if you have diabetes, especially if you are using insulin. Try to cut down by picking days of the week which are designated “alcohol-free” days. When you are drinking alcoholic drinks, sip and savour them to make them last longer and alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water.

Find out how our personal trainers can guide you to a suitable exercise and nutrition plan

Read next: Are you eating too much protein?

Devinder Bains