Health Team

Harvard experts: To avoid Type 2 diabetes, watch diets

Posted March 1, 2016 9:12 a.m. EST
Updated March 1, 2016 9:17 a.m. EST

Many people are at risk for Type 2 diabetes, but they might not know it.

Doctors say the disease can be avoided, though, by eating better.

The "Harvard Health Beat" offers great tips for simply re-thinking the food and drinks in everyday diets.

Those choices can have a dramatic impact on the risk of diabetes.

Some foods to avoid:

– Drinks, such as soda, sweet tea and even fruit juices, are high in sugar. Women who drink two or more sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day have a 24 percent higher risk of developing diabetes compared to women who sip less than one per month

– Red meat and processed meats increase the risk of diabetes. Women who eat the most red meat, about one serving per day, have about a 20 percent higher risk of diabetes than women who only eat one serving per week.

– Men who eat processed meats like hot dogs, bacon and lunch meats five times a week are nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes than men who eat such foods just twice a month.

– Trans Fat is also linked to higher risk of both diabetes and heart disease.

– Limit high glycemic foods like rice, pasta, potatoes and bread.

Limiting the risk:

There are foods that people should avoid, but some foods might actually help lower the risk for diabetes.

– Men and women who eat high-fiber foods, such as whole grains in cereals, breads and other grains, have up to a 40 percent lower risk of diabetes.

– Coffee has great benefits if it doesn't have lots of sugar and cream.

– Moderate alcohol consumption may decrease the risk, but for many people the risks of alcohol abuse are something that need to be considered.

– Eating nuts, such as almonds, peanuts and cashews, at least five times a week is associated with decreased risk of diabetes, but they are heavy in calories.

See a doctor regularly, or participate in free health screenings to get blood sugar checks.