Maintaining normal blood sugar levels for optimal functioning is a challenge for a growing number of people. It is estimated that more than one of every three Americans (and more than half of those age 65 years and older) have a condition called “prediabetes.” Those with “prediabetes” are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes (sometimes called “adult onset diabetes”).
A person’s blood sugar (blood glucose) levels normally move up and down depending on food intake, exercise, sickness, and stress. Health care providers take all these variations into account when considering test results and repeat laboratory tests for confirmation.
Blood Test Levels for Diagnosis of Diabetes & Prediabetes
|Non-Fasting Plasma Glucose|
|Fasting Plasma Glucose|
|Normal||Less than 140||Less than 100|
|Prediabetes||140 to 199||100 to 125|
|Diabetes||200 or greater||126 or above|
Both weight control and cutting back on carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates) are helpful in controlling blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of diabetes. Sweetened beverages between meals are especially problematic, because without modulating the effect of fiber, some protein and healthy fat (like avocado, nuts, seeds) at a meal, blood sugar levels rise rapidly.
Insulin is secreted in response to elevations in blood sugar, because insulin is needed to get the sugar from the blood into the cells where it is used for fuel. Losing excess stored fat decreases insulin resistance, which helps to normalize insulin levels. Chronically higher levels of insulin, which are associated with excess weight and with diets high in refined carbohydrates (especially sugar) favor fat storage. So it is a vicious cycle – more weight (especially around the waist) leads to chronically higher insulin levels and higher insulin levels favor fat storage.
You can control your blood sugar and reduce your risk of diabetes by
- Minimizing or avoiding sugar, refined grains, and starchy vegetables (especially potatoes)
- Choosing mainly higher-fiber carbohydrates that are low in glycemic load, like non-starchy vegetables and whole fruit (not including melons)
- Eating regular meals with some protein and healthy fat at each meal (to slow the blood sugar rise after a meal)
- Being physically active (to build and preserve muscle mass and to reduce fat mass, so you are less insulin resistant)
Even if you are watching your carbohydrate intake, you can still enjoy a serving of Rice Salad with BIG Color & STRONG Flavor. The fat and fiber in this recipe slow the digestion and absorption of the carbohydrate, so this recipe can be considered low in glycemic load.