Blog Post

Preventing and Managing Prediabetes

March 27, 2018

Susan Pittman, RD, LD, CDE
When sugar enters the bloodstream after eating, the pancreas secretes insulin, which helps your body’s cells take in sugar.

While diabetes affects more than 30 million people in the U.S., another 84 million people have prediabetes, a condition that produces higher than normal blood sugar levels because the body no longer processes blood sugar properly. No signs or symptoms present themselves, but those with prediabetes have a good chance of progressing into type 2 diabetes.

The process of moving sugars from the bloodstream and into cells starts working improperly when an individual has prediabetes, much the way it does with type 2 diabetes. When sugar enters the bloodstream after eating, the pancreas secretes insulin, which helps your body’s cells take in sugar. With prediabetes, not enough insulin is made and high amounts of sugar remain in the bloodstream, causing high blood sugar.

Factors that increase the risk of developing prediabetes include dietary patterns, weight, inactivity, age, family history, sleep problems and age. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits can significantly help prevent or delay prediabetes, as well as progression to type 2 diabetes.

Managing weight and keeping the body healthy is essential to preventing prediabetes. A 40-minute brisk walk five times a week is an easy way to get some non-vigorous exercise. A standard meal should consist of 50 percent fruits and vegetables, 30 percent grains/starches and 20 percent protein. A variety of foods ensures necessary nutrients are entering the body. Liquids such as coffee, tea and water should be consumed regularly throughout the day to remain hydrated. Eating the correct portion sizes also helps to regulate and maintain weight. These amounts should be consumed every day:

  • Fruits – 1½ to 2½ cups
  • Vegetables – 2 to 3½ cups
  • Grains – 5 to 10 ounces
  • Protein – 5 to 7 ounces
  • Dairy – 3 cups
  • Oils – 5 to 8 teaspoons
  • Solid fats and added sugars – small amounts

Exercising and eating right are the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Doing so can be difficult, but dedication, taking precautions for safety and education can help prevent and manage prediabetes.

March 27, 2018, is American Diabetes Association Alert Day®, a one-day “wake-up” call for individuals to take a look at their risk for developing diabetes. Freeman Health System encourages people to take the one-minute type 2 diabetes risk test. The test can be found at

About Susan Pittman

Susan Pittman, RD, LD, CDE, leads the Freeman Health System Diabetes Education team. Certified through the National Certification Board of Diabetes Educators, she provides nutritional counseling to patients with diabetes and those at-risk of developing the disease. For more information, call Diabetes Education at 417.347.5700.