Can diabetes type 2 be delayed or prevented?

The early detection of diabetes is the key for prevention which could be accomplished through lifestyle modification, losing excess body weight, if obese, consuming healthy and well balanced meals, practicing regular exercise, and medication, if needed.

Are you at risk for diabetes?

Take the following “Diabetes Self Risk Assessment” test to find out.

Instruction: Complete the below questionnaire to estimate your risk for diabetes.

Preventive Action Plan of Pre-Diabetes

Following healthy diet, which includes:

  • Dividing the meals into small and frequent.
  • Limiting fried foods, fatty meals, sugary drinks, sweets, white bread, pastries, fatty meats, organ meats, sweetened cereals, butter, ghee, animal fat, full cream milk and its products, power drinks, and cream soups.
  • Including fiber-rich foods in the meals, such as whole wheat bread, whole grains and cereals, fruits, and vegetables, legumes (such as lentils, beans and hummus). Fiber-rich foods have lower impact on blood sugar than fiber free foods. Carbohydrate foods having low impact on blood sugar are called foods with “low glycemic index” foods, such as oat, barley, non-fat or low fat milk or butter milk or yogurt, pasta, fruits and vegetables. But the carbohydrate foods that have high impact on blood sugar, such as white bread, sweets, pastries, honey, jam; sugary drinks are called “high glycemic index” foods and are recommended to be limited.
  • Replacing full cream milk and its products with low fat or nonfat milk and its products, in order to reduce fat, cholesterol and calories intake.
  • Baking or grilling or steaming foods than frying, in order to reduce fat and calories intake.
  • Selecting lean cuts of meat, skinless poultry and sea food than fatty meat, processed and canned meat, such as sausages.
  • Using healthy oils in food preparation, such as olive oil, canola oil, and corn oil, sunflower oil, than butter, ghee, animal fat, coconut oil or palm oil. Healthy oils should be used in moderation.
  • Limiting salt and salty foods, such as olives, pickles, ketchup, chips, sauces and dressings. Herbs, spices, garlic, onion, lemon or lime can be used to add taste and flavor to foods rather than adding salt.
  • Limiting foods rich in cholesterol, such as egg yolk, butter, animal fat, cream, brains and organ meats, such as liver, kidneys and hearts.

Weight loss:

Losing weight for overweight or obese people, by following 1200 calories diet for obese females (excluding pregnant or lactating women) and 1500 calories diet for obese males. “My Plate” approach can be used for weight management diets.

No Smoking:

People at risk for pre-diabetes should avoid smoking (active and passive).

Importance of exercise:

Practicing regular and moderate activity such as brisk walking for 30-45 minutes a day (150 minutes a week, minimum).


Checking blood sugar regularly, and as advised by doctors, in addition to checking blood pressure and lipids.

Nutrition Plan for Diabetics People


Nutrition is the cornerstone for managing diabetes and preventing its complications.

Meal planning for diabetes is a healthy way of eating of well balanced and nutritious meals that support maintaining their health and blood sugar level with normal range.

It is important diabetic people to maintain their body weight within the healthy range and keep their blood pressure and lipids level within the recommended range. This will reduce their risk for kidney failure, heart disease and stroke.

Specifications of Diabetic People Nutrition Plan:

The meals are well balanced and support heart health, bone health, mental health and reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and osteoporosis

The meals are divided into three main and 3 snacks. This will help avoid low or high blood sugar levels.

The meals are low fat and low cholesterol.  They include low fat or nonfat milk, cheese, labnah, buttermilk and yogurt. The meals are also prepared by baking, roasting, grilling or steaming rather than frying.  This will help you cut down your total fat and caloric intake. Preparing the food by charcoal grilling is not recommended

The meals are moderate in salt content.  This will help you to control your blood pressure.

The meals are rich in fiber. Fiber is found in whole grains and cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables and legumes.  Fiber improves blood sugar and lipids level, reduces your risks for constipation and cancer and makes you feel full.

The meals contain less amount of refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, jam, honey, sweets, syrup, white flour and pastries.

The meals do not contain alcohol

My Plate:

‘My Plate’ is an easy way to use for your meal planning. It helps you to choose healthy foods in the right amount. ‘My Plate’ includes whole grains, lean meat, low fat or nonfat dairy products, fruits and vegetables.  The carbohydrates in the meals are slow digesting and called complex, and they don’t raise the blood sugar quickly.

  1. Fill 1/4th of your plate with non-starchy and colorful vegetables, such as: spinach, carrots, lettuce, greens, cabbage, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onion, cucumber, okra, mushrooms, and green pepper. Steam or grill the vegetables than frying
  2. Fill 1/4th of your plate with fruits, in particular the ones with bright colors, such as orange, apple, banana, grapefruit, grapes, watermelon, sweet melon, kiwi, 2-3 dates.  Chose whole fruits with its edible skin than fruit juices or canned in syrup
  3.  Fill 1/4th of your plate with whole grains, such as whole wheat bread, or rice, or potatoes or pasta or cooked legumes, such as lentils or beans or peas. 
  4. Fill 1/4th of your plate with lean meat or skinless poultry or fish or tuna. Trim the fat before and after cooking.
  5. Add one serving of low fat or nonfat dairy product such as milk, laban (buttermilk) or yogurt. Low fat or nonfat dairy products are preferred than full cream as they contain less saturated fat, cholesterol and calories. Dairy products are good for your bone health.
  6. As desired: Add nonfat soup, caloric-free sauces unsweetened drinks, spices and herbs.
  7. Drink water and keep hydrated. This will help you avoid dehydration and constipation.

Sample Meals:


  • Whole wheat grains or bread or unsweetened cereals (hot or cold)
  • Fresh fruits or dried or unsweetened fruit juice
  • Low fat cheese or labnah or eggs (consume the egg yolk 3-4 times a week only)
  • Low fat or nonfat milk (one cup)
  • Green vegetables or tomatoes or cucumber (one cup)
  • One serving of healthy oil (such as olive oil or corn oil or canola oil)
  • Coffee or Tea (preferred decaffeinated)


  • Low fat or fat free soup such as vegetable soup
  • Whole wheat grains or bread or pasta or potatoes or rice
  • Fresh fruits or dried or unsweetened fruit juice
  • Lean meat (lamb or beef) or skinless poultry or seafood
  • Low fat or nonfat milk (one cup)
  • Vegetables (cooked or raw) (one cup)
  • Coffee or Tea (preferred decaffeinated)
  • One serving of healthy oil (such as olive oil or corn oil or canola oil)


The food items at your dinner meal are the same at lunch meal. You can replace the low fat milk with butter milk or yogurt and introduce cooked legumes such as beans or lentils any place of your meat dish, but you should reduce the amount of the carbohydrates at your meal, as legumes contain carbohydrates while meats do not.


Snacks are recommended to be consumed between the main meals (between breakfast and lunch meals, between lunch and dinner meals and at bed time). They should be healthy and include the following items and consult the nutrition expert on the portion sizes of these items:

  • Whole wheat grains or bread or unsweetened cereals (hot or cold)
  • Fresh fruits or dried or unsweetened fruit juice
  • Low fat cheese or labnah or eggs or lean meat or skinless poultry or fish
  • Low fat or nonfat milk (one cup)
  • Green vegetables or tomatoes or cucumber (one cup)
  • Coffee or Tea (preferred decaffeinated)

Carbohydrate Servings:

Carbohydrates are found in the following food groups:

  1. Milk (includes butter milk and yogurt)
  2. Starches (such as rice or potato or pasta or bread or cereals)
  3. Fruits (such as fresh or dried or juice)
  4. Vegetables (such as starchy items)
  5. Simple carbohydrates (such as jam or honey or sugar or syrup or sweets)

The nutrition expert will help you select the best carbohydrate food items at your meals and snacks. It is better to select the healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains and cereals, and whole fruits than refined carbohydrates such as white bread or sweetened cereals or jam or fruit juices.

The carbohydrate contents for the above five groups is approximately 15 grams per serving.

Food Groups Servings Examples
Whole Grains1 serving § 1 slice (1 oz./30 grams) Whole (no need to specify if its write or whole) Wheat Bread § ½ cup oatmeal § ¾ cup dry cereal § 1/2 cup cooked pasta § 1/3 cup steamed rice § ½ cup of Harees and Jareesh
Starchy Vegetables 1 serving § ½ cup corn § ½ cup peas and lentils § 1 medium (3 oz.) baked potato § ½ cup mashed potato
Non-Starchy Vegetables1 serving 1 cup raw or half cup cooked such as tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, spinach, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, okra, eggplant and zucchini
Fruits1 serving § 1 small banana § 1 ½ cup of sweet melon cubes § 15 medium size grapes or 10 large § 1 small orange or apple or pear § ½ cup of canned fruits § 3 pieces of dates § ½ cup of unsweetened fruit juice (orange, apple, pineapple or grapefruit juice)
Milk1 serving § 1 cup of low fat or nonfat milk or butter milk § ½ cup of flavored milk § ¾ cup of low fat or nonfat yogurt
ProteinProteins do not contain carbohydratesExamples of lean proteins are (lean meat, skinless poultry, seafood, low fat cheese, low fat labnah or eggs.
Fats1 serving is 1 teaspoonOils do not affect blood sugar but it is important to use them in moderation. Use healthy oils such as canola oil or corn oil or sunflower oil or olive oil rather than animal fat or butter or ghee or palm oil or coconut oil. Animal fat increases blood cholesterol level and increases the risks for heart attacks and cholesterol. Remember not to overheat oil and use olive oil for cold dishes. High temperature turns olive oil into unhealthy. Nuts and seeds are part of fat group. Almonds and walnuts are rich in omega-3 that is good for your brain and for your immunity and heart health. Select unsalted nuts or seeds and consume them in moderation and as part of the fat group on your meals.
Others1 servingThis group includes sweets, biscuits, jam, syrup, honey, ice cream, and sugar. Simple carbohydrates in this group are mostly poor in vitamins and minerals and do not contain fiber or antioxidants. These foods should be consumed on occasions and calculated within the carbohydrate allowance for the meals or snacks.

Points to Remember:

  • Check with your doctor and nutrition expert on the portions size of whole wheat grains or bread or rice or pasta or potato on your meals. Do not exceed your allowance of carbohydrate at your meals. The more carbohydrate you        consume, the higher your blood sugar is.
  • Whole grains and cereals are better for your blood sugar and health than white bread and other refined carbohydrates such as jam or sugar or honey or sweetened biscuits or crackers. Whole grains and cereals provide your body with       fiber, vitamins and minerals that are necessary for your health.
  • Check your blood sugar before and after your meals. Make sure it is within normal range. Contact your doctor in case of higher levels of blood sugar.
  • Whole fruits are better for your health than fruit juice or canned fruits and syrup.
  • Limit your intake of fatty or canned or processed meats such as corned beef or  sausages. Trim the fat before and after cooking and remove the skin of the poultry.
  • Prepare your meals by low fat cooking methods, such as baking or steaming or grilling rather than frying. Avoid charcoal grilling method.
  • Only carbohydrates affect your blood sugar. Protein fruits such as meat or chicken or eggs and oils do not affect your blood sugar level.
  • Consume your meals and snacks regularly according to the plan you discussed  with your doctors and nutrition expert. The plan is set according to your medication and exercise.
  • Limit your consumption of foods rich in cholesterol such as egg yolk, liver, brains,  kidneys, fatty meat, and sausages. High cholesterol level in the blood is a risk  factor for stroke and heart disease.
  • Read food label and select low calorie, low fat and low salt products. Read the  carbohydrate amount and learn about the serving size.
  • Avoid purchasing foods that contain Transfat such as fries, crackers, biscuits, chips. Transfat are harmful for your heart and your brain and increase your risk of  heart diseases, stroke and cancer.

Other Important Tips:

  • Avoid smoking (active or passive) and alcohol.
  • Practice exercise regularly and moderately, such as daily brisk walking for 30-45  minutes.
  • Carry your diabetic identification card with you all times and include your full  name and address in it in addition to your doctor’s name and address and your  medications.
  • Carry a source of simple carbohydrates (such as fruit juice or few pieces of dates or cubes of sugar) with you all times to be used in case of low blood sugar event.
  • Take your medication as advised by your doctor.
  • Practice safety and take care of your skin, teeth and feet.

Tips to reduce the risks for Diabetes Complications

Diabetes complications are serious and affect the life of diabetic people. The complications include heart diseases, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and other vision problems, impairment of the nervous system, poor blood circulation, feet amputation, poor healing of wounds, sexual dysfunction, etc.  But too many studies proved that the complications can be avoided or reduced significantly by the following:

Maintaining the blood sugar within the normal range by following the proper diet, taking the medications as advised by the doctors, practicing exercise and monitoring of blood sugar regularly and discussing the results with the doctors. The proper diets includes consuming well balanced meals that include complexes carbohydrates (such as whole grains and cereals, fruits and vegetables, low fat or nonfat milk products), lean meat or skinless poultry, sea food, healthy oils and include all the needed vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and fluids. The meals should be distributed over three main meals and three snacks.

Losing weight, if obese, as weight loss improves blood sugar, blood pressure and blood lipids and leads to better quality of life for diabetic people.

Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels within the normal ranges. This can be achieved by following the proper low salt , low fat and low cholesterol diets, losing weight if obese, practicing regular exercise, avoidance of smoking (active and passive), avoidance of alcohol, taking the medications as prescribed by the doctors, and monitoring of blood pressure and lipids frequently and discussing the results with the doctors.

Avoidance of smoking (active and passive) and alcohol, as they are major risk factors for heart disease, cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, feet amputation and other serious illnesses.

Practicing regular exercise. Exercise supports achieving the healthy body weight, keeping the blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar within the recommended ranges and reduces stress. Practicing regular and moderate exercise, such as daily or five days a week brisk walking for 30-45 minutes has too many benefits for the body.

Getting sufficient sleep and managing stress, as lack of sleep and high level of stress lead to more eating, possible weight gain and poor compliance with exercise program and medications, and eventually an elevation of blood sugar level.

Making the required tests and seeing the doctors regularly help prevent many complications and support early intervention. The tests and exams include eyes, blood pressure, feet, teeth, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood sugar.

Taking the vaccination, as advised by the doctors, to reduce the risk of infection.

Guide to Healthy and Heart Friendly Food

Your heart health is very important for you, as it will help you have better quality of life, avoid complications, hospital admission and avoid you many serious health problem.

The below nutrition guide will help you to select your heart friendly foods or have or at restaurants, but it’s important to remember the following important points for your health:

  1. Avoid obesity and lose weight, if obese.
  2. Check your blood sugar and blood pressure and maintain them within the recommend ranges.
  3. Maintain your blood cholesterol within the recommended range.
  4. Avoid smoking (active or passive).
  5. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
  6. Practice exercise regularly and moderately. Avoid vigorous exercise such as weight lifting until you get the advice from your doctor.
  7. Consume healthy low fat food that is rich in fiber, antioxidant such as fruits, vegetable, whole grains, cereals and legumes. Ensure that the food contains less salt and less fat.

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