Be cautious of warning signs of pre-diabetes

Diabetes — the diagnosis is becoming increasingly common and so is the diagnosis for pre-diabetes.

If your fasting blood glucose — also called blood sugar — is between 100 and 125 milligrams per deciliter, you have pre-diabetes. If your fasting blood glucose is 126 or more on two occasions, you already have diabetes.

Does diabetes run in your family? Do you have a parent, grandparent, brother or sister who has diabetes? If so, you are at high risk for getting the disease. In fact, you may already have pre-diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is a condition where the blood sugar or blood glucose is higher than normal.

These high readings are your body’s way of warning you to take action to protect yourself from diabetes. People who have pre-diabetes tend to develop diabetes within 10 years unless they change how they eat and exercise. They are also more likely to have a heart attack or stroke even if they never get diabetes.

A research study called the Diabetes Prevention Trial showed that people who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight and started walking five or more days a week for 35 minutes a day reduced their risk for diabetes by 58 percent. Five to 7 percent is about 10 to 20 pounds for most people. That means you do not have to reach some “ideal” body weight in order to benefit.

Try some healthy tips enjoyed by those lean people you love to hate who rarely get diabetes.

Thin people usually eat a healthy breakfast. If you eat something in the morning, you kick up your ability to burn fat right away. Try a bowl of whole grain cereal with 1 percent or nonfat milk, some yogurt with fruit or toast and oatmeal.

Drink more water and fewer sweet drinks. Each can of soda has 9 teaspoons of sugar and about 150 empty calories. Give up one soft drink or glass of sweet tea a day and you could lose 10 pounds a year.

Consume three servings of low-fat or non-fat dairy products a day. Calcium may affect how we store fat.

Eat at least five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Many people think vegetables and fruits are expensive, but most cost less than $0.30 per serving. Get at least two servings of fruits and vegetables at each meal and two more servings as snacks during the day.

Choose whole grain breads and cereals more often.

A serving of whole grain bread, pasta or cereal is the size of the palm of a woman’s hand. Remember that you are cutting back, not out.

Cut the fat. A lot of fat is hidden in cheese, meat, whole milk, salty snacks, ice cream and desserts.

If you try the reduced fat varieties, check the nutrition label for the serving size and calories. Some reduced fat foods are similar in calories to the original foods, so they are not worth using. Cut back on the obvious fats. Just using one tablespoon less of butter or mayonnaise a day will save you 100 calories.

Move. Have you noticed that thinner people are always on the go?

Regular planned exercise for 30 minutes or more a day is important, but so are the incidental moves like walking to a restaurant for lunch, doing your own yard work and going upstairs to see someone instead of sending an e-mail.

Research has shown that people who watch more television and spend more time in front of the computer are more likely to be overweight.

To be thin, you’ve got to act thin. Adopt some of these habits and you may join the ranks of those thin, diabetes-free people before you know it.

For those who have diabetes or wish to prevent diabetes, the extension service is offering the Right Bite Diabetic Cooking School.

The free classes are being co-sponsored by Roche, the makers of Accu-Chek, and the Wellness Center. The three lesson series taught by nutrition specialists will address how to select and prepare foods that are low in sugar, fat and sodium.

Each class will feature one hour nutrition education and one hour of food demonstrations. Pre-registration is required; no walk-ins will be accepted. Class size is limited, so register early by calling 751-6338. You may register for one or all three classes.

Classes will be held at the Wellness Center from 1 to 3 p.m. on the following dates:

Ÿ May 1 — Sweeteners: Desserts for Special Occasions

Ÿ May 7 — Carbohydrates and Fiber: Friend or Foe

Ÿ June 4 — Portion Control: The Key to Diabetes Control

Jan Baggarly is Bibb County Extension Coordinator with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service working in the field of Family and Consumer Sciences.