Prediabetes and Food

Prediabetes and Food

Posted by PreDia on Jul 3rd 2024

A diagnosis of prediabetes should not be handled lightly as this is a warning that you are on the path of developing full on diabetes. However, there is a way to turn this warning around, by changing your diet
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Prediabetes and Food

What is Prediabetes

A diagnosis of prediabetes should not be handled lightly as this is a warning that you are on the path of developing full on diabetes. However, there is a way to turn this warning around, by changing your diet

The main thing that causes prediabetes is through insulin resistance. Eating foods that can produce high levels of insulin typically lead to this process. Refined sugars and carbohydrates, such as cookies, cakes, and fries, results in too much glucose in the blood and causes the pancreas to overproduce insulin.

The over production in insulin later leads to the cells rejecting the glucose which results in high levels of glucose in the bloodstream and causes further complications in the body.

Changing your diet can help to reverse prediabetes and will also help to lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Eating foods rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats and avoiding foods rich in refined carbohydrates and sugars will allow you to maintain a normal weight and healthy blood sugar levels. When it comes to health and fitness, moderation is key to achieving your optimal health goals.

There is no true "diet" when it comes to preventing diabetes, it is a matter of changing your lifestyle and gaining healthier habits in order to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

What is Prediabetes

Simple vs Complex vs Refined Carbohydrates

What is Prediabetes

Simple carbohydrates mean simple sugars. They are typically found in fruits and the body does not take long to break these down which leads to a quicker rise inblood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates are typically starchy foods such as whole grain bread and starchy vegetables. While they take longer to break down, they still raise blood sugar levels. These are the type of carbohydrates that should be consumed as they contain fiber and can make you feel full longer.

Lastly, refined carbohydrates (i.e., cakes, pastries, white breads, and pastas) are processed foods that start as being typical starches,but their fiber is stripped away. This in turn, causes the body to break these molecules down faster ultimately raising blood sugar levels quickly as well. These should be avoided or consumed in moderation.

What to Eat when Diagnosed with Prediabetes

There are a few tips that can be used to help implement healthier foods into your everyday lifestyle. One way is through the plate method. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) the plate method is the easiest way to make healthier meals that can help manage blood sugar levels. Below is the picture found on the ADA website that highlights the portions of each group of foods that is recommended.

What is Prediabetes

When looking at your plate, half of it should be filled with non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and more. When filling the other half of the plate, a quarter should consist of lean proteins such as, chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef, and lean pork.

The last quarter of the plate should consist of carbohydrates, especially ones that have a significant amount of fiber as well, such as brown rice, quinoa, oats/oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and other types of healthy carbohydrates. The drink portion is also important to consider as many people tend to drink liquids that contain a lot of sugar like sodas, coffee drinks, and juices.

If you have prediabetes, it is best to consider drinks with no calories and carbohydrates, such as water or unsweetened tea.

Here are foods to consider when changing your diet to lower your blood sugar and lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

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Non-starchy vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
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  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Fish (salmon, tilapia, cod, tuna, or swordfish)
  • Shellfish(shrimp, scallops, clams)
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  • Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats/oatmeal)
  • Starchy vegetables Acorn squash, butternut squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, plantain, pumpkins, yam
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fruits
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  • Nuts
  • Dairy (eggs, milk, cheese)
  • Avocados
  • Fatty fish (salmon)
  • Oils (canola, grapeseed, olive oil, avoid vegetable and peanut oils)
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  • Unsweetened tea and coffee (hot or cold)
  • Sparkling water/club soda
  • Flavored water without added sugar
  • Diet soda or other diet drinks
  • Water

Other considerations

  • Try considering low carbohydrate or low portion meals when eating out.
  • Try alternative foods that seem like carbohydrate foods (i.e., use cauliflower rice instead of regular white rice or cauliflower crust for pizza).
  • Try opting for non-sugary beverages when eating out.
  • Prepare meals and snacks ahead of time to prevent excessive snacking or unnecessary eating out.
  • Try opting for healthier sides (i.e., instead of a side of rice opt for a side of veggies).

What Not to Eat when Diagnosed with Prediabetes

There are many different types of foods that should be avoided whether diagnosed with prediabetes, diabetes, or even when healthy! The top ten foods and drinks to avoid are:

  • Genetics

    Sugary beverages

    (sodas, juice concentrates, anything that contains sucrose, dextrose, or fructose corn syrup).

  • Race

    Trans fats

    (margarines, creamers, frozen dinners, etc.) These types of foods have been shown to link to heart disease and the risk is higher in people with prediabetes and diabetes.

  • Gestational Diabetes

    White bread, rice, pasta, and anything consisting of white flour

    (i.e., cakes, pies, breads). These are considered refined carbohydrates and will raise blood sugar levels and also cause weight gain.

  • PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)

    Fruit-flavored variety foods

    (i.e., yogurts). Many times, these will say “naturally flavored” but these products actually have hidden added sugars that will raise blood sugar levels.

  • Age

    Breakfast cereals

    Many cereals are refined and contain a lot of carbohydrates and sugar with little to no nutritional value.

  • Overweight

    Flavored coffee drinks

    These contain plenty of sugar. Avoid them at all costs and try to opt for black coffee or coffee with sugar free creamer or almond milk.

  • Waist Size


    (honey, agave, and maple)

  • Sedentary Lifestyle

    Dried fruit

    (i.e., raisins). Fruit in general is good for you, but dried fruit is highly processed by the fact that water is taken out thus leaving high levels of sugar concentrate.

  • Poor Diet

    Packaged snack foods

    (chips, crackers, pretzels). These contain a high level of carbohydrates and fats thus leading to high amounts of sugar in the blood.

  • Sleep Apnea

    Fried foods

    Not only do fried foods contain high amounts of fat, but they also contain a lot of carbohydrates as many are fried with a flour-based batter.

Combination Meals

Lastly it is important to eat meals that are high in healthy fats, fiber, and proteins as well as low in carbohydrates to prevent excessive hunger and to help maintain blood sugar levels. When eating meals high in carbohydrates, especially those that are refined, blood sugar levels will spike causing an excess amount of insulin to appear in the bloodstream in order to remove the glucose. Once this process finishes, there tends to be a sudden “crash” where you might feel sluggish, tired, and may even become hungrier and angry or “hangry”.

This can sometimes occur within a short while after finishing meals. Therefore, lowering your intake in carbohydrates and sugar and adding in more healthy fats, fiber, and proteins will help to prevent those crashes and feelings from occurring. A good example of a meal would be a 4 oz grilled chicken breast with at least a cup of spinach, a half of a cup of quinoa and a tablespoon of low-fat dressing.

All in all, changes in your diet will ultimately lead to making healthier choices when you have prediabetes. You should try to avoid carbohydrates in general and try to consume them in moderation, but if you do eat them, make sure they are whole grain and contain plenty of fiber. Avoiding foods rich in refined carbohydrates and sugars and eating more foods consisting of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates will help to maintain normal blood sugar levels and prevent you from developing type 2 diabetes so that you may live a better, healthier life.

What is Prediabetes


1. Intechnic, H. (2020, February 01). What is the diabetes Plate Method? American Diabetes Association. Retrieved March 10, 2021, from,you%20need%20is%20a%20plate!

2. 15th January 2019 By Editor, & Editor. (2020, March 09). Carbohydrates are sugars that come in 2 main forms - simple and Complex. This is also referred to as simple sugars and starches. Retrieved March 10, 2021, from

3. Person. (2020, September 24). 11 foods and drinks to avoid if you have diabetes. Retrieved March 10, 2021, from

4. Prediabetes. Prediabetes | ADA. Accessed March 15, 2021.