Question:

Hi, I am an LA Fitness Member for more than 10 years. I have a question regarding my health. Just recently I was diagnosed with prediabetes. I do not know how to control my sugar level. What do you think should I eat, how much sugar should I eat everyday, how do I know if I’m having enough sugar in my body? Your feedback would save my life because I am really losing a lot of weight. Thank you.

– Jo

Answer:

Thanks for reaching out, Jo. It’s great that you’re addressing your prediabetes (aka. impaired glucose tolerance) right away.

Though your diagnosis reflects higher than normal blood sugar, it will take balancing ALL your food to manage it. Here’s why: foods have a combination of macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, protein) that all impact blood sugar. Unless they have certain bonds which make them fibers, carbohydrate molecules directly break down into sugar through digestion. So even a sugar-free baked potato will raise blood sugar. The presence of protein and fat in the stomach will somewhat slow the digestion of carbohydrate at the same meal, thus reducing the rate of absorption and subsequent blood sugar rise. Adding sour cream and cheese to the potato will have a desirable blunting effect.

A meal of pasta and marinara is carbohydrate-rich and therefore a blood sugar booster. Reducing portions and adding a couple of meatballs or Parmesan cheese and fibrous broccoli makes for a more balanced meal that is likely to have a milder effect on blood sugar. That’s not to say that if you just load up on fat it will counteract sugar (sorry, ice cream). I’d stick with starches, fruit and fluid milk for the healthiest carbohydrates and avoid refined sugars. There is no minimum need for sugar, only for carbohydrates, and it’s recommended your daily intake is at least 130 grams.

Your take-home message is to avoid added sugars, balance your meals (complex carbohydrate/protein/fat) and increase activity to lower your blood sugar levels.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

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This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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