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Diabetes Secrets That Really Work, Say Physicians

Here’s how to control diabetes, according to doctors.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

According to the CDC, 37.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and 96 million people have prediabetes. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1, which is also known as juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes, and type 2, which is largely lifestyle-related and develops over time. Left untreated, diabetes is linked to serious health conditions such as nerve damage, kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, and amputations. Here are five diabetes secrets that really work. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Weight Training

woman sitting with dumbbell at gym

There is growing evidence that weight training is highly effective at both preventing and managing type 2 diabetes: One paper from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that lifting weights could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by a third. "Until now, previous studies have reported that aerobic exercise is of major importance for type 2 diabetes prevention," says Anders Grøntved, visiting researcher in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH and a doctoral student in exercise epidemiology at the University of Southern Denmark. "But many people have difficulty engaging in or adhering to aerobic exercise. These new results suggest that weight training, to a large extent, can serve as an alternative to aerobic exercise for type 2 diabetes prevention."


Manage Your Stress

woman puts head down on desk, tired, stressed, burned out

Did you know stress levels impact blood sugar and diabetes? "Stress can make it more difficult to control your diabetes as it may throw off your daily routine and can result in wear and tear on your body," says the Cleveland Clinic. "Hormones from stress increase your blood pressure, raise your heart rate, and can cause blood sugar to rise. High blood sugar can make you feel down or tired. Low blood sugar may result in your feeling upset or nervous."

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Try a Mediterranean Diet

greek salad mediterranean diet

Following the Mediterranean Diet can help manage diabetes and lower the risk of obesity.

"Adherence to the Mediterranean diet may prevent the development of diabetes irrespective of age, sex, race or culture," says Demosthenes Panagiotakos, Ph.D., professor at Harokopio University, Athens, Greece. "This diet has a beneficial effect, even in high risk groups, and speaks to the fact that it is never too late to start eating a healthy diet."

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Stop Smoking

Woman looking displeased at a man smoking outdoor

According to the CDC, smokers have a 30% to 40% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to nonsmokers. "Studies have confirmed that when people with type 2 diabetes are exposed to high levels of nicotine, insulin (the hormone that lowers blood sugar levels) is less effective," the CDC explains. "People with diabetes who smoke need larger doses of insulin to control their blood sugar."

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Lose Some Weight

Woman measuring waist with tape standing in front of mirror.

Losing weight has a significant impact on type 2 diabetes, says Amy Hess-Fischl, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDE: "Absolutely, weight loss should be the number one goal for those newly diagnosed who are overweight. The need for weight reduction may not be pushed aggressively enough, but should be going forward… every recommendation is meant to aid in weight reduction and lead to a reduction in blood glucose, such as reducing portion sizes, eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages and juices, and adding physical activity. Small changes lead to small successes, which in turn increase the confidence needed for patients to continue to lose more weight."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan
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