Diet For Prediabetes And High Cholesterol

Diet For Prediabetes And High Cholesterol

The fast pace of life, technology and a constant sense of competition has certainly taken a toll upon the health of population. Considering the current health issues owing entirely to the lifestyle changes, the term “lifestyle disorders” was recognized in the recent past.

Some Reasons for these Lifestyle Disorders are
  • Stress
  • Sedentary Habits
  • Poor or Inadequate Sleep
  • Having An Unbalanced Diet
  • Fast Food/ Junk Foods
  • Increase in Night Life Culture
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Abuse of Drugs, Stimulants and Alcohol

Lifestyle disorders are chronic diseases. They are an outcome of one or more of the above mentioned unhealthy choices. Yet, they are preventable and relatively reversible by simply adapting to a diet for prediabetes and high cholesterol levels.

Pre-diabetes and high cholesterol too come under the umbrella of lifestyle disorders. Although they are not a disease in themselves, timely recognition of faulty habits and a slight change in diet and regimen to correct these habits go a long way in preventing more serious diseases.

Relationship Between Prediabetes and High Cholesterol

  • Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder in which there is impaired metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates because of impaired or improper secretion of insulin.
  • Insulin is the key component in lipid metabolism and also plays an important role in clearing the “bad cholesterol” or "low-density lipoproteins".
  • Diabetes tends to lower HDL or and increases the level of triglycerides and LDL in the blood. This condition is called Diabetic Dyslipidemia.
  • Dyslipidemia associated with type-II diabetes is a common finding in about 72-85% of patients. It is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
  • Insulin resistance and hyperglycemia are known to hamper fat metabolism in the body. This leads to atherosclerosis causing blockages.

What Is Prediabetes?

  • Pre-diabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar levels are above normal values but not high enough to be termed as diabetes.
  • There are no specific signs and symptoms for prediabetes. A lot of people having pre-diabetes are not even aware of it until it comes up on a routine blood examination.

Prediabetes can be Identified by These Parameters

100-126 mg/dL
Blood glucose – fasting 
140-200 mg/dL
Blood glucose (post-prandial)
  • Diabetes is termed as a “Modern Day Epidemic” by the World Health Organization. 80% of deaths globally occurring due to diabetes belong to developing or under-developed countries.
  • Every 5th person having diabetes in the world is an Indian. India has been termed as the “Diabetic Capital of the World”.
  • According to statistics from the American Diabetes Association, about 86 million (37%) U.S adults aged 20 years or more have pre-diabetes. Out of these individuals, only 11% were aware that they had pre-diabetes.

Risk Factors For Developing Prediabetes

  1. Waist circumference more than 35 inches in females and more than 40 inches in males.
  2. BMI of more than or equal to 25.
  3. The family history of diabetes mellitus
  4. Known case of hypertension

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a group of fats or lipoproteins. The human body produces High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) or “Good Cholesterol”, Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) “Bad Cholesterol” and triglycerides from the food that we eat. Similar to pre-diabetes, high blood cholesterol does not have any specific signs and symptoms and is usually an accidental finding on routine examination.

Total Cholesterol Levels

Less than 200 mg/dL
200-239 mg/dL
Borderline high
More than 240 mg/dL

Low Density Lipoprotein Levels

Less than 100 mg/dL
100-129 mg/dL
Near optimal
130-159 mg/dL
Borderline high
160-189 mg/dL
More than 190 mg/dLVery high

High Density Lipoprotein Levels

Less than 40 mg/dL
More than 60 mg/dL

Triglyceride Levels

150-190 mg/dL
Borderline high
More than 200 mg/dL

A high LDL is associated with a higher risk for having coronary artery disease; whereas, high HDL is associated with a low risk for having coronary artery diseases. Excess cholesterol causes blockage of arteries and other blood vessels.

Risk Factors For having High Blood Cholesterol Levels

  1. Cholesterol levels tend to rise with age in both men and women.
  2. Cholesterol levels are significantly higher among overweight or obese individuals.
  3. Genetic factors and family history
  4. Diet rich in saturated fats.
  5. Being overweight
  6. Physical inactivity
  7. Cigarette smoking

Diet For Pre-diabetes and High Cholesterol:

  1. Sweetened Drinks: Avoid or cut down on soft drinks and juices. Prefer having calorie-free drinks like water, coconut water, infused water, lemon water or the likes.
  2. Low Calorie Foods: Substitute high calorie foods like potato chips, burgers, oily snacks and bakery products with low-calorie foods like sugar-free biscuits, oatmeal cookies, soups, nuts or salads.
  3. Beverages: Substitute your tea and coffee with sugar-free ones. You can opt for healthier beverages like green tea or apple cider vinegar instead.
  4. Food Timings: Avoid keeping large gaps between meals. You can have a fruit or some nuts. Doing this prevents extremely low-sugar levels between meals and extremely high sugar level after a meal.
  5. Food Servings: Instead of having 3 large meals at long intervals. Reduce the portion of your meals and divide it into 3-4 smaller meals. This makes sure that you’re full at all times even in between meals.
  6. Whole grains: Opt for whole grains and brown bread instead of white rice and white bread.
  7. Cooking: Deep-frying or pan-frying needs a lot of oil. Instead bake, boil, steam, grill or roast food. For cooking, choose oils like peanut, canola, olive oil and soft non-hydrogenated margarine. These oils help in lowering LDL.
  8. Non Vegetarian Foods: Prefer fist at least twice a week. This provides the necessary omega-3 fatty acids. Choose lean skinless meat over red meat.
  9. Foods Affecting Cholesterol: Organ meats, egg yolks and full-fat dairy products should be avoided.
  10. Fiber: natural sources of fiber like oats, fruits like oranges and pears, vegetables and sprouts should be included in diet. These aids in proper digestion of food.
  11. Processed Foods: Avoid processed and preserved foods. Substitute those with fresher ones. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain essential anti-oxidants which remove free radicals from the blood and lowers the risk of coronary artery diseases.
  12. Exercise: Recommendations for physical exercise in pre-diabetic adults is 150 minutes or more/week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Exercise has a positive impact on improved lipid levels, lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels, reduces the risk of coronary artery diseases.
  13. Losing Weight: Incidence of diabetes is higher among people having central obesity. Losing weight also reduces low-density lipoproteins. A minimum duration of 30 minutes of physical activity is desirable on most days if not all. 

Also, limit usage of alcohol and cigarettes and avoid adding extra sugar to foods. Keeping yourself well hydrated is the most essential part of following a diet. Water helps to flush out toxins from the body. It is important to make note of changes in body weight, blood sugars (if measured at home), calorie intake and daily exercise time as a means of keeping follow up.

These guidelines above will give you a brief idea about what changes you can make in your daily diet and habits as measures towards self-improvement. Adapting to a new diet for pre-diabetes and high cholesterol can be a sudden change and difficult to adapt for many people.

It is also difficult for each person to follow the exact same diet for prediabetes and high cholesterol and that’s the reason you need to visit a nutritionist to get a tailor-made diet plan and even recipes suiting your needs and preferences.