According to the International Diabetes Federation, 415 million adults have diabetes. By 2040 this figure is expected to rise to 642 million. But the disease can be prevented by lifestyle changes.


Types of diabetes types:

The most common types of diabetes are:

  • Type I diabetes: Also known as juvenile diabetes, this type occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. People with type I diabetes are insulin-dependent, meaning that they must take artificial insulin daily to stay alive.


  • Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes affects the way the body uses insulin. While the body still makes insulin, the cells in the body do not respond to it as effectively as they once did. This is the most common type of diabetes commonly caused lack of exercise and eating a lot of sugar.


  • Gestational diabetes: This type occurs in some women during pregnancy when the body can become less sensitive to insulin. It usually resolves itself after giving birth.


Dietary recommendations to prevent diabetes (and even reverse it)

  • Eat less added sugars and processed foods – including refined grains like white flour and white rice, sugary drinks like sodas & juices. The best drinks are water, and tea or coffee without sugar.
  • Eat whole grains –These are grains that haven’t been stripped of nutrients. Examples are whole wheat, Sorghum, quinoa, corn, barley and brown rice.


  • Eat more fibre rich food –High-fibre foods include lentils, beans, chickpeas and peas.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables – At least half of our food intake every day should be non-starchy fruits and vegetables. Examples are broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and brussels sprouts, and high-fibre fruits like berries of all kinds.
  • Eat less meat, and avoid processed red meat – The less meat you eat, the lower your risk of diabetes. People who don’t eat red meat at all, but eat chicken, eggs, dairy, and fish, can significantly lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, by about 30%; those who eat only fish by 50%; those who eat only eggs and dairy by 60%; those who are vegan by 80%.
  • Eat healthier fats – Whilst fats are not necessarily bad, the type of fat you eat matters. Plant oils, such as extra-virgin olive oil and canola oil, carry less risk. Omega-3 fats found in walnuts, flax seeds, and some fish, are also recommended.

Saturated fats, particularly from meats, are associated with an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. Examples include meat fat or lard and chicken skin.


Signs of diabetes

1 in 11 people are living with diabetes but they don’t know they have it. Click here to test your knowledge of diabetes – http://discoverdiabetes.idf.org/


Sources: South African Government, Harvard Health Publishing & MedicalNewsToday.