Since a healthy lifestyle is an essential part of preventing and managing diabetes, the Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Senior Consultant – Endocrine and Diabetes, Dr Amin Ahmed Jayyousi, is stressing the importance of a good diet and daily exercise for those at risk of developing diabetes and its complications.   

Small lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your health. Moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, is enough to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and can help diabetics control their blood sugar.’

New research is also providing insight into the link between dietary choices and diabetes management as well as into the best ways to incorporate physical activity into daily life.

Dr Jayyousi explained:

Research has found that increasing caffeinated black coffee consumption by more than one cup a day can decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, consuming more than four cups of coffee a day is not recommended as it might have negative side effects on the health.’

Weight loss is an important factor in preventing and managing diabetes. Dr Jayyousi said:

If you’re overweight or obese, achieving a normal weight range is recommended. Losing just 5% to 10% of your total weight can help lower blood sugar considerably, as well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. We recommend both cardio and strength training for weight loss. Strength training is important for weight loss as it builds muscle mass, which is responsible for increasing your body’s total energy expenditure, even when you are not exercising.’

He added that while losing weight has many benefits, it should be done in a healthy manner by eating a balanced diet and incorporating physical activity into daily life. He added:

Diets that are restricted to a few food groups can have negative effects on your body. For example, diets that are high in protein are bad for preventing or managing diabetes as they decrease your body’s sensitivity to insulin, which leads to the development of type 2 diabetes.’

He mentioned that staying away from sugars completely and cutting down on carbs are common practices among people who are trying to lose weight, saying:

Carbs and sugars are part of a healthy and balanced diet, so individuals should choose healthy sugars and carbs instead of eliminating or cutting down on them.’

Dr Jayyousi explained that healthy sugars, like the ones contained in fruits, are not harmful for the body when compared to the ones in juices and candy.

He said:

Sugars from fruit don’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels but instead cause a very slight increase, keeping your blood sugar levels in balance. They provide your body with more energy, compared with juices and candy.’

Dr Jayyousi advised people with diabetes and those at high risk of developing the condition to incorporate physical activity into their daily life and maintain a healthy diet in order to avoid complications of the lifestyle disease.

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For more information on diabetes, including tips on how to eat a balanced diet and incorporating physical activity into your daily routine, and for details on the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices, visit the HMC Diabetes page.