Home|Blog | A Healthy Lifestyle Can Prevent Diabetes (and Even Reverse It)

The rate of type 2 diabetes is rapidly increasing around the world. Approximately 88 million American adults have prediabetes, which puts you at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Scary, but true: One in five people who have diabetes don’t even know they have it. Research suggests that a healthy lifestyle can prevent diabetes in the first place and even reverse it once someone has it.

Can a healthy diet and lifestyle prevent diabetes?

“If we know an unhealthy diet and lifestyle can cause type 2 diabetes, can adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle prevent it?” asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The answer turned out to be yes. Twenty years of medical research proves the majority of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes can be prevented through diet and lifestyle changes.

Researchers from the DPP gave people at risk for type 2 diabetes a 24-week diet and lifestyle intervention. This 16-class diet and lifestyle intervention was extremely effective. Even after three years, the diet and lifestyle group had a 58% lower risk of developing diabetes than the placebo group.

Participants older than 60 had an even better response, with 71% lower risk of developing diabetes. The diet and lifestyle effect lasted even after 10 years; they had a 34% lower risk of developing diabetes compared to the placebo group. Men, women, and all racial and ethnic groups had similar results. These results are not out of the ordinary because it is common to see people with prediabetes or diabetes get their blood sugar and A1C down with diet, exercise, and weight loss alone.

Dietary recommendations to prevent diabetes (and even reverse it)

Diet and lifestyle changes that can help prevent diabetes

Diet and lifestyle changes are so effective for diabetes prevention that insurance companies are now covering the cost of programs that help people at risk. The Diabetes Prevention Program, used in many clinics, offers free tools and resources to help you learn and stick with the healthy diet, physical activity, and stress management techniques that reduce your risk of diabetes.