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Pre-diabetes is a condition that involves high glucose, or blood sugar, levels that have not yet escalated to the point that would indicate a diabetes diagnosis. According to the American Diabetes Association, most people who develop Type II diabetes are pre-diabetic first 12. If you've been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or are at high risk for this disease, a healthy dietary lifestyle is recommended.
Refined starches are processed, carbohydrate-based foods such as:
Andrew Weil, M.D., a natural health expert, suggests reducing these foods in your diet if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, as they may cause
- blood sugar difficulties
- offer little nutrient value
Replace refined starches with complex or whole grain carbohydrate equivalents.
The Best Foods for Insulin Resistance
Saturated fats are found primarily in animal-derived products, and are associated with an increased risk for heart disease and other conditions. According to Dr. Weil, saturated fats should be avoided as a means of preventing or treating pre-diabetes. Avoid foods such as:
- fatty red meat
- processed meats
- whole milk
- high-fat cheeses
- deep-friend foods
- ice cream
Replace these foods with healthy fat sources such as
- olive oil
- flax seeds
- as well as baked
- grilled or steamed foods
When you do consume foods high in saturated fats, keep your portion sizes modest.
Trans-fatty acids, or trans fats, result when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils in order to create more solid forms of fat. Tran fats enhance flavor and preserve foods, but according to the American Heart association, they also increase the risk for heart disease and Type II diabetes 12. If you are pre-diabetic, avoid margarine, shortening and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Foods that commonly contain trans fats include commercially prepared cookies, pie crust, pizza and other snack foods, as well as fried foods such as doughnuts and French fries. The American Heart Association recommends that no more than 1 percent of your diet stem from trans fats, the equivalent of 2g in a 2,000-calorie diet 12. Replace butter and margarine with extra virgin olive or canola oil, and seek natural foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grain-based snacks in place of fried or processed foods.
The Best Foods for Insulin Resistance
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- American Diabetes Association: Pre-Diabetes
- American Heart Association: Trans Fats
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Final Determination on Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Removing Trans Fats). Last updated May 18, 2018.
- American Heart Association. Trans Fats. Last reviewed March 23, 2017.
- Mayo Clinic. Trans fat is double trouble for your health. February 13, 2020.
- Brandt EJ, Myerson R, Perraillon MC, Polonsky TS. Hospital Admissions for Myocardial Infarction and Stroke Before and After the Trans-Fatty Acid Restrictions in New York. JAMA Cardiol. 2017 Jun 1;2(6):627-634. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2017.0491.
- Guasch-Ferré M, Babio N, Martínez-González MA, et al. Dietary fat intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in a population at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Dec;102(6):1563-73. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.116046. Epub 2015 Nov 11.
- Kiage JN, Merrill PD, Judd SE, Intake of trans fat and incidence of stroke in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 May;99(5):1071-6. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.075713. Epub 2014 Feb 12.
August McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "IAmThatGirl" and "ULM." She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit—a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.