10 Effective Changes You Can Make to Help Reverse Prediabetes Fast

May 09,2023 |
Man in an exercise class using dumbells.

Close to 96 million American adults currently have prediabetes. That’s more than one out of every three people, yet over 80% don’t even know they have it. This is due to low rates of testing and a gradual onset of symptoms that may be mistaken for less serious conditions. However, prediabetes is something that needs more attention. It’s a precursor for type 2 diabetes and without lifestyle changes, it will eventually progress, which can lead to serious health complications. The good news is that prediabetes can often be reversed through lifestyle changes when it’s caught. From cleaning up your diet and counting your carbohydrates to exercising regularly and managing stress levels, certain changes can help you achieve better blood sugar control and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Here, we’ll explore 10 effective changes you can make to help reverse prediabetes fast.


What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition that’s characterized by blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. In prediabetes, the body's cells become resistant to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. As a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of being absorbed by the cells for energy.

Regardless of if you have symptoms or not, the presence of prediabetes greatly increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic health problems, especially heart disease and stroke. Therefore, if you think you may be at risk, it’s important to see your doctor regularly for screenings and personalized tips for your situation.


Warning Signs of Prediabetes

Prediabetes is often asymptomatic, meaning that there are no obvious symptoms. Therefore, many people don’t realize they have it until they develop type 2 diabetes or other diabetes complications. However, if you do experience symptoms of prediabetes, they can include the following:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased hunger
  • Slow-healing wounds


    If you experience any of these symptoms, or have a family history of diabetes, see your healthcare professional as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment of prediabetes can help prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes, so it’s important to act as soon as possible to improve your long-term prognosis.


    How is Prediabetes Diagnosed?

    The screenings and subsequent diagnosis of prediabetes are done using a variety of types of blood tests, like those used in the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. The three main types of blood tests used are the A1C test, the fasting plasma glucose test, and the two-hour post 75g oral glucose test. Your doctor will determine the best test for your circumstance, or you may need to undergo a few different ones to get a better understanding of what’s going on. The following results are considered within the range of prediabetes:


  • A1C Test — 5.7-6.4%
  • Fasting Plasma Glucose Test — 100-125 mg/dL
  • Two-Hour Post 75 g Oral Glucose Test — 140-199 mg/dL


If you’ve received a diagnosis of prediabetes, your doctor will help you determine the next steps for management. Remember, the more you stick to healthy changes, the lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


10 Lifestyle Changes to Help Reverse Prediabetes

Making lifestyle changes is crucial if you have prediabetes, as it’s one of the only ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The earlier you make these changes, the greater the likelihood of reversing prediabetes and achieving better overall health. Otherwise, prediabetes will eventually progress. Luckily, there are ways you can improve your blood sugar control. In addition to working with your healthcare provider to create a plan, the following lifestyle changes may help you reverse prediabetes.


1. Clean Up Your Diet

One of the most important lifestyle changes to reverse prediabetes is eating a clean diet. This means focusing on consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You should aim to eat a balanced diet that’s focused on sustainable, long-term health. Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats provide the nutrients your body needs to function properly and help to keep blood sugar levels stable.

At the same time, you’ll want to limit or cut out all processed foods and refined carbohydrates. Although consuming these in moderation is okay, there is a link between ultra-processed food and diabetes. Instead, focus on some diabetes-friendly meal plans with occasional treats.


2. Count Your Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet, but it's important to be mindful of how much you’re eating when you have prediabetes. Consuming too many carbohydrates can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which can contribute to insulin resistance and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

It's important to choose complex carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, and vegetables, and limit simple sugars found in candy, sugary drinks, and baked goods. You can try carb counting or using the glycemic index to help.


3. Reduce Sugar Intake

Reducing your intake of added sugars is another important step in reversing prediabetes. Consuming too much added sugar can cause blood sugar levels to spike and contribute to weight gain. Instead of sugary snacks and drinks, choose naturally sweet foods like fruit or a small serving of dark chocolate. Fruit is a great way to satisfy a craving without putting too much stress on your digestive system.


4. Drink Enough Water

Drinking enough water is crucial for overall health, but it's especially important for those with prediabetes. Staying hydrated can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Aim for at least 8 cups of water per day. Increase your water intake if you're physically active and sweating a lot or in a hot climate.


5. Exercise Regularly

Another powerful tool for reversing prediabetes is exercising. Physical activity can help improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, such as brisk walking, biking, or swimming. If you're new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.


6. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Excess weight is a major risk factor for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, losing weight can help improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Aim to achieve a healthy body weight through a combination of clean eating habits and regular physical activity.


7. Quit Smoking

Smoking is a huge risk factor for many chronic diseases, including diabetes. Smoking can increase insulin resistance, which makes it harder for your body to use insulin effectively. Although it can be difficult, it’s best to quit smoking as soon as possible to help improve your long-term health. If you’ve tried in the past and been unsuccessful, talk to your doctor about additional smoking cessation tools.


8. Reduce Alcohol Intake

Drinking alcohol causes blood sugar levels to rise, which can contribute to insulin resistance and weight gain. You don’t have to stop drinking completely but try to limit your alcohol intake to moderate amounts or only on special occasions. This means only one drink per day or less for women and two drinks per day or less for men.


9. Prioritize Your Sleep

Sleep is essential for overall health, and it's especially important for those with prediabetes. Lack of sleep can affect insulin sensitivity, increase appetite, and contribute to weight gain. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night and try to make sleep a priority in your daily routine. This includes going to bed at the same time each night, reducing the use of phones or technology before bed, and sleeping in a cool, dark room with minimal noise.


10. Manage Stress Levels

Chronic stress plagues many individuals across America, but the long-term health effects aren’t worth the worry. Instead, try to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, or talking with a therapist. In doing so, you’ll help improve insulin sensitivity and overall health. Practice stress management techniques regularly to help keep stress levels under control.

Receiving a prediabetes diagnosis can be scary, but there are ways to help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If your prediabetes progresses to type 2 diabetes, don’t worry. With ongoing lifestyle changes, you can achieve remission from your type 2 diabetes. Regardless, always work with your doctor and follow a diabetes management plan tailored to your needs. To help you manage your diabetes effectively while living a healthy lifestyle, Byram Healthcare has a range products for diabetes management. We also offer educational materials and other resources to help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of diabetes complications.