Prediabetes Diet and Exercise

Prediabetes Diet and Exercise: Ward Off Diabetes with Food & Fitness

Prediabetes Diet and Exercise: Ward Off Diabetes with Food & Fitness

Getting diagnosed with prediabetes is alarming, but the news is you can prevent progression to full-blown type 2 diabetes through targeted prediabetes diet and exercise. Combining blood sugar-friendly eating with regular activity creates a powerful lifestyle shift to regain control of your health.

Key Takeaways

  • Focus your prediabetes diet on fibre-rich complex carbs, lean protein, healthy fats, and greens.
  • Aim for 150 minutes weekly of moderate cardio and 2 strength training sessions.
  • Schedule thorough diabetes and cholesterol screening every 6 months.
  • Maintain motivation through accountability partners and tracking progress.
  • Small consistent changes to diet and exercise create a lifelong impact.

Understanding Prediabetes Diet and Exercise Fundamentals

Before diving into practical diet and fitness tips, it’s helpful first to level-set key prediabetes basics:

Defining Prediabetes

Prediabetes is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Your doctor will diagnose prediabetes based on a hemoglobin A1C test showing sugar levels between 5.7% and 6.4% or a fasting blood sugar reading between 100-125 mg/dL. Taking action to lower your blood sugar levels at the prediabetes stage is critical for preventing the progression of diabetes.

Causes of Prediabetes

The most common causes leading to prediabetes include being overweight, genetics/family history of diabetes, lack of physical activity, poor diet, excess stress, lack of sleep, and insulin resistance. Carrying extra weight and belly fat stresses the body, making it more insulin-resistant. Risk also increases as you get older or if siblings/parents have diabetes.

Prediabetes Complications

If prediabetes blood sugar levels stay persistently high over time, complications develop, increasing your risk for type 2 diabetes, stroke, nerve damage, kidney, and heart disease, and vision issues. That’s why it’s so important to implement lifestyle changes to lower and control blood sugar when diagnosed with prediabetes. Catching it early and acting minimizes the likelihood of complications.

Role of Diet & Exercise

Your diet and exercise habits play a huge role in managing prediabetes. Eating foods that help stabilize blood sugar levels combined with building regular exercise into your routine enables the body to better use insulin and process excess blood glucose. This lessens demands on the pancreas to overproduce insulin and risks worsening over time.

Optimizing nutrition and activity improves insulin sensitivity, helping cells properly manage blood sugar, thus reversing prediabetes diet and exercise risk.

Best Diet Strategies for Prediabetes Diet and Exercise

While no rigid meal plan works for everyone, certain dietary frameworks effectively support prediabetes diet and exercise goals. Use these guidelines to customize your blood sugar-friendly eating:

Lower Overall Carbs

Pay attention to total daily carb intake from grains, starchier produce and dairy. Scale back high glycemic refined carbs in crackers, cereals, and baked goods in favor of complex carbs rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Increase Lean Protein

Incorporate plant-based proteins like lentils, nuts, and seeds into meals and snacks. Focus animal proteins on wild-caught fish, organic poultry and grass-fed meats. Protein bolsters satiety and sustains consistent energy.

Healthy Fats Please

Seek out anti-inflammatory omega-3-rich fats from salmon, avocados, olive, and nut oils, chia seeds and walnuts. Monitor total fats keeping within 25-35% calories from healthy fats for satiety.

Pile on Produce

Especially non-starchy leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, berries, and citrus which offer antioxidants, gut-filling fiber, vitamins, and minerals with minimal impact on blood sugar.

Stay Hydrated

Drink water consistently throughout the day to assist digestion, curb cravings, and maintain electrolytes. Limit sugary drinks, always opting for unsweetened options.

Fitness Regimen for Prediabetes Diet and Exercise Management

While dialling in your prediabetes nutrition targets blood sugar regulation from the inside, getting active tackles insulin resistance hindering cells from the outside.

Aim to build activity into your daily routine even in 10-minute increments. Parking farther away, opting for stairs over elevators, and scheduling walking meetings add up. Routine workouts generate maximum impact through compounding effects on cardiovascular health, insulin response, circulation, and energy.

Target 150 Weekly Minutes of Moderate Cardio

Work up to 30-60 minutes daily, tallying 450-750 calories burned through:

  • Power walking
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • HIIT circuits

Lift 2 Days a Week

Full body strength training routines increase lean muscle mass which readily absorbs blood glucose from circulation even at rest. Try sets of:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Pushups
  • Rows
  • Planks

Stretch Daily

Gentle yoga flows enhance circulation and mobility to tight muscles vulnerable to strains that derail consistency.

Monitor Effort

Utilize wearable technology like heart rate monitors on smartwatches to train in effective fat-burning yet aerobic zones.

Additional Prediabetes Diet and Exercise Health Hacks

Beyond adjusting dietary and fitness habits, supplemental lifestyle changes further support prediabetes reversal:

Schedule Checkups

Get thorough A1C bloodwork, cholesterol panels, and vitamin D levels tested every 6 months to assess improvement—report concerning nerve pain, blurred vision or excessive thirst indicating potential diabetes progression.

destress Daily

Chronic stress floods the body with cortisol, promoting inflammation and insulin resistance. Make time for massage, meditation, journaling, and restorative yoga.

Supplement Smartly

Research indicates cinnamon, alpha lipoid acid, berberine, and chromium help improve insulin sensitivity. Consult your physician about adding these blood sugar-optimizing supplements.

 Journal Habits

Tracking lifestyle changes over time keeps you accountable and motivated while providing helpful patterns to fine-tune your prediabetes diet and exercise plan.

Recruit Support

Share your diagnosis and wellness goals with close family and friends. Having an accountability partner to message daily ups and downs prevents isolating and slipping into old habits.

Frequently Asked Prediabetes Diet and Exercise Questions


Which exercise is best for prediabetes?

The best exercises for prediabetes are a mix of cardio and strength training. Good cardio options include brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or HIIT workouts for 30-60 minutes daily to help lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. Adding full body strength training 2 days per week builds muscle mass to better absorb excess blood glucose.

Can I reverse prediabetes with diet and exercise?

Yes, prediabetes can often be reversed with consistent lifestyle changes around healthy eating and daily exercise. Focus on complex carbs, fiber-rich vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Pair this with 150 weekly minutes of brisk cardio and full body strength training sessions to lower and stabilize blood sugar levels long-term.

What are the exercise guidelines for prediabetes?

Guidelines encourage getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise like brisk walking. This could be 30-60 minutes most days. Also, aim for at least 2 days per week of full body strength training using body weight, bands, or free weights. Workouts should elevate your heart rate into target fat-burning zones.

What is the fastest way to fix prediabetes?

The fastest way is combining a nutrient-dense whole foods diet with consistent cardiovascular and strength training exercises most days of the week. Check blood sugar levels first thing in the morning and before bed, reporting high readings immediately to your doctor. Losing excess weight also quickly improves insulin resistance tied to prediabetes.

What are the worst foods for prediabetes?

Foods with added sugars, refined carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats can spike blood sugar. Avoid sodas, fruit juices, pastries, chips, fried foods, processed snack foods, white bread, and sweets. Focus on high-fiber whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats.

What 7 fruits should diabetics avoid?

The fruits diabetics and prediabetics should be mindful of portions with are dried fruits, grapes, cherries, mango, bananas, pears, and watermelon because of their higher sugar content. Focus on fruits lower on the glycemic index like berries, grapefruit, apples, oranges, and peaches.


A prediabetes diagnosis serves as an early warning sign, giving you precious time to halt the progression to type 2 diabetes. Follow this prediabetes diet and exercise tips focusing on blood sugar-friendly whole foods, a consistently active lifestyle, and self-care, prioritizing sleep, stress relief, and accountability. Check-in regularly tracking and reporting labs so your healthcare provider can provide additional medication or lifestyle change guidance. Stay positive knowing small daily improvements compound over time, rebuilding your health one step at a time!


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