Diets for prediabetes and cholesterol
Prediabetes and high cholesterol have a lot in common, starting with their frequency: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adult Americans has prediabetes, and one in eight Americans has high cholesterol.
Both conditions may have no symptoms, so you may not know you have them until they become serious, such as developing diabetes or heart disease. They share many risk factors, including being overweight or obese, family history, and poor eating habits.
Prediabetes and high cholesterol also have one more thing in common. A diet to prevent diabetes can also be a good diet to lower cholesterol. No one food is good for one disease and not another, so as the American Diabetes Association (ADA) advocates, people with one disease can have a diet for one disease!
These foods are some of the best foods to include in your diet to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels
- whole grains
Whole grains have been associated with a lower risk of diabetes and cholesterol, as well as a lower risk of high blood pressure and obesity. The tip is to replace refined grains and control portion sizes.
Choose instead of
- White bread
- Pita bread
- English muffins
- Refined Pasta
- Pretzels and crackers
- Refined breakfast cereals
- White rice
Look for whole wheat products first; whole wheat bread, pitas, bagels, English muffins, tortillas, sandwiches; whole wheat pasta; brown rice; quinoa; barley; bulgur; oats; whole wheat breakfast cereal.
Please be careful.” ‘Multigrain’ or other refined cereal products listed before whole grains; sweetened breakfast cereals and flavored oatmeal; high-calorie oatmeal.
This is a dream come true for those who like to eat starch-free vegetables. They’re low in calories and (almost) always refillable.
You can choose instead of
- Starchy side dishes like potatoes and rice.
- French fries
- Pasta bowl or plate
- How to enjoy.
- Lettuce, tomato, cucumber side salad
- A main salad of vegetables or other vegetables and protein.
- Steamed, roasted or grilled vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, zucchini, etc.
- Raw vegetables such as carrots, celery, and bell peppers as a snack.
- Cooked in soups, pasta sauces or casseroles.
Look for: lettuce, spinach, other fresh or frozen vegetables, tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, eggplant, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, artichokes, peas.
Note: fried vegetables (such as zucchini sticks or tempura), canned vegetables with sugar or salt, vegetables cooked with cheese or cream (such as cheese or cream vegetable soup), several types of salad wraps.
- Nuts and peanuts
Nuts and peanuts can help lower cholesterol levels by preventing the body from absorbing cholesterol from food. Despite their high calorie and fat content, they are associated with lower blood sugar levels and reduced risk of obesity. They contain MUFAs and other healthy fats and fiber, which can help in small 1/2 to 1 ounce servings.
Choose them instead of
- French fries
- Cream cheese dip
How to enjoy.
- Whole wheat peanut butter and pear sandwich.
- Peanut butter instead of cream sauce.
- Ants on logs with celery, almond butter and blueberries.
- Chicken with cashew nuts sauteed with vegetables.
- Sliced almonds on top of green beans.
- Tilapia with pecan crust instead of bread and chips.
- Nuts on cereal or fruit salad.
- As a crunchy snack instead of chips.
Look for: peanuts; peanut butter; cashews, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts; almond butter.
Note: peanut butter with hydrogenated oil or sugar; candy; chocolate; mixes with sweet nuts.
Fruits are an excellent alternative to sweets when it comes to lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Nutrients such as fiber, potassium and antioxidants may be some of their benefits. Fruits are high in carbohydrates, so watch your portion sizes. Here are some ways to utilize fruits.
Choose them instead of
- Desserts or starchy desserts.
Ways to enjoy them.
- Fresh fruit salad instead of sweet desserts.
- Frozen mashed bananas with cinnamon or cocoa instead of ice cream.
- Cinnamon apples instead of apple pie, or baked apples with sugar.
- Substitute berries or nuts for chips or cookies as a snack.
Look for: fresh fruits, especially those high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, such as apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc.
Beware of frozen or canned fruits with added sugar; dried fruits, especially sweet fruits (very high in calories and carbohydrates); fruit juices; fruit drinks with added sugar; fruit pies, jellies and other fruit-based sweets.
Oily fish are rich in heart-healthy fats called long-chain omega-3s, and red fish also contain omega-3s. Eating fish can help lower bad “LDL” cholesterol while increasing good “HDL” cholesterol and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Fish is a good source of protein.
Choose it instead.
- Red meat
- Skin-on chicken
- Deli meats
How to enjoy it.
- Canned tuna instead of Italian meat in salads and sandwiches.
- Grilled salmon or other fish instead of meat for dinner.
- Substitute tuna or salmon for beef patties in oatmeal tacos.
- Use Mexican seasoning in tacos with fish instead of ground beef.
- French fries or fish stew instead of beef.
Look for: salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, anchovies, sardines, slop, tilapia, trout, halibut, grilled, baked, broiled, boiled fish, soup chowder.
Caution: Fish species with high mercury content, such as plaice, swordfish, kingfish, shark, batter-fried fish, fish soup, tuna salad with mayonnaise, tuna casserole with pasta and cream.
- Plant-based proteins
Not only are plant proteins good for your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, but they are also environmentally friendly because they require fewer resources to produce. In addition to being environmentally friendly, plant proteins are cholesterol-free and high in fiber. Eating more of them, especially instead of red meat, can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Red meat, such as steak, chops or ground beef
- Sausages or hot dogs
- Grilled meats
- Chicken and turkey skin
Prediabetes and high cholesterol often go hand in hand, but there is a lot of good news. For one thing, you can manage them to reduce the risk of progressing to a more serious condition. Also, the same type of diet can be used for both conditions. The Skylark Diabetes Prevention Program can help you make personalized diet and lifestyle choices. Be sure to check your health insurance documents and contact them to see if unlimited support is always available.