6 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

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6 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes? We’ve included a link to the ADA Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test below, which can help you find out.

Diabetes increases your risk of developing high blood pressure as well other cardiovascular problems. But if you do find you’re at risk, don’t panic. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with the right lifestyle. Here’s how to stack the odds in your favor:

Eat mindfully.

Eating less and keeping your weight down can reduce your risk of developing diabetes. To eat in a more mindful way, take a deep breath in through your nose and notice the aroma of your food. Look at your plate and notice the colors and textures. When you take a bite, really savor it. Take note of how satisfied  you feel as you eat. When you get to a 6 or 7 (out of a 10-point scale), put your plate away.

Move more.

Exercise doesn’t have to mean putting on workout clothes and going to the gym. Expand your idea of exercise and just try to move more during the day. Take a 10-minute walk outside after each meal and it will equal 30 minutes of daily activity! Here are a few ideas to sneak in even more extra steps throughout the day: 

  • Get off the elevator a few floors before your stop and take the stairs the rest of the way.
  • Make a walking date with a friend instead of meeting for coffee.
  • Use the restroom on a different floor in your office building.
  • After you finish grocery shopping, bring your bags into the house one at a time.
  • Don’t hunt for a “good” parking spot — choose the spot farthest away. 

Cook at home more often.

Research shows that people who cook their meals at home tend to have healthier diets than those who eat out more.1 An added bonus — they save money. When you do your own meal prep you have better control of what goes into the dish. And you won’t be tempted to overeat with restaurants’ extreme portion sizes. Plus, cooking at home tends to burn more calories as you move around your kitchen, chop vegetables, and clean up the dishes afterwards.

Make water your drink of choice.

A Swedish study found that those who drank two sugary drinks daily had an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.2 If you hydrate with water you’ll be able to avoid sugary, preservative-filled drinks. And a big glass of water before a meal can help you eat less, which will help keep your weight under control.

Swap out refined grains for whole grains.

Research has found that diets rich in whole grains can protect against diabetes, while diets rich in the refined kind can lead to an increase risk.3 Whole grains are grains that contain the entire grain kernel. These are foods like whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice. Refined grains, on the other hand, have been milled, so parts of the grain kernel are gone. As a result, foods like white bread, white pasta, and white rice, lack dietary fiber, iron, and other nutrients. So, whenever you can, use whole grains instead of refined. 

Stop smoking

You probably already know that smoking damages nearly every organ in the body and contributes to dozens of serious health conditions, including heart disease, emphysema, and several different types of cancers. But did you also know that those who light up are 30 to 40 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t smoke? Visit smokefree.gov for dozens of tips to help you quit. 

Wondering if you are at risk of type 2 diabetes? Here’s a link to the test to assess your risk. 

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1. Tiwari A, Aggarwal A, Tang W, Drewnowski A. Cooking at home: a strategy to comply with U.S. Dietary Guidelines at no extra cost. Am J Prev Med. 2017;52(5):616-624. PMID: 28256283.
2. Löfvenborg JE, Andersson T, Carlsson PO, et al. Sweetened beverage intake and risk of latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) and type 2 diabetes. Eur J Endocrinol. 2016;175(6):605-614. PMID: 27926472.
3. AlEssa HB, Bhupathiraju SN, Malik VS, et al. Carbohydrate quality and quantity and risk of type 2 diabetes in US women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(6):1543-53. PMID: 26537938.