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The Quality of your Diet Can Affect your Chances of Developing Diabetes

What you eat can affect your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Even as an adult, improving the quality of your diet may reduce your risk, but worsening the quality of your diet can increase your risk.

A report published in Diabetes Care analyzed data from multiple studies that tracked over 124,000 adults for more than 20 years. None of the participants had diabetes at the beginning of the studies and the participants self-rated the quality of their diet every 4 years based on a healthy eating index.

It was found that when diet quality went up by more than 10% during any 4-year period, the risk of diabetes dropped by 16%. When diet quality declined by the same amount, the risk of diabetes increased by about 34%. These findings were not affected by how participants ate at the start of the study.

What is a high-quality diet?

  • A diet comprised mostly of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains, as well as lean sources of protein and healthy fats.
  • Minimal amounts of red or processed meat, trans fat, sodium and sugar-sweetened beverages or fruit juice.
  • Low to moderate amounts of alcohol.

These are some ways you can improve the quality of your diet:

  • Plan your weekly meals so you’re not choosing something unhealthy when you’re short on time.
  • Don’t shop when you’re hungry. You’re more likely to make poor food choices.
  • When you get home from the store, wash and cut up fruits and veggies so they’re easy to grab.

Although healthy food choices may help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, the best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is to reduce your weight if you are overweight and increase the amount of physical activity you do. If you only change the quality of your diet and do not address these two major risk factors, you will probably not decrease your risk significantly. For more education about diabetes please visit: and listen to a podcast by Karen Muchowski, MD, Taking Control of Your Diabetes, in English and Spanish. Also featured on the Temecula Valley Hostpital podcast site is Jennifer Lyman, RDN, with Tips to Get Your Family to Eat Healthy.

About Temecula Valley Hospital – Temecula Valley Hospital brings advanced technology, innovative programs, patient centered and family sensitive care to area residents. The hospital features 140 private patient rooms; emergency care featuring ER Reserve; advanced cardiac and stroke care; orthopedics; and general and surgical specialties. TVH is nationally recognized for Patient Safety by The Leapfrog Group, with a 2017 Top Hospital Award and 4 consecutive “A” Grades for Patient Safety in Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017 and Fall 2016. The hospital also recently received a 4 Star Medicare Hospital Compare Rating and the honor of the Inland Empire’s Top Workplaces 2017. For more information, visit