Borderline diabetes, also known as pre-diabetes, does not mean diabetes is inevitable. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control looked at lifestyle modifications to prevent diabetes in pre-diabetic individuals and published their results in 2010 in the "American Journal of Preventative Medicine." They found that dietary modifications in addition to exercise and weight loss helped prevent and delay the onset of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends a similar diet for borderline diabetics and actual diabetics. All foods can be included in moderation, but certain foods should be more limited to support optimal health and to maintain a healthy weight and prevent disease progression.
Too much fat can lead to chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease, both of which are risk factors for diabetes and complicate diabetes management. The ADA recommends choosing lean meat, poultry and non-fat dairy products to reduce dietary fat. It is also important to remove visible fat and skin from meat and poultry and cook using little or no fat. The best fats to cook with are unsaturated liquid oils such as olive oil and vegetable oil. Limit saturated and trans fats such as lard, margarine, shortening, butter, pork fat, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, coconut oil and palm oil; they raise cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Sugar does not cause diabetes but it does raise blood sugar. Borderline diabetics with consistently high blood sugars are at a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Small portions of sugar occasionally are OK, but be aware that sugary foods such as candy, soda and desserts can be high in calories while lacking essential vitamins and minerals. The ADA recommends consuming nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy products that are naturally low in sugar and packed with nutrients.
Alcohol should be consumed in moderation because it is high in calories and offers few nutrients. Federal guidelines recommend that women limit their alcohol intake to one beverage per day and men to two drinks a day.
High-calorie foods contribute to obesity, which is a risk factor for diabetes. The Mayo Clinic recommends losing weight if you are overweight--one way to do this is to cut back on snacks, desserts, fatty meats and full-fat dairy products that are high in calories. Portion control is essential in cutting calories, especially when dining out, as restaurant portion sizes can be much larger that what is recommended.