A recent JAMA study found that half of adults in the U.S. have diabetes or pre-diabetes. But what many people may not realize is that their everyday behaviors could lead to diabetes. Sodexo, as the nation’s largest employer of Registered Dietitians (RDs), is passionate about working with our clients to help prevent diabetes. There are several habits that people are engaging in right now that could lead to diabetes. A few of these habits include:
- Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. Drinking calories vs eating them is an easy way to lose track of what’s going into our bodies. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains the equivalent of more than nine teaspoons of sugar with zero nutritional value. The 2015 USDA Guidelines recommend no more than 10% of total calories coming from added sugars. Drinking unsweetened herbal iced tea or seltzer waters with a splash of cranberry juice are refreshing and tasty alternative.
- Sitting too much and not moving enough. For every two pounds of weight loss, you reduce the risk of diabetes by 15%. Consider setting a goal of 10,000 steps a day for good health. If you work at a desk, try standing up and moving for about 10 minutes after every 30 minutes of sitting.
- Consuming “unhealthy” fats. Diets high in saturated fats are known to increase weight, lipids and blood pressure – all contributing to an increased risk for Diabetes and other chronic diseases. Rather than cut out fats all together, try replacing saturated and trans fats with healthier fats from foods like olive oils, avocados, walnuts, and flax seeds (ground) for a healthier, balanced diet. Adding foods like this will also increase your fiber intake which can help keep you feeling satisfied and help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
- Not planning meals ahead of time. The average fast food meal is over 1,200 calories and usually high in fat and sodium and low in nutrients. Plan meals ahead of time and go for quality not quantity. It’s all about balance. Indulge in a burger but pair with a side salad, steamed veggies, or fruit – you’ll feel more satisfied from eating nutrient dense foods rather than a side of French fries or chips.
- Not watching portion sizes. Portions have doubled or tripled in size over the past 20 years. Serve home-cooked meals on smaller plates. Fill one half with non-starchy vegetables, and split the other half into two quarters. Fill one quarter with a lean protein, such as fish, skinless poultry, beans or tofu. Fill the other quarter with a grain or starch–based side dish, preferably a whole–grain food, like brown rice, whole–wheat pasta or a slice of whole–grain bread.
With more and more Americans at risk of diabetes, employers can play an important role to encourage these healthy habits at work. Please let us know how you stay healthy at work.
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Jackie Sharp is the Senior Manager of Health & Well-Being for Sodexo North America responsible for guiding Sodexo’s commitment to programs, initiatives and partnerships that improve health and well-being for individuals, organizations and communities. Jackie is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian who specializes in corporate wellness, sports nutrition and physical fitness
— Sodexo USA, Inc. (@sodexoUSA) April 15, 2016