How to Reverse Prediabetes?

Updated on & Medically Reviewed by Dr Lalitha

Prediabetes is like a pre-stage of diabetes. It’s a condition indicating elevated blood sugar levels than normal, But not yet in the diabetes range. Highlights the importance of proactive health management. However, the good news is that with strategic lifestyle changes, it's possible to reverse prediabetes and pave the way to a healthier future.

In this article, we will explore the Prediabetes managing and potentially reversing prediabetes through diet and lifestyle choice.

Understanding Prediabetes:

Since, prediabetes frequently remains undiagnosed, making it essential to be aware of the risk factors. These may include being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle, and having a family history of diabetes. If you've been diagnosed with prediabetes, consider it an opportunity for positive.

Prediabetes to Diabetes Conversion:

The percentage of prediabetes cases that progress to type 2 diabetes varies depending on several factors, including age, ethnicity, lifestyle habits, and severity of prediabetes.

Overall Conversion Rate:

Around 5-10% of people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes annually. This means that about half of those with prediabetes will eventually develop type 2 diabetes, but it may take years or even decades for this to happen.

Factors Affecting Conversion Rate:

1. Age:

The risk of developing diabetes from prediabetes increases with age. Young adults with prediabetes have a lower annual conversion rate compared to older individuals.

2. Ethnicity:

Certain ethnicities, such as African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans, have a higher risk of progressing from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.

3. Lifestyle Habits:

Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing weight can significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes from prediabetes. Conversely, unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity can increase the risk.

4. Severity of Prediabetes:

People with higher blood sugar levels or those with additional risk factors like high blood pressure or high cholesterol are at a greater risk of developing diabetes from prediabetes.

Time Frame for Conversion:

The time it takes for prediabetes to progress to type 2 diabetes can vary widely. Some people may develop diabetes within a few years, while others may go decades without experiencing any significant changes in their blood sugar levels.

Early intervention and lifestyle changes can significantly delay or even prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes Reversal: How to Reverse Prediabetes?

Prediabetes itself isn't considered "curable" in the same way as a disease like an infection. However, the good news is that it's highly reversible! With lifestyle changes and proper management, you can prevent it from progressing to type 2 diabetes.

Here's what you can do to reverse prediabetes:

1. Maintain Ideal Weight:

Even a modest weight loss of 5-10% of your body weight, if you are above the normal ideal weight range, can significantly improve blood sugar control and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

2. Eat a Healthy Diet:

Focus on whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Limit or avoid sugary drinks, processed foods, and unhealthy fats.

3. Be Physically Active:

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise.

4. Manage Stress:

Chronic stress can worsen blood sugar control. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature.

[ Read: How Stress Impacts Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetics? ]

5. Get Enough Sleep:

Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can disrupt hormones that regulate blood sugar.

6. Quit Smoking:

Smoking is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your health.

7. Work with Your Doctor:

Regular check-ups and monitoring of your blood sugar levels are crucial. Your doctor can provide personalized advice and treatment plans if necessary.

Remember, early intervention is key. If you've been diagnosed with prediabetes, don't wait to take action. By making these lifestyle changes, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and live a healthier life.

Here's What Research Suggests:

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that participants who followed an intensive lifestyle intervention program for 6 months saw an average reduction of 1.4% in their A1C (a measure of blood sugar control). 7% of participants even achieved normal A1C levels.

The National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) found that participants who followed the program for a year reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% compared to those who received usual care.

Diet Plan for Prediabetes:

Whole, Unprocessed Foods:

These provide essential nutrients and fiber, which help regulate blood sugar. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean protein sources.

Low-glycemic Index (GI) Foods:

These foods cause a slower and more sustained rise in blood sugar compared to high-GI foods. Choose foods like non-starchy vegetables, beans, lentils, and whole grains.

Healthy Fats:

Include good fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish. These fats can improve insulin sensitivity and satiety.


Aim for 25-30 grams of fiber per day. Fiber helps slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Good sources include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.

Limitations in Diet:

Added Sugars:

Sugary drinks, candy, pastries, and other processed foods are high in added sugars and can significantly spike blood sugar.

Refined Carbohydrates:

White bread, pasta, rice, and other refined grains cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. Choose whole grains instead.

Unhealthy Fats:

Saturated and trans fats found in processed foods, fried foods, and fatty meats can increase your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions.

Red Meat and Processed Meats:

Limit red meat intake and avoid processed meats like sausages and bacon. These can increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes Treatment:

Lifestyle modifications are the key to reversing Prediabetes. However, in some situation, you may be prescribed a medicine called Metformin. This is the first-line medication for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. It helps your body use insulin more effectively and reduces the production of glucose in the liver. Sometimes your doctor may prescribe other medicines like DPP-4 inhibitors &SGLT2 inhibitors.

Early intervention is key to lower the chances of prediabetes turning to diabetes. The sooner you address prediabetes, the easier it is to manage and prevent complications.

Be patient and consistent. It takes time and effort to see results, but the benefits of managing prediabetes are well worth it. By making healthy lifestyle changes and working with your doctor, you can effectively manage prediabetes and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Reversing prediabetes is achievable through a holistic approach that combines nutrient-rich diets, regular exercise, and lifestyle adjustments. Empower yourself with knowledge, commit to positive changes, and consult with healthcare specialists for a personalised journey to a healthier tomorrow.




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Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a healthcare professional.

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