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Michigan Apples May Help You Prevent Diabetes

Just about everyone knows a family member or friend whose life has been affected by diabetes and it’s no surprise since millions of people worldwide are diagnosed with this disease. Many more individuals have prediabetes. This is where blood sugar levels are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 34% of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older and nearly half (48.3%) of adults aged 65 years or older have prediabetes and most of these people may not even know they have it. Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Fortunately, progressing from prediabetes to diabetes isn't inevitable and by making key lifestyle changes you can significantly reduce your risk. Here are 6 steps you can take to help prevent your risk of getting diabetes.

1. Manage your weight. Although not everyone who develops type 2 diabetes is overweight, the majority are. Losing even a small amount of weight can help reduce this risk and studies show that the more you lose, the more benefits you'll experience. One study of more than 1,000 people with prediabetes found that for every kilogram (2.2 lbs.) of weight participants lost, their risk of diabetes reduced by 16%, up to a maximum reduction of 96%.1 One important component of any weight loss plan is the inclusion of more low calorie, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Michigan Apples for example are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals all in a portable and filling 90 calorie package. Enjoy one for an easy snack or as part of a healthy meal.

If you need help with weight management, visit a Registered Dietitian who can help you create a plan specific to your needs.

2. Be physically active. Physical activity help with weight management and has also been shown to reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar in overweight and prediabetic adults.2 Think about physical activity in two ways. First of all, look at ways that you can simply move more throughout your day. Walk the dog, park father out from the grocery store and take the stairs when available – it all adds up! Another way to increase physical activity is by scheduling activity time. This may be a walking club with neighbors, fitness classes at the YMCA or exercising to a home video. Whatever you choose, it's best to pick activities that you enjoy, can engage in regularly and feel you can stick with long-term. The current recommendation of 2-1/2 hours a week of moderate aerobic activity (30 minutes for 5 days a week) can help prevent diabetes. Most importantly, don’t give up! If you fall back one week, just get back to it the next.

3. Think about what you drink. Sticking with water most of the time helps you avoid high caloric beverages that are high in sugar. Unsweetened coffee and tea may also provide some benefits. Studies have reported that drinking coffee on a daily basis reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, coffee and tea have antioxidants known as polyphenols that may help protect against diabetes.3 Green tea specifically contains a unique antioxidant compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that has been shown to reduce blood sugar release from the liver and increase insulin sensitivity.4

4. Avoid portion distortion – Avoiding over-sized portions can help reduce insulin and blood sugar levels as well as aid your weight loss efforts. A study with prediabetic men found that those who reduced food portion sizes and adhered to other positive nutrition behaviors had a 46% lower risk of developing diabetes than the men who did not make lifestyle changes.5 Make portion control easy by keeping some individual, better-for-you frozen meals on hand along with fresh fruit such as Michigan Apples – they’re already perfectly portioned.

5. Consume more fiber. Most people do not consume the recommended amount of fiber which is approximately 25 grams per day. Fiber is beneficial for gut health, diabetes and weight management. One Michigan apple has about 4.5 grams of fiber which helps promote fullness and slows down digestion and thus the rise in blood sugar. In fact, studies have shown that adequate fiber helps keep blood sugar and insulin levels low.6,7 The soluble fiber in apples also helps lower cholesterol.

6. Eat more Michigan Apples! Apples have been demonstrated to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and here’s why:

– Apples have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels and are unlikely to cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, even in diabetics.

– The polyphenols in apples, which are found primarily in apple skin, that may improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance.

– The antioxidants in Michigan Apples may help reduce your risk of diabetes and help keep blood sugar level stable. One of those antioxidants is quercetin which slows carbohydrate digestion, helping to prevent blood sugar spikes.8

– As mentioned above fiber in apples helps stabilize blood sugar levels, in addition to providing other health benefits.


Here are some delicious ways to add more Michigan Apples to your diabetes-friendly meal plan:

– Dice apples on top of your morning oatmeal

– Baked shredded apples or unsweetened applesauce into whole grain muffins

– Use fresh apples in smoothies (like this: http://www.michiganapples.com/Recipes/ID/575/Apple-and-Almond-Green-Smoothie)

– Choose a fresh apple as a snack paired with low-fat cheese or nut butter

– Add diced apples to coleslaw or a green salad

– Add apple slices to a turkey or peanut butter sandwich

– Roast apple chunks with brussels sprouts for a delicious side dish  

– Dice apples in your favorite fall stuffing recipe

– Add diced or grated apples to turkey burgers

– Use dried or dehydrated apples with whole grain cereal and nuts in a trail mix

– Top pork tenderloin or chicken breasts with sautéed apples (http://www.michiganapples.com/Recipes/ID/553/Roasted-Pork-Tenderloin-with-Mustard-Apple-Relish)


Getting diabetes is not inevitable, even if it runs in your family. If you have prediabetes, use it as a motivator for making changes that can help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Eating the right foods, like Michigan Apples, and adopting other lifestyle behaviors that promote healthy blood sugar and insulin levels will give you the best chance at avoiding diabetes.

For a complete one week menu following a healthy eating pattern visit: http://www.michiganapples.com/Recipes/Healthy-Living-Menu-Plan


Hamman RF, Wing RR, Edelstein SL, et al. Effect of weight loss with lifestyle intervention on risk of diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006;29(9):2102–2107. doi:10.2337/dc06-0560

Charatan F. Exercise and diet reduce risk of diabetes, US study shows. BMJ. 2001;323(7309):359.

S. Dragan, F. Andrica, Maria-Corina Serban and R. Timar, “Polyphenols-Rich Natural Products for Treatment of Diabetes”, Current Medicinal Chemistry (2015) 22: 14. https://doi.org/10.2174/0929867321666140826115422

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 98, Issue 2, August 2013, Pages 340–348,  https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.112.052746

5.Improvement in diet habits, independent of physical activity helps to reduce incident diabetes among prediabetic Asian Indian men Ram, Jagannathan et al. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, Volume 106, Issue 3, 491 – 495

J Diet Suppl. 2013 Jun;10(2):129-41. doi: 10.3109/19390211.2013.790335.

Eur J Nutr. 2009 Oct;48(7):395-402. doi: 10.1007/s00394-009-0026-x. Epub 2009 May 5.

Kim JH, Kang MJ, Choi HN, Jeong SM, Lee YM, Kim JI. Quercetin attenuates fasting and postprandial hyperglycemia in animal models of diabetes mellitus. Nutr Res Pract. 2011;5(2):107–111. doi:10.4162/nrp.2011.5.2.107


Meet the Author

Shari Steinbach

Shari Steinbach, MS RDN
Shari Steinbach & Associates, LLC

For the past 26 years, Shari has worked as a dietitian in the grocery industry for two major retailers in the Midwest. In her retail roles, Shari has managed consumer health communication, health influencer partnerships, nutrition programs, and solution-selling strategies.

Shari has served as a nutrition expert and corporate spokesperson, providing food and nutrition advice through monthly television spots on ABC, NBC and FOX affiliates and local radio segments. She has also conducted numerous educational presentations to community groups and professional organizations throughout the country. Her timely nutrition and food product information and strategic social media messages have reached millions of consumers.