# The Alarming Rise of Type 2 Diabetes: Four Healthy Swaps for a Better Lifestyle
According to recent scientific papers published in The Lancet and The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journals, the number of people with Type 2 diabetes is expected to rise from 529 million in 2021 to over 1.3 billion in 2050. This increase is attributed to a rise in obesity and health inequalities. Melanie Dsouza, a clinical dietitian at Aster Hospital Sharjah, warns that this rise will not only be physically and emotionally draining but also financially challenging. However, she offers four healthy swaps that can lead to a better lifestyle.
## Small Changes, Big Impact
1. Choose drinks such as probiotics or homemade lemonades rather than sugary drinks from a can. This not only means fewer calories but also helps improve gut health, which is important for better weight management and reducing or preventing insulin resistance.
2. Choose brown pizza over white pizza using a whole-wheat base topped with more vegetables and protein sources such as lean meat or tofu, and minimal cheese.
3. Instead of adding heavy mayonnaise or excessive amounts of cheese to salads, opt for a lighter dressing such as lemon and chili, or lime, olive, and balsamic vinegar.
4. Make a vegetable omelette rather than a plain one, by adding chopped peppers, broccoli, and spinach to get extra fiber and antioxidants that are good for gut health and support immunity.
## Better Choices for Better Health
Clinical dietitian Mitun de Sarkar, founder of Simply Healthy, a meal plan company in Dubai, offers the following replacements for breakfast, snack, and main course options.
– Pick eggs instead of sugary cereals.
– Put cinnamon instead of honey over your porridge.
– If you can avoid fruits, replace them with nuts and seeds. Or have chia seeds or flaxseeds instead of plain fruit. Among fruits, go for berries over bananas and apples over mangoes. Greek yogurt is also better instead of fruit yogurt.
– Opt for steel-cut oats instead of instant oats.
– Munch on figs and prunes instead of cookies.
– Creamy and starchy soups can be replaced with a salad or stir-fried crunchy vegetables.
– Vegetable sticks also go well with dip and can replace unhealthy tortilla chips. When it comes to dips, go for guacamole over a cheesy option.
### Main Meals
– Lean chicken breast instead of processed sausages, lunch meats, and bacon.
– White rice instead of brown rice.
– Mashed beans and lentils instead of mashed potatoes.
– Cottage cheese instead of processed sliced cheese.
– Millet flour instead of refined white flour.
– Quinoa instead of couscous.
Dsouza echoes De Sarkar’s carbohydrate replacements, adding that focusing on portion control and choice of carbs such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and millets can help prevent diabetes effectively. She also suggests mindful eating and cherishing the food we eat to have better control over portion sizes. Finally, she adds that walking or being active after a meal helps the body to utilize glucose effectively, which in turn helps control insulin sensitivity and aids in digestion.
The alarming rise of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making small changes in our lifestyle. By adopting healthy swaps and making better choices for our health, we can prevent this disease and lead a better life.