Illustration: Greg Clarke

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Week 1: Eat Wisely
Cutting back on sugar is crucial—but that's only part of the story.

Go with Whole Grains
Eating two servings of whole grains per day can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 21 percent, according to research. A diet high in processed grains (like white rice and the flour in white bread), on the other hand, has been strongly associated with an increased risk of the disease. These refined carbohydrates are easily digested, causing a rapid spike in blood sugar.

Fill Up on Fiber
The rough stuff—found in veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds, as well as in whole grains—slows the flow of glucose from the intestines into your bloodstream, which helps keep your blood sugar steady. A study of prediabetic subjects found that a high-fiber diet could reduce a patient's progression to diabetes by 62 percent. Craving something sweet? Have a handful of fiber-rich raspberries or blueberries.

Enjoy Your Java
(Just go easy on the sweetener.) People who habitually drink coffee (caffeinated or decaf) have a much lower risk of diabetes. One study found that they were 60 percent less likely to develop the disease. Coffee may reduce blood sugar levels and has been shown to improve metabolism; its wealth of antioxidants may even protect insulin-secreting cells from damage.