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4 Helpful Tips to Prevent Diabetes in your Family Line According to Dr. Ayi Faller

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Mar 27, 2023

    4 Helpful Tips to Prevent Diabetes in your Family Line According to Dr. Ayi Faller

    With the fast-rising numbers and statistics, it is undeniable that diabetes is as prevalent as it is not only worldwide but more so here in the Philippines. In 2019, there were about 4.9 million people with diabetes in the country, with a prevalence rate of around 6.1%. An exponential increase will most likely take place during these COVID times affecting almost 5 million of the population. It is one of the most common diseases wherein it could potentially be passed on from one generation to another, specifically type 2 diabetes. And a lot of families have a history of diabetes.

    Dr. Theresa Marie Valdez-Faller, a medically- accredited and acclaimed practitioner in the field of Endocrinology was invited to be a guest speaker in the first episode of Hello Doctor PH’s #AskTheExpert series in which she tackled the relationship between diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.

    Through this interview, she also shared these four helpful tips you can take note of in order to prevent other comorbidities for those with family history of diabetes.

    Do you have a family history of diabetes? Or want to prevent it in the future? Remember these tips

    1. You can eat anything you want as long as it is in moderation

    In the Filipino household, you may often hear the words from the elders like, “Huwag kang kain nang kain ng matamis, magkaka-jabetis ka.” [Don’t eat too much sweets, you will have diabetes]. While it is somewhat true because it does make your sugar levels go up, Dr. Ayi explains that it works hand in hand with your lifestyle. 

    “If you’re not exercising, you’re not taking enough water, and if you have a predisposition to diabetes, then it’s really good for you not to be eating too much sweets. But you have to remember that it’s not like if you’re diabetic, you cannot eat any of the sweet foods anymore.” 

    She also mentions that she doesn’t recommend that patients with diabetes be so sad about their reality. She doesn’t restrict them to eat what they want, such as leche flan, ice cream, or even halo-halo, for as long as they eat in moderation. 

    2. Use the Pinggang Pinoy or the Mediterranean Diet as a reference for your food intake 

    The Pinggang Pinoy concept comprises all the nutritional food groups your body needs in order to get through the day. 

    A healthy and ideal meal for every Filipino should have a portion for each of the following:

    • high-fiber foods like some fruits and vegetables
    • fish or meat that will contribute to your daily protein intake
    • rice for carbohydrates 
    • a glass of water on the side

    Apart from the Filipino usual from the Pinggang Pinoy, she also advocates for the Mediterranean diet. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) also recommended it for people with diabetes. Just like the Pinggang Pinoy,  it is a healthy type of diet with more foods with a good amount of fiber and proteins alongside the good oil that is olive oil, and a little portion of the carbohydrates. 

    She insists that the presence of carbohydrates in one’s diet is still good as it is the energy provider fueling the body with primary sources of sugar. 

    3. Control food intake depending on your activity levels 

    To put it simply, the contextualization of Dr. Ayi about the three meals for a day is this way:

  • Breakfast: it should be eaten “like you are the king” because it’s the largest meal of the day.
  • Lunch: it should be around 2/3 or 1/3 of your breakfast portion
  • Dinner: it should be just 1/3 or 1/4 of your breakfast intake
  • It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. She explains that the reason for this is that you are going to have a lot of activities lined up. It is important to pack in the energy you need to get through the day.

    However, she also mentioned that if you think you will not be moving throughout the day, it is best not to eat a lot. The appropriate cut-off time for food intake, however, varies on your activity levels.

    She points out that they tell the patients not to eat a lot of carbohydrates during dinner time. It is because it is already downtime and eventually, they will be sleeping already. 

    “You won’t be using up all these carbs that are turned into sugar and are supposed to be used up. They will just be stored. These are the ones that will be stored as fats,” she adds.  

    4. Make walking a form of habitual exercise

    Brisk walking does wonders in prevention, especially if you have a family history of diabetes. What’s more, it keeps you moving on a daily basis. Dr. Ayi advocates something light and easy as a form of exercise to make it a good habit to practice each day. 

    She actually asks her patients what kind they can do every single day for at least 30 minutes or about 2 and a half hours in a week. Walking is a cardiovascular exercise that is on top of the list. Something that you can also do even right at your very home. 

    Key Takeaway

    For Dr. Ayi, you can still do a lot of things even if you have a family history of diabetes or are currently living with diabetes. You’re not any different from those without the condition. You can satisfy your sweet tooth once in a while or follow through with the activities and routines you scheduled for the day. 

    Keep in mind – it all boils down to how you eat, move, and do things with balance and moderation. 

    Watch our full interview with Dr. Faller, here

    And learn more about diabetes prevention here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jezreel Esguerra, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated Mar 27, 2023

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