Ask a Maui Doctor: How Can I Prevent Diabetes?

April 1, 2017, 9:00 AM HST · Updated April 1, 9:20 AM
Nikki Schenfeld · 12 Comments

Doctors at Minit Medical answer some of the questions submitted by readers.

Each week, a doctor from Minit Medical Kahului or Lahaina will answer questions that have been submitted by readers. Submit your own medical related questions to our doctors at

Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask a Maui Doctor” column.

Q: Hawaiʻi ranks as one of the highest states for diabetes. What are some ways to control or prevent diabetes in adults and children?

A: When it comes to diet, there is a lot of “fake news” out there making it very difficult for people to know what to eat. Vegan vs Paleo? High protein? Low Carbs? Blood type?

But when it comes to understanding what you can do to prevent diabetes, especially in Hawaiʻi where adult-onset diabetes is an ongoing problem, there is no controversy or confusion.

Foods that cause the blood sugar to rise have what’s called a high glycemic index. These foods cause surges in blood sugar which cause insulin to be secreted from the pancreas. Insulin basically has one job, to convert high blood sugar into fat.


In short, minimize the foods with high glycemic index: potatoes, white rice, simple carbohydrates (sweets, cookies, cakes, Krispy Kreme), processed/refined foods (found in bags or boxes).

Familiarize yourself with low glycemic index foods (all green vegetables, lean proteins, brown rice) to help stabilize blood sugar and prevent surges. Here is a link to a good food chart which gives the Glycemic Index of many foods.


**The contents of this article such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained in this article (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.  Reliance on any information provided by in this article is solely at your own risk.
Nikki Schenfeld
Nikki joined the Maui Now team in 2016 as a writer/reporter. Originally from Chicago, she has had internships with CBS2 Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago where she had the opportunity to interview some of Chicago's best athletes. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. She moved to Maui in 2013.

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