diabetes is a leading cause of death in the U.S. Nearly 30 million Americans have the disease, primarily Type 2 diabetes. The diabetes obesity epidemic is so widespread that doctors are using weight loss surgery to treat Type 2 diabetes. 90% of diabetics are obese or overweight. Bariatric or metabolic surgery gets sugar numbers down immediately, even before patients lose weight (it takes a few days after surgery). You can avoid bariatric surgery and halt prediabetes and even Type 2 diabetes with diet.

Stop Type 2 diabetes: do the math

An ounce of diet is worth a pound of surgery.

Prediabetes (also called insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome) is a condition where sugar levels are high but not high enough to be Type 2 diabetes (that's the lifestyle diabetes kind you get from poor diet and little exercise). Early detection and intervention are key, so have your blood sugar tested regularly. Elevated numbers are a warning sign of insulin resistance so get them down before Type 2 diabetes sets in.

Lose sugar, lose weight, lose diabetes

Metformin may control prediabetes and obesity and help you avoid weight loss surgery. What will always work is changing diet and losing weight. First, cut booze, soda, and diet pop. Avoid artificial sweeteners except Splenda (stevia). Chef Rocco DiSpirito recommends Splenda in limited quantities.

You may be able to eat some sweets in moderation. So budget sugar calories. The trick is moderation, using single-bite desserts. Train yourself to enjoy smaller portions of food you love.

Tame the sweet tooth

Enjoy a little dessert now and then. But it shouldn't be a constant craving,sugar addiction, or unnaturalfood relationship.

Candy is food not friends. Use weight loss CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) to teach yourself you don't need or want sweets and that you don't like them as much as you used to. Pretty soon, you'll believe it.Trick yourself into eating less. Cut a small slice and eat only half. Tell yourself you'll finish it later, and then don't.

Share dessert. Order a smaller portion, eat only half and give the rest to someone else. Or take it home for later.

Change your sugar and your mind

Most desserts have about 75 percent more sugar than they need. They don't even taste as good with so much sugar. Cut sugar in half and most recipes will taste as good or better. Sweeten with spices--cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger--to give the impression of sweetness. Sweeten with applesauce or fruit juice. Add berries and fruit to cereal, oatmeal, and plain yogurt. Switch to whole fruit and nix juice where the sugar is concentrated. Berries, apples, and grapefruit are the best fruit options. Soon you'll be satisfied without any sweetener.Treats are good for you and foods with lots of refined sugar are unhealthy.

So treats are healthy foods. Retrain yourself that fruit or a yogurt-fruit parfait is dessert. Call it dessert names so it sounds more decadent.Switch to healthier sweets like 70% dark chocolate. 70 percent or higher cacao is the good-for-you-chocolate, and burns belly fat. Use monkfruit juice or stevia.