How to Choose the Right Diet for Weight Loss If You Have Diabetes


Most people with Type II diabetes have been on more than one diet in the past (Type I people tend to be naturally thin). Those diets have been more or less successful—for a time. But the weight almost always comes back, usually in greater measure than what was lost in the first place, so that over the years the pounds escalate—slowly but steadily.

Many also have tried every fad and crash diet that has come along and have been able to stick to those for less time than a “regular” diet. Some people have even been desperate enough to try surgery: removal of a large part of the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed, insertion of a balloon in the stomach to create a feeling of fullness, or gastric stapling to decrease the size of the stomach. These procedures work for a time, but they, too, ultimately fail and weight goes back up.

Weight Loss

Crash diets are useless for the most part, but for diabetics, they can be especially dangerous. Most of them do not constitute what could even remotely be thought of as a balanced diet and are thus lacking in specific nutrients (and overloaded with others). If you are taking insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents, a nutritional imbalance could lead to serious hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.

There is, alas, only one way to lose weight and keep it off: eat less and exercise more. The details of a weight loss diet are a bit more complex, but in the end, those are the essentials. It’s a matter of burning off more calories than you take in, so that your body will have to use stored fat as a source of energy rather than rely on what you feed it.

Reducing calories can slow down metabolism, the rate at which you burn calories. Therefore, it is especially important to increase your physical activity when you begin your weight re­duction program, because exercise increases metabolism. It’s a two-part process, both of which are equally important.

Maintaining a reasonably normal weight is especially impor­tant for diabetics for a number of reasons:

  • Excess weight places an added strain on the cardiac, vascular, and respiratory systems, which predispose one to cardiovascu­lar pulmonary diseases, of which diabetics are at higher risk than nondiabetics. One important way to minimize risk is to lose weight.
  • • In Type II diabetes, being overweight interferes with the body’s ability to use insulin. Losing weight alone, that is, with­out taking medication, often results in a significant drop in blood glucose. Even a loss of ten to twenty pounds, or 10 per­cent of your body weight, will show up as a pleasant surprise on your blood glucose monitor—as well as on your bathroom scale.
  • • Weight loss affects the amount of insulin or oral hypoglycemic agent that a diabetic requires. In some cases, losing sufficient weight means that you don’t need to take medication at all.
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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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