• Nutrition

Diabetes and Weight Loss

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Making weight loss a lifestyle

Losing weight isn’t always easy, but understanding how critical weight loss can be to controlling your diabetes is a step in the right direction.

How to Lose Weight When You Have Diabetes

There’s no question about it: If you're overweight and have type 2 diabetes, dropping kilos is critical to your health. Get tips on how to safely lose weight.

Learn More About Losing Weight

How Low-Calorie Plans Can Fit Into Diabetic Diets

When it comes to losing weight, simple is always best. Find out how a low-calorie diet can help you achieve your goals.

Learn More About Low-Calorie Diets

Are Low-Carb Diets Safe for People With Diabetes?

Get the facts on low-carb diets and whether they’re a good option for you.

Learn More About Low-Carb Diets

Weight loss how to

How to lose weight when you have diabetes

There’s no question about it: If you're overweight and have type 2 diabetes, dropping kilos is incredibly important to your health. But why is weight loss crucial for people with diabetes, and what are its long-term benefits?

What Are the Benefits of Weight Loss?

Losing weight when you have type 2 diabetes can improve your health and help you feel better overall. The American Diabetes Association® says that losing weight can help:

  • Lower blood sugar
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve cholesterol levels
  • Lighten the stress on hips, knees, ankles and feet

Tips for Achieving Weight Loss

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  • Set realistic goals. Gradual change is more likely to lead to permanent change. Break big goals into smaller goals. For example, try to walk 1.6 km in 15 minutes 3 times a day instead of walking 4.8 km in 45 minutes.
  • Keep a food record. Write down what and how much you plan on eating before you eat it. This will help you be more aware of your food intake. And don’t forget to write down those calorie-containing drinks!
  • Keep temptation foods out of the house. When you’ve got a serious craving, buy it — but only one portion of it. Eat and enjoy it, but then forget it. If you buy a larger amount, you’ll be more likely to eat it until it’s all gone.
  • Exercise regularly. Studies have shown that people with diabetes who exercise regularly have better HbA1C levels (average amount of sugar in your blood over a 3 month period) than those who don’t. Start out slow and work your way up to a regimen that’s best for you. Be sure to check your blood sugar before and after exercise, drink plenty of water, and carry a snack to treat low blood sugar. And of course, make sure you check with your Healthcare Professional before you begin any exercise routine.
  • Measure all food and drink for at least two weeks. Use the same size plates, cups, bowls, and glasses to help control portions. Re-measure once or twice a month to prevent portion sizes from creeping back up. Once you know serving sizes, you can start to eyeball your portions.
  • Stick with the measuring tape. When it comes to shedding body fat, the scale isn’t always your friend. Keep in mind that the best way to slim down is to change your eating habits while increasing physical activity. Exercising, however, builds muscle mass — and that’s a good thing. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. But because muscle weighs more than fat, seriously increasing your muscle mass will cause your weight to go up. So don’t be fooled by the number on the scale. Relying on a measuring tape will let you keep an eye on the centimetres you lose around your waist, hips, thighs, and upper arms.
  • Meal replacements. Glycaemic control is fundamental to effective short – and long-term management of diabetes, and lipid control is likewise essential.

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Diabetes and low calorie diets

How low calorie plans can fit into diabetic diets

Forget the diet of the month club. If you have diabetes and want to lose weight, cutting calories is the best place to start. This doesn’t mean you have to stop eating your favourite foods — but it does mean eating less.

  • Getting Started: Track Your Intake
  • How to Cut Calories for Weight Loss
  • How Sugar Substitutes Can Save You Calories

Getting Started: Track Your Intake

Start out by taking a look at how much you eat. An easy way to do this is by writing down what you eat each day — and how much. Do it for at least three days to get a good idea.

Serving Sizes

Now take a look at your list compared to the serving size guide below. How does it stack up?

FoodServing Size
Meat, fish, poultry85 g (about the size of the palm of the hand)
Cheese28 g (about the size of your thumb)
Milk, yogurt, fresh vegatables1 cup (about the size of tennis ball)
Breadone slice
Cooked rice1/3 cup
Potato or corn1/2 cup
Dry cereal3/4 cup

If the serving sizes on your list are much larger, it’s time for a change. You can start by using measuring cups and spoons to control your portion sizes. After a while, you’ll be able to eyeball the amounts.

How to Cut Calories for Weight Loss

You can cut calories across the board — from protein, carbohydrates, and fat. But keep in mind that maintaining a healthy ratio of carbs, fat, and protein is crucial. Your diabetes educator or dietician can help you find the balance that’s right for you. The following can be a helpful starting point:

  • 45% to 65% carbs
  • 15% to 20% protein
  • The remaining percentage from fat

How Sugar Substitutes Can Save You Calories

Instead of cutting out your favourite desserts and treats, try options sweetened with artificial sweeteners. By replacing sugar-sweetened drinks and sweet foods with artificially sweetened versions, you can significantly reduce your calorie intake. These sweeteners don’t have any carbohydrates and don’t increase blood glucose levels, so if you have diabetes and a sweet tooth, using sugar substitutes is a good way to enjoy a sweet treat.

Check out some ways sugar substitutes can help you cut calories:

  • Replace regular sodas with light soda. You’ll save yourself about 150 calories and almost 40 grams of carbs.
  • If you sweeten your coffee with 2 teaspoons of sugar, try using a packet of artificial sweetener instead. You’ll get a zero-calorie, zero-carb cup of coffee instead of the extra 32 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrate from that tiny bit of sugar.
  • Instead of having a serving of regular yoghurt, try a serving of artificially sweetened light yoghurt. You’ll spare yourself almost 100 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrate.

Remember: Losing weight isn’t easy. It takes time and commitment to a healthy lifestyle. A Healthcare Professional or Dietician can help put together a program that fits you and your lifestyle — one with realistic goals.

Diabetes and low carb diets

Are low carb diets right for people with Diabetes?

Weight control is a cornerstone of care for people with type 2 diabetes. Low-carb diets are very popular among people who want to lose weight. But are these types of diets an option for people with diabetes?

  • How Do Low-Carb Diets Work?

    The developers of low-carb diets claim that eating carbohydrates results in excess insulin production, which promotes the storage of calories as body fat. Some say that when you limit carb intake, less insulin will be produced, and weight loss will occur regardless of the balance between calorie intake and calorie output.

  • Are Low-Carb Diets Effective for Weight Loss?

    While low-fat diets are often recommended for weight loss, studies have shown low-carbohydrate diets are also effective for weight loss. The American Diabetes Association® (ADA) supports the use of low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss.As carbohydrates cause your blood sugar to rise, people often assume they are “bad” or indulgent. But carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. They are the body’s main energy source and should be included as part of your daily meal plan, together with proteins and fats. Carbs are the most important thing to consider when your goal is tight blood sugar control.

  • Are Low-Carb Diets Safe?

    In the past, the ADA has supported low-fat, calorie-restricted diets as a weight-loss method, and didn’t recommend low-carb diets because of a lack of evidence supporting their safety and effectiveness. But the new ADA guidelines state that both low-fat and low-carb diets are equally effective at helping people lose weight over the course of two years. However, if you choose to go the low-carb route, ADA guidelines recommend that you make sure you talk to your Healthcare Professional about monitoring your blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides), kidney function, and medications. Digestible carbohydrate intake should not fall below 130 grams per day.