3 Important Weight Loss Tips for Diabetics

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for anyone’s health, but if you have diabetes, it is even more so.  Having your weight under control will make it easier to cope with your condition, which if poorly managed, increases your risk for developing a slew of other serious health problems such as heart disease. If you are currently struggling with weight loss, here are some suggestions that have been tested on people with diabetes specifically.

Intensive Lifestyle Change May Achieve at Least Partial Remission

Diabetes has always been thought of as a condition that cannot be cured, but only managed once diagnosed; this may not be completely true however. The importance of weight loss for overweight diabetics is a well-established; bariatric surgery, which is used to promote weight loss in the extremely obese, has been reported to drastically improve symptoms of the condition, even remission in some cases. But, until recently, the effects of non-surgical methods on achieving remission have not been thoroughly examined, and a study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control sought to shed some light on the subject. Their results, which were published in a December 2012 issue of JAMA produced some encouraging findings for diabetics.

Over 4,500 adults (who had a BMI of at least 25 and type 2 diabetes) were assigned counseling and intensive lifestyle interventions or just counseling on diet, exercise and social support. The group that was assigned the lifestyle change program lost significantly more weight than the group that was just counseled on how to eat and exercise. This group also had a larger number of participants who achieved total or partial remission—total remission was classified as no longer needing medications to manage glucose levels throughout the entire 4 year study, while partial remission was achieving glucose levels considered normal or prediabetic without medication for at least part of the study.

Partial remission was more common than total, but the findings are important in that they show that weight loss has the potential to not just help manage symptoms, but reverse some of the damage, at least partially. The lifestyle intervention group followed a diet that consisted of 1,200 to 1,800 calories daily, which was primarily achieved by lowering fat intake and exercised for 175 minutes a week.

Mindful Eating as a Weight Loss Tool

Many of our problems in life stem from mindlessness—we are just not aware of what we are doing, which means we continue to do the things that cause us problems. Being more mindful is key to positive change, whether we are talking about our diet or how we interact with the people around us. Learning to eat more mindfully may benefit the weight loss goals of diabetics specifically, according to a 2012 study at Ohio State University. Researchers there divided overweight diabetic patients (a BMI of at least 27)into two groups—one that learned techniques to help them eat mindfully—which is essentially training yourself to eat only in response to actual hunger—and one that received education in nutritional guidelines for managing diabetes, such as food choices, what to eat when at a restaurant,etc…

The mindful eating technique was equally successful as the nutritional education approach, with both groups losing a similar amount of weight. This is good news for diabetics, who may often feel a lot of anxiety about planning their diet. This does not mean to completely disregard the basic principles of eating with diabetes, but simply learning to tune into your body better and recognizing when you actually need to eat, you can better achieve your weight loss goals.

Determining the Balance of Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates

When it comes to losing weight, there are lots of different theories floating around about how much of your diet should be comprised of these three primary nutrients. Whether or not there is one best diet has not been established and different approaches may work best for different people, but recent research examining the effects on diabetics specifically may help you in reaching your weight loss goals. Overweight diabetics were assigned to one of two diets. One was high- protein and  low- fat, and consisted of 30 percent fat, 40 percent carbohydrate and 30 percent protein; the other diet was low-fat, high carbohydrate, and consisted of 55 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent protein and 30 percent fat. Researchers found that both interventions resulted in similar amounts of weight loss and other changes. This study suggests that when it comes to losing weight with diabetes, lowering fat intake appears to be the most important thing, not the amount of carbohydrates or the amount of protein, so keep that in mind when planning your diet.

Kelli Cooper, a contributor to the site Weight Loss Triumph, is a freelance writer who specializes in health and wellness content. Here you will find a wealth of information on all aspects of weight loss, such as articles on diet and exercise as well as reviews of popular weight loss programs. Kelli herself is very passionate about wellness and enjoys writing pieces that help people improve their lifestyle.

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