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Weight plays an important role in diabetes, with heavier people having a greater chance of becoming diabetic than those within normal weight ranges. Eating healthy is an important component to managing diabetes and keeping blood sugar levels under control. Most people will experience some weight loss when they eliminate sugar from their diet, but often find their weight plateauing after a few weeks. Even better, people that have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will find that their medication can be reduced or eliminated after losing a significant amount of weight. For people with diabetes, weight loss diets can mean the difference between having to take a pill or having to shoot insulin, or they can completely stop taking any form of medication.
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The Right Diet
When looking for diabetes weight loss diets it is important to pick a plan that is healthy. According to the American Diabetes Association, women should consume 1,000 – 1,200 calories a day and men should consume 1,200 – 1,600 calories a day. A healthy weight loss is about one pound per week. There is no one true diabetic diet to lose weight, but there are several diets that can be followed, or customized, that have the reduced carbohydrate and sugar aspects that are needed by a person with diabetes. A person with diabetes cannot consume as much carbohydrates or fruit as other people because it turns into glucose and will raise blood sugar levels. A diabetic does not produce enough insulin to process this blood sugar on their own, and thus medication or insulin shots are needed.
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Low Carbohydrate Diets
Many diabetics are successfully following low carb diets like the Atkins Diet or the South Beach Diet. These diets focus on reducing or eliminating the intake of bad carbohydrates and replacing them with more healthy proteins and fats. Instead of eating cereal for breakfast, a person following a low carbohydrate diet will eat a veggie omelet. Lunch usually consists of a salad with chicken and light dressing. A dinner on a low carb diet is typically a piece of fish or lean meat, steamed vegetables and a small salad. Fruits are limited and beverages are primarily water, tea and coffee. Snacks usually include cheese, raw veggies or a hard boiled egg.
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Glycemic Index Diet
Some foods digest faster than others, with different speeds of glucose absorption into your bloodstream. A food with a high glycemic index, like potatoes, will digest quickly and cause a rapid increase of blood sugar levels. Skinless chicken breast has a low glycemic index and will only cause a slight, sustained increase in the level of sugar in your blood. So, the basis of the Glycemic Index diet is to eat five small meals that consist of low glycemic index foods to keep your blood sugar even throughout the entire day.
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A self directed diabetic diet is the recommended method to not only control your blood sugar levels, but to also lose weight. Since everybody has a slightly different body build and can react to foods in a different way, it is best to have a specific diet that will meet your individual needs. The ideal diet for a diabetic consists of 10 – 15 percent protein, 30 percent fat, and 50 – 55 percent carbohydrates. In order to lose a pound a week, cut 500 calories from your current diet. Don’t forget to exercise! A 20 minute walk a day can make a big difference in not only losing weight, but it will also help keep blood sugars regulated.
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Professional Nutritional Assistance
Always speak with your doctor before beginning any of the diabetes weight loss diets and have regular doctor visits while on the diet to make sure your glucose levels remain at an ideal level. As you lose weight, your medication will most likely need to be adjusted. Also consult with a diabetic nutritionist to make sure you are getting all the nutrition you need, without increasing your blood sugar levels. Your healthcare professionals may give you a few alternatives or may tweak your diet of choice so that it will work better for you.
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University of Maryland Medical Center, http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_weight_control_dietary_approaches_type_2_diabetes_000042_4.htm
Diabetes Guide, http://www.diabetes-guide.org/glycemic-index.htm
Lerch Davis, Jeanie. “Diabetes and Weight Loss: Finding the Right Path”, http://diabetes.webmd.com/features/diabetes-weight-loss-finding-the-right-path
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Telloxi