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Diabetic Weight Loss Diets

written by: Bobby Mathew • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 3/25/2011

Weight loss diets for diabetics work in many ways, but they all have one goal - keeping you healthy so you can live longer. Find out three effective dieting strategies that will help you steer clear of the complications of diabetes.

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    Weight loss isn't easy for anyone. It especially isn't easy for diabetics. Nonetheless, with the right attitude, many diabetics can achieve their goals. One way they can achieve their goals is through diet. Weight loss diets for diabetics should do two things. They should lower blood sugar levels and allow one to lose weight and keep it off. If you can do one, you can do the other. This article talks about three effective dieting strategies that will allow you to lose weight if you're a diabetic.

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    The Glycemic Index

    Carbohydrates have the biggest effect on blood sugar. This doesn't mean that you have to avoid them completely. What you should do is eat complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are carbohydrates that are slowly processed by your digestive system. They result in a more gradual rise in blood sugar and are therefore preferable over simple carbohydrates.

    A good way to keep carbohydrates from causing high blood sugar spikes is to use the glycemic index (www.glycemicindex.com). The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates break down into your blood sugar. Whole wheat bread is a better choice than a slice of white bread according to this scale, provided that you are eating the same amount of carbohydrates. Adding protein or fat to a carbohydrate can also lower its glycemic index. If your blood sugars are under control, it is easier to lose weight.

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    Calorie Restriction and the Plate System

    Remember that although cutting down on carbohydrates is a common strategy in weight loss diets for diabetics, it can be dangerous if done to the extreme. It can lead to ketoacidosis and stress the organs of the body. Therefore, it's important to keep a balanced and reasonable ratio of macro nutrients in your diet. This means 50 to 55 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates, 10 to 15 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fat.

    Reducing your overall caloric intake may be a better option for some. You can go about doing this through many different ways. Calorie counting is one way. Get used to reading labels and be ready to do some math. One pound of body fat is equal to 3,500 calories. By cutting 500 calories in a day, it is possible to lose a pound in one week. This is provided that you are eating 500 calories less than what you need to maintain your weight.

    If this doesn't work for you, use the plate system. Imagine that your plate is divided in half. Now imagine that one of those halves is divided again so that you now have three parts. Half of the whole plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, 1/4 with meat or protein and 1/4 with a carbohydrate from the breads/grains group.

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    With All This Talking, What Has Been Said?

    Remember that in weight loss diets for diabetics you should control what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat. Eat mostly plant-based foods and avoid refined and simple carbohydrates. Regular meal times are important to keep blood sugars stable. Don’t skip meals and monitor your portion sizes.

    No diet is a single methodology to controlling a chronic illness like diabetes. Diet used in conjunction with exercise can yield far better results than either of the two alone. Remember that slow and gradual reductions in body mass are safer and more beneficial to your health than a quick weight loss regimen. Always consult with your doctor before starting any type of diet or weight loss plan.

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    References

    [1] Web MD: http://diabetes.webmd.com/features/diabetes-weight-loss-finding-the-right-path

    [2] University of Maryland Medical Center: http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_weight_control_dietary_approaches_type_2_diabetes_000042_4.htm