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Diabetes Can Be Reversed With a Healthy Diet

Ryan | June 29th, 2012

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Type 2 diabetes does not have to be a permanent condition.

That’s because the best diet plans for diabetics will not only help manage the disease, but in many cases can completely reverse it. That means that solely by following a healthy weight loss program combining diet and exercise, diabetes patients can lower their blood sugar levels to the point where they can stop taking insulin or other medications.

Diabetics who lose even a little weight will see a major improvement in their condition. Shedding 15-20 pounds can:

  • Lower blood glucose levels
  • Reduce hypertension (blood pressure)
  • Lower bad cholesterol levels
  • Relieve the stress on the joints, such as hips, knees, and ankles
  • Increase energy and improve mobility

Doctors agree that healthy weight loss will produce positive results for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. However, diabetics are cautioned to seek out the supervision of a physician before dieting or starting a regular exercise program. Reducing calories and working out are inherently beneficial for the body, but they can also have a substantial effect on blood sugar levels. As a patient’s average glucose levels decrease, the amount of insulin or other prescription medication he or she takes will have to be adjusted to avoid drastic spikes or drops in blood sugar.

“We see diabetic patients all the time who lose weight and no longer need insulin,” reports Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder and chief medical officer of the Center for Medical Weight Loss, the largest group of non-surgical weight loss doctors in the country. “When patients lose 5% – 10% of their body weight, it is a given that they will reduce their blood sugar significantly; many no longer need medication.”

Diet plans for diabetics: the basics

  • Don’t cut carbs completely: The first tenet of most diet plans for diabetics is to lower their calorie intake by 500 a day. But not all calories are equal! The key is to proportion the calories a person consumes amongst the three major food elements: proteins, carbs, and fats. All three are necessary to ensure a balanced diet, but for diabetics looking to achieve healthy weight loss, the following parameters should be followed: 15% protein, 30% fat, 55% carbohydrates.
  • Eat your veggies: Many diabetes patients are under the misapprehension that cutting out carbohydrates from their diet is the best way to lower their blood sugar, since the body breaks carbs down into sugars during digestion. Instead, diabetics should closely monitor their carb intake, making sure to select meals made up of “complex” carbs like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Complex carbs are absorbed more slowly by the body, and therefore are less likely to cause dramatic shifts in glucose levels.
  • Say no to the high-protein craze: High-protein diets — the Atkins diet might be the most popular — can be potentially dangerous for diabetes patients. That’s because the extreme reduction of carbs from the diet causes a dramatic transformation of a person’s metabolism. The body will start to burn fat calories at an accelerated rate, which is normally a big plus for people whose goal is rapid weight loss or weight management. For diabetics, however, it can result in serious organ injuries, as oxygen is prevented from being delivered to the heart, liver, and kidneys.
  • Hit the treadmill: Blood sugar levels will drop significantly after even a small amount of exercise, particularly aerobic activities like running, cycling, swimming … or even just a walk around the block.

Achieving healthy weight loss goals

Under the personal supervision of a physician at The Center for Medical Weight Loss, thousands of patients have not only achieved their weight loss goals, but have kept the pounds from creeping back. According to published studies on the program, virtually 100% of patients maintained weight loss after one year.

The weight lost isn’t insignificant, either: The American Journal of Medicine reported that the average patient lost 28 pounds in 12 weeks.

“This is just the average weight loss,” explains Dr. Kaplan. “If you’re heavy to begin with, you can expect to lose much more.”

The Center for Medical Weight Loss operates 450 locations throughout the U.S. To see if there’s one near you, enter your zip code in the Find a Center box above. Or to find out more about the program, or get special diet tips from Dr. Kaplan, visit the Center’s website at www.centerformedicalweightloss.com.