Get a free weekly newsletter with recipe!

Diabetes and Weight Loss

A diabetic diet for weight loss is one of the most reliable ways to manage or even reverse a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. However, patients- and especially patients who take insulin- should seek the guidance of their physician to create a safe and effective plan.  Regardless of how overweight a patient may be, even a moderate shedding of pounds can substantially lower his or her blood glucose levels. In many cases, weight loss alone can allow patients to get off their insulin or other diabetes medications for good.

Weight loss is also essential for pre-diabetes patients, as it can help prevent the onset of full-blown diabetes. For instance, researchers at the National Institutes of Health recently discovered that people with elevated blood glucose levels reduced their risk of type II diabetes by an astounding 58% through diet and exercise alone.

According to the American Diabetes Association, losing even 10-15 pounds can have a significantly positive impact on a patient’s diabetic condition.

Losing weight leads to:

  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduction in  bad cholesterol
  • Less strain on joints
  • Increased energy levels
  • Better health

Talk to a doctor about starting a diabetic diet for weight loss

One physician group, The Center for Medical Weight Loss, has produced impressive results in treating people with type 2 diabetes, and those who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

The physicians at The Center for Medical Weight Loss are experts in showing you how to lose weight with a diabetes diet. Their success is achieved by designing personalized diet plans for diabetics. Each plan is created on the basis of the individual’s health condition, physical fitness level, metabolism, and the results of a specialized test called a body composition analysis.  These physician-supervised diet and exercise plans not only help their patients manage diabetes with weight loss, but also control their diabetes to the point where they can stop taking their medication.

According the Center’s founder Dr. Michael Kaplan, ““We see patients all the time who are able to reduce and even stop taking insulin, and are able to control their diabetes solely through diet.”

Patients currently taking insulin or other medication to treat their diabetes should consult with a healthcare provider before starting a diabetes diet. Medications may have to be adjusted to compensate for the change in glucose levels brought on by rapid weight loss.  In many cases, the quick reduction in a person’s weight will call for a decrease in of the amount of insulin being taken.

Diabetic diet for weight loss: general guidelines

The diabetes diet is not a crash diet. Patients must establish a moderate and continual change in their diets to ensure that blood glucose levels are tightly controlled at all times. Weight loss specialists recommend cutting about 500 total calories a day from the amount a patient currently consumes. All food types —fat, protein, and carbohydrates— should be reduced, though carbohydrate intake in particular needs to be limited. Read about managing diabetes with a healthy diet.

In general, the healthiest nutritional balance involves the following reductions:

  • Carbs: 50%
  • Fats: 30%
  • Protein: 15%

Carbs, diabetes, and weight loss

Carbohydrates have the biggest influence on blood glucose levels, because the body breaks them down into sugars during the digestive process. For this reason, carbohydrate consumption needs to be strictly controlled. Complex carbs such as vegetables and whole grains are preferred, because they are broken down more slowly by the body during digestion, and so are less apt to cause sudden changes in blood glucose levels.

Diabetes patients who diet without the supervision of a healthcare provider can often make the mistake of cutting carbs completely out of their diet. While this may lead to increased fat-burning and weight loss, it can also cause oxygen absorption in body tissue to decrease. This can result in dangerous strain on the eyes, kidneys, liver, and heart.

The balance is critical. Though taking in too many carbs can interfere with blood sugar levels as well as the goals of dieting for diabetes and weight loss, eating too few of them can have the same ill effects.  The Atkins diet, for example, which promotes drastic carb reduction and extreme protein intake, is not recommended for diabetes or pre-diabetes patients, who require a more balanced nutritional plan to maintain their sugar levels.

Diabetes diet pitfalls

Failing to pay close attention to the kinds of food taken in during a diabetes diet, as well as the amount of calories consumed, can lead to several dangerous health conditions.

  • Hypoglycemia: Reducing calories and losing weight can result in low blood sugar, which occurs when insulin levels spike. If not attended to, this condition can lead to dizziness, fainting, and even coma.
  • Hyperglycemia: High blood sugar levels can result in patients who start cutting carbs and losing weight, without making simultaneous adjustments to their doses of insulin or other medications.

Exercise is Essential

Even small amounts of daily exercise or physical activity can help keep blood sugar levels in check, and reduce the number of calories patients need to cut out of their diets in order to lose weight. In other words, the more you exercise, the more food you can eat and still lose weight. Combining diet with exercise also increases the likelihood that the weight will stay off once it is lost.

People on a diabetes diet should keep in mind that different kinds of exercise will impact their blood glucose levels in different ways.

  • Aerobic exercise: Running, walking, bicycling, swimming; all of these activities will lower blood sugar instantly.
  • Anaerobic exercise: Weight lifting and resistance exercises; these activities do not necessarily lower blood sugar immediately. It may take a few hours for sugar levels to drop after working with weights. Patients should prepare in advance for sudden crashes in blood sugar, and carry healthy snacks such as fruit with them to counteract it.

Learn more about diabetes and weight loss

The Center for Medical Weight is the largest group of non-surgical weight loss physicians in the country. Under the guidance of Dr, Michael Kaplan, they have helped thousands of patients navigate the challenges of losing weight, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, increasing physical activity, and feeling healthier than ever before.

To learn more about implementing a diabetic diet for weight loss, reversing diabetes, or to speak with a Center for Medical Weight Loss specialist, check out their website at centerformedicalweightloss.com.