Best Diabetes Diet Tips

July 11, 2012

If you have diabetes and are also overweight, one of the very best things you can do for your health and your diabetes is to lose the excess weight. Doing so can greatly reduce or even completely eliminate the need for diabetes medications within just a few short weeks. However, dieting with diabetes can be tricky for a number of reasons and is not something you should try to do all on your own.

All doctors in The Center for Medical Weight Loss network are trained in managing the weight loss of patients with diabetes. We approach weight loss from a medical point of view, taking your total health picture into consideration. When you have diabetes and want to lose weight, working with such a program is safer and effective than a non-medically-based weight loss program.

For starters, losing weight when you have diabetes can be harder because many common diabetes medications can interfere with weight loss. Luckily, many new medication options have been introduced in recent years. Reviewing all of the medications a person is taking and switching to ones that won’t make losing weight even harder is one of the first steps we take.

Next, we communicate with all of the other health care providers involved (like the person’s primary care physician) to make sure nothing is being overlooked. In fact, many physicians send their patients with uncontrolled blood sugar levels to see us when medication isn’t working because they have found there’s no better way to control diabetes than with diet.

For example, one patient recently came to my office with blood sugar levels in the 350 range (120 is ideal). Despite trying multiple medications, his doctor could not get the dangerously high blood sugar levels under control. Within a month, we had his blood sugar levels down to 120 and he was able to stop taking diabetes medications entirely! Once he understood what and how to eat to keep his blood sugar levels in line, everything else fell into place. Today he’s lost the excess weight and continues to manage his diabetes without medication.

While eliminating sugary foods and simple carbs is a good start, the best diabetes diet focuses on calorie and portion control. Controlling calorie intake and eating smaller meals throughout the day rather than eating a few large meals is the goal. Large meals loaded with calories are a sure fire way to get blood sugar levels spiraling in the wrong direction.

One misconception is that there are special “diabetic foods” one should be eating. Not so. The same foods that are good for everyone (like non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins) are also good for people who have diabetes. The reverse is also true – junk foods that are bad for anyone are also bad for someone with diabetes.

It???s also important to note that people with diabetes are 10 times more likely to also have a heart condition, so while increasing activity levels is an important part of managing the disease and losing weight, anyone with diabetes should see a doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Understanding what and how to eat to keep your blood sugar levels in check is the best thing you can do to help manage your diabetes. It’s never too late to take action and turn your health around.

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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