Weight Is A Sensitive Issue For Many People And Getting To An Ideal Healthy Weight Is Easier Said Than Done But When You Have Diabetes There Are Huge Benefits To Losing Weight If You’re Carrying Extra Weight
Youll have more energy and youll reduce your risk of serious complications like heart disease and stroke. Losing weight can help with your diabetes control too. And if you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight could even mean going into diabetes remission.
But millions of people with diabetes find keeping to a healthy weight a huge struggle. You’re not alone in this, there’s support out there to help a good first step is to ask your healthcare team for help and advice.
On this page:
- Weight loss surgery.
Is The Dash Diet Helpful For Type 2 Diabetes
The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, was designed to lower blood pressure.
Like the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet emphasizes plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, dried legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
It also includes fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy products. It limits red meat, sweets, and foods high in saturated fat, sodium, or added sugar.
According to published in 2017, the DASH diet can be a nutrient-rich and sustainable eating plan for people with type 2 diabetes. It can also help reduce:
- blood pressure
They also include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Vegetarians typically eat eggs and dairy, but vegans dont.
One of six studies found that vegetarian diets were associated with lower levels of fasting blood sugar and long-term blood sugar management.
According to a 2018 review , eating more plant-based foods and fewer animal products could reduce the risk of insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes.
However, while it is possible to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet while meeting your nutritional needs with type 2 diabetes, not all vegetarian and vegan diets are created equal. Furthermore, just because a food is vegetarian or vegan doesnt mean that it contains beneficial nutrients.
Sometimes, when people try to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, they dont eat enough protein or sources of vitamins and minerals.
Diet Plans For Diabetics
The best weight loss plan for diabetes is the one that you can follow long term.
This may be a low-carb diet for some people or a low-fat diet for others. Below are examples of each, with a daily intake of 1,600 calories. This may or may not be the right number for you. You can estimate your calorie needs here.
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The Biggest Loser Diet
You’ll eat a specific percentage of carbohydrates, protein, and fat on this plan, which is based on the hit TV show.
The Biggest Loser Diet is healthy for people with diabetes and it’s something you can stick with, because no food groups are entirely off-limits, Smithson says.
The plan limits refined carbs and other high-carb foods, and that may be a good thing for people with diabetes, Brown-Riggs says. “It seems like a diet that’s balanced, and it follows the basic guidelines for people with diabetes,” she says.
Best Diabetic Diet Options
For our Best Diets of 2022 ranking, the Forbes Health editorial team created a Forbes Health Best Diets Panel of experts to analyze 19 diets in a variety of areas, including diabetic health.
The diets we identified as the Best Diets for People With Diabetes had the highest average scores across our panel of physicians and registered dietitians for diabetic health, which we defined as the diets ability to prevent type 2 diabetes or help diabetics manage their diabetes.
Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning a new diet or eating plan.
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What Are The Most Popular Diets For Someone With Type 2 Diabetes
There are countless diets on the planet, but the following are the three most popular for people who live with type 2 diabetes.
The more weight you lose, the more youll improve your blood sugar levels. But how you do it is largely up to you, says Michael Dansinger, MD, director of the Diabetes Reversal Program at Tufts Medical Center.
Some diets are healthier and safer than others, so make sure to talk with your doctor before you change your eating patterns. Always weigh the pros and cons of any diet before making a lifestyle change.
Schedule Your Meals Including Breakfast
A common characteristic among the NWCR participants is that most of them ate breakfast. Skipping breakfast is thought to possibly lead to overeating later in the day, which can sabotage weight loss plans and cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate. People who eat breakfast may also have more energy to stay more active throughout the day.
The importance of a morning meal for weight loss has been debated. One meta-analysis published in September 2014 in Advances in Nutrition showed that eating breakfast was associated with better weight loss, but another review of studies, published in January 2019 in BMJ, found that breakfast may not always lead to weight loss. Still, the ADA recommends eating breakfast every day. Experts say an effective diabetes diet involves eating three meals at regular times of the day to help the body better use insulin.
Breakfast should include fiber-rich, healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and low-fat dairy, to help keep blood sugar levels in check. Always review labels before you buy packaged foods, and skip cereals and other breakfast foods with added sugar.
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Your Weight Is Important
Losing weight will make it easier for your body to lower your blood sugar level, and can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol.
To know whether you’re overweight, work out your body mass index .
If you need to lose weight, it is recommended for most people to do it slowly over time. Aim for around 0.5 to 1kg a week.
The charity Diabetes UK has more information on healthy weight and weight loss.
There is evidence that eating a low-calorie diet on a short-term basis can help with symptoms of type 2 diabetes. And some people have found that their symptoms go into remission.
A low-calorie diet is not safe or suitable for everyone with type 2 diabetes, such as people who need to take insulin. So it is important to get medical advice before going on this type of diet.
Page last reviewed: 18 August 2020 Next review due: 18 August 2023
What Are The Pros And Cons Of The Keto Diet For Type 2 Diabetes
The keto diet is a low carb diet that emphasizes foods rich in protein and fat, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese, nuts, and seeds. It also includes nonstarchy vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and other leafy greens.
It limits foods high in carbohydrates, including grains, dried legumes, root vegetables, fruits, and sweets. Typically, ketogenic diets only include between
of nine studies, low carb diets could help enhance blood sugar management in people with type 2 diabetes while also improving levels of triglycerides and HDL cholesterol.
Another 2018 study had similar findings, reporting that the ketogenic diet could improve blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.
However, depending on the protein-rich foods that you choose, the keto diet and many other low carb diets can be high in saturated fat. You can decrease your consumption of saturated fat by limiting the amount of red meat, fatty cuts of pork, and high fat cheese that you eat.
It can also be challenging to get enough fiber while following the keto diet. For this reason, its important to eat plenty of low carb foods that are rich in fiber, including nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.
Still, more research is needed to learn about the long-term benefits and risks of the keto diet and other low carb approaches to eating.
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Goal : Achieve A Healthy Body Weight
Body mass index uses your height and weight to determine how much body fat you carry. A BMI of 18.5 to 25 is considered to be a healthy weight range with a healthy amount of body fat.
Another measure: waist circumference is considered by many to be a better measure of excess abdominal body fat. A waist circumference greater than 40 inches for men, and above 35 inches in women has been shown to increase the risk of developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
The closer you are to a healthy body weight or at least an acceptable waist circumference, the more likely you will be able to control, prevent, and possibly reverse your risks of diabetes.
Dont get overwhelmed by thinking about how much total weight you have to lose, Arevalo advises. Studies have shown that losing just 5-10% of your body weight will significantly improve your blood sugar levels as well as your cardiovascular health so set short-term goals of losing just 5-10 pounds to start.
How Much Exercise Do I Need
Again, not that much. According to research, 150 minutes per week is ideal, though some is always better than none. Activity is important because its one of the ways you can help your cells continue to respond to insulin, which again, helps keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.
With activity, its important to develop a routine that you dont mind doing most days. For many people, that means squeezing in a 30-minute walk five days per week, but for others, group fitness classes may be more enticing. If time is a challenge, consider taking shorter, 10-minute walks after meals or subscribing to a fitness app so you can work out consistently, even when you cant get to the gym. Studies suggest that sneaking in some activity about 30 minutes after a meal may be an especially good way to help transport glucose to your cells. So if it makes sense for you to take a stroll after dinner, that might be helpful. But my best advice when it comes to staying active is to find something you like doing and to fit it in when you can! Whether thats right when you wake up or at lunch with some walking buddies or any other time that suits you. When fitness is enjoyable and works into your schedule easily, its more likely to become a long-term habit, which will help keep your blood sugar levels healthy over time.
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Other Type 2 Diabetes Eating Plans
One of the main obstacles to diabetes care that we discussed before is that theres a great deal of conflicting information out there about which diet is best for you. Well touch on a few here, including the principles behind them and where they may fall flat as a diabetic diet.
Of course, always work with your dietitian or diabetes health care provider to ensure that your team is on the same page about what youre planning to eat.
Good For Flexibilityww For Diabetes
Starting at around $50 per month, the WW for Diabetes program was specially designed to help the unique needs of those with type 2 diabetes. Recognized as a National Diabetes Prevention Program by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the program is effective for treating pre-diabetes too. When tested on those with pre-diabetes, weight loss and blood sugar improvements were seen within six months and sustained for over a year.
The WW program for diabetes is scientifically proven and highly customizable. Youll still be able to do all your own grocery shopping and cook your own meals. WW offers individualized support and guidance via phone calls from a Certified Diabetes Educator and access to weekly in-person meetings. The program also provides an individualized meal and weight-loss plan based around its Smart Points system and is compatible with existing disease management programs.
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Type 2 Diabetes Meal Plan
We know that one of the hardest parts of adjusting to a diabetes diet can be the feeling like youre giving up a lot of your favorite foods.
Thats why weve put together a database of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks that will make you feel like youre not missing a beat! See how a week might look in our sample meal plan.
You can reach out to our coaches if youd like help putting together one of your own.
Most Effective Tips For Diabetes
Making healthier food choices is essential to reduce the risk of diabetes and manage it. Here are the best tips for people with type 2 diabetes
- Choose healthier carbohydrate alternatives such as whole grains, complex carbohydrates present in quinoa, brown rice, steel-cut oats, bran cereal, etc., to include in your diet.
- Eat fruits and vegetables with high-fiber content. They are suitable for a bowel movement and induce satiety.
- Choose pulses and legumes with a low glycemic index such as beans, chickpeas, and lentils. They are good sources of protein and fiber.
- Eat healthier fats by consuming nuts and seeds such as chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, pistachios, etc., as a snack between meals.
- If you are a non-vegetarian, prefer lean meat over other red meats. Make sure not to deep fry or grill meat.
- Consume healthier proteins with high biological value, such as Brussel sprouts, soy, chicken, turkey, fish, etc.
- Choose low-fat dairy options such as low-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, and soy milk, etc.
- Other foods to include in your diet should be those containing beneficial bioactive compounds. Some examples include fenugreek, cinnamon, bitter gourd, turmeric, millets, and legumes.
- It is essential to eat your meals on time and never skip a meal.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle with a moderate amount of physical activity for 20 to 30 minutes each day.
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What Is A Paleo Diet
Paleolithic diets include a moderate amount of protein, and have gained a lot of attention recently. The theory behind this dietary pattern is that our genetic background has not evolved to meet our modern lifestyle of calorically dense convenience foods and limited activity, and that returning to a hunter-gatherer way of eating will work better with human physiology. This has been studied in a few small trials, and it does seem beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
The Paleolithic diet is based on:
- Lean meat
- Any extra addition of salt
The Paleo Diet doesn’t specify macronutrient balance or caloric intake goals.
In reality, when people in a study followed the Paleolithic diet, it turned out the diet was lower in total energy, energy density, carbohydrates, dietary glycemic load, fiber, saturated fatty acids, and calcium but higher in unsaturated fatty acids , dietary cholesterol, and several vitamins and minerals. Research also demonstrates that people with diabetes are less hungry, have more stable blood sugar, and feel better with lower carbohydrate diets.
Diabetes Diet Sample Menus
Now that you know what foods are better if you have diabetes, putting the right foods on your plate is a matter of portions. The key to a balanced diet is planning meals using the diabetes plate methoddivide the plate into quarters: ¼ protein or meat, ¼ carbs, and 2/4 vegetable and fruit. If you want to lose weight, use 9-inch dinner plates and bowls so you arent piling the food on to a large dinner plate.
For example, fill half the plate with non-starchy veggies such as salad greens or steamed broccoli, and fill the remaining half of the plate with equal portions of a grain or starchy vegetable like mashed sweet potato, and a heart-healthy protein such as broiled salmon.
Here are some sample dinner menus to give you an idea of reasonable portion sizes that make up a healthy meal for someone with diabetes . In addition, the infographic above features a weeks worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas consistent with a diabetes diet plan.
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Plan Ahead For Healthy Meals
Planning healthier meals and snacks can go a long way to helping you reach your goals. Talk to your registered dietitian or health-care team about the amount of carbohydrates that are right for you and for help with meal planning. A weekly meal plan will help you shop for the right foods and encourage more cooking at home.
What Should You Eat If You Have Diabetes
In truth, a diet aimed at reducing the risks of diabetes is really nothing more than a nutritionally balanced meal plan aimed at supporting maintaining blood sugar levels within range and supporting a healthy weight.
For those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, the main focus of a diabetes-focused diet is being attentive to your weight. That said, a diabetic diet is simply an eating approach that works to keep you healthy, and so is not reserved only for people with diabetes. Your whole family can enjoy the same meals and snacks, regardless of whether others have diabetes or not.
YesThere are a few food decisions that will matter more if you do have diabetes. We provide you with some general guidelines to help you understand how much and how often to eat in order to maintain steady blood sugar levels. And, these recommendations hold true for anyone who has diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as prediabetes and gestational diabetes.
Diet really does matter, a lot!
In fact, if you were recently diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, by decreasing your weight by about 10%, you may even reverse your diabetes, putting it into remission.
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