Weight Loss Can Help Control Diabetes

Time14:30 Date29-06-2020 Hits537 Views

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.
You'll have more energy, feel better in yourself, and you'll reduce your risk of serious complications like heart disease and stroke.


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 certainly not alone. If you feel overwhelmed with your feelings about food and diabetes, we have plenty of information to help you.

Around 60% of people with Type 1 diabetes and around 85% of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.

Benefits of losing extra weight
There are so many benefits to losing extra weight - both physically and emotionally.

Extra weight around your waist means fat can build up around your organs, like your liver and pancreas. This can cause something called insulin resistance. So losing this weight could help the insulin you produce or the insulin you inject work properly.

And as you start to lose weight and get more active, you and your healthcare team may need to look at your medication, especially if you treat your diabetes with insulin or sulphonylurea. This might mean reducing the dose or making other adjustments but talk to your healthcare team about it. For some people, needing fewer diabetes medications is a great motivation for losing weight.

Although getting Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with weight, losing any extra weight will help you reduce your risk of complications and could mean injecting less insulin.

And if you have Type 2 diabetes, losing around 15kg could even put you into diabetes remission. This could mean coming off your diabetes medication completely - a life-changing possibility. This is even more likely if you lose the weight nearer to your diagnosis and quickly - it's a myth that losing weight slowly is better for you.

Most people say they also feel better in their mood, have more energy, and sleep better.

Diabetes diet plans to lose weight
There is no such thing as a special diet exclusively for people with diabetes. There are a lot of different ways to lose weight - but there's no one-size-fits-all diet.

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It starts with finding a way to eat fewer calories than you need.
A calorie (or kcal) is a unit of energy, which is in the food and drink we consume. Your body uses energy for everything we do - from breathing and sleeping to exercising. When you eat, you're replacing the energy you've used, which helps you to maintain a healthy weight.

As a general guide, government recommendations are that men need around 2,500kcal a day to maintain a healthy weight, and women need around 2,000kcal a day. But most people need different amounts of calories based on how their bodies work, how active they are, and any weight management goals.

We put together some 7-day meal plans to help you lose weight. They're all clinically approved, nutritionally balanced, calorie and carb counted, and can help if you want to lose weight:

Low-carb diet plan
- Mediterranean diet plan
- Lower-calorie diet plans, like 1,200 or 1,500 calories a day
- Evidence shows that the best approach is the one that you're likely to stick to. So the key is to find a plan that you enjoy and fits in with the rest of your life. Everyone's different and what works for some may not for others.

Low-calorie and very low-calorie diets
A low-calorie diet is made up of between 800 to 1200 calories a day - our DiRECT study used a low-calorie diet of around 850 calories a day. But DiRECT is not a diet. It's testing a weight-management program, delivered in GP practices.

Then there's a very low-calorie diet, which means having less than 800 calories a day.

We haven't created low or very-low-calorie meal plans as these could be challenging using foods. Most people who follow these diets use special meal replacement products that are nutritionally complete. If you chose to try a low-calorie diet like the one in DiRECT, speak to your GP or nurse first, especially if you use medications like insulin.

Other diets
A low GI diet can help you manage your blood sugar levels, but the evidence for people with diabetes losing weight is not very strong.

There are other popular diets, like intermittent fasting (such as the 5: 2 diet) and the Paleo diet. Unfortunately, there isn't enough strong evidence to say these are effective for weight loss in people with diabetes either.

Commercial weight-loss programs
Some people feel that they need more support and choose to join a commercial weight-loss program. These usually involve calorie-controlled eating plans or meal replacements, like milkshakes or bars.

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It's really important to ask lots of questions about these programs, so you've got all the evidence and information you need to make an informed decision. Here are some ideas:

  • Has a healthcare professional been involved?
  • Does the program offer advice on your diabetes (especially if you're at risk of hypos)?
  • Are you getting all the nutrition you need from this program?
  • Does the program give support and education?
  • Whether you choose to try one of our meal plans or another type of diet, it's really important that you talk it through with your diabetes team first. Starting a new diet will affect your medication or blood sugar levels, so you need their knowledge and support.

Top 5 tips for losing weight

  1. Set clear goals and monitor your progress.
  2. Choose the diet that fits your lifestyle - you're more likely to stick to it.
  3. Get support from your healthcare team, and talk to family and friends about how it's going and how you're feeling.
  4. Plan ahead and think about how special events and holidays fit into your long-term weight loss plans.
  5. Reward yourself for achieving short-term goals, and get support to cope with setbacks.

Source: diabetes.org.uk

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