Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of diabetes management. If you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight can be your first line of defense against the disease. In fact, losing just 5 to 10 pounds can reduce the amount of diabetes medication you take. Excess weight around the midsection is particularly problematic for those with type 2 diabetes because the extra fat puts pressure on the pancreas and decreases insulin production.
If you lose a moderate amount of weight with diabetes, you can:
- Improve your circulation
- Get better A1C test results
- Improve your insulin resistance
- Decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduce your risk of sleep apnea
- Increase your energy
- Improve your mood
It’s important not to rely on fad diets because they are hard to sustain over long periods of time. They can also leave you feeling burned out and unmotivated to continue healthy eating. Instead, focus on making small changes to your diet, like having days where you eat low-carb and cutting out high-calorie, sugary drinks. However, if you work well with structured diets, doctors recommend low-carb diets like the paleo and ketogenic diet for those with diabetes.
One way to make sure you’re eating healthier foods is to refer to the glycemic index (GI). Foods lower on the GI take longer to digest and help you avoid blood sugar spikes and lows. Food on the GI is measured in relation to glucose (100). Foods with a low GI measure 55 or less, medium are 56-69, and foods with a high GI are 70 or more.
Remember: small changes sustained over time can equal big results later.