The Best Diabetes Friendly Diets to Help You Lose Weight
Losing just 5% to 10% of your total weight can help you lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Losing weight and eating healthier can also have a profound effect on your mood, energy, and sense of wellbeing. People with diabetes have nearly double the risk of heart disease. They are at a greater risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for everyone. Still, if you have diabetes, excess weight makes it harder to control your blood sugar levels and may increase your risk for some complications. Losing weight can be extra challenging for people with diabetes. Suppose you’ve just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In that case, the prospect of giving up the foods you love may seem daunting or even devastating. But you may be relieved to know that a good diet for type 2 diabetes isn’t as complicated or out of the ordinary as you might expect.
What Is a Good Diet for Type 2 Diabetes?
A diabetic diet doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t have to give up all your favourite foods. The first step to making smarter choices is to separate the myths from the facts about eating to prevent or control diabetes.
Always keep the following points in mind:
- You can enjoy your favourite treats as long as you plan properly and limit hidden sugars. Dessert doesn’t have to be off-limits, as long as it’s a part of a healthy meal plan.
- The type of carbohydrates you eat as well as serving size is vital. Focus on whole grain carbs instead of starchy carbs since they’re high in fibre and digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more even.
- The principles of healthy eating are the same—whether or not you have diabetes. Expensive diabetic foods generally offer no particular benefit.
- Studies have shown that overeating protein, especially animal protein, may cause insulin resistance, a key factor in diabetes.
- A healthy diet includes protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Our bodies need all three to function properly. The key is a balanced diet. A person with diabetes must consider several factors when deciding on the best way to lose weight.
- Factors to take into account include their age, general health, and how much weight they have to lose. It is best to talk to a healthcare professional before starting any new weight-loss plan.
The best weight-loss diet for someone with diabetes is one they will stick to long-term. The following diets involve making beneficial long-term changes to help a person lose weight safely:
Eat more of the following food items:
- Healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, fish oils, flax seeds, or avocados.
- Fruits and vegetables—ideally fresh, the more colourful, the better; whole fruit rather than juices.
- High-fibre cereals and loaves of bread made from whole grains.
- Fish and shellfish, organic chicken or turkey.
- High-quality protein such as eggs, beans, low-fat dairy, and unsweetened yoghurt.
Eat less or avoid the following food items
- Packaged and fast foods, especially those high in sugar, baked goods, sweets, chips, desserts.
- White bread, sugary cereals, refined portions of pasta or rice.
- Processed meat and red meat.
- Low-fat products that have replaced fat with added sugar, such as fat-free yoghurt.
Choose high-fibre, slow-release carbs
Carbohydrates have a significant impact on your blood sugar levels—more so than fats and proteins—so you need to be smart about what types of carbs you eat. Limit refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as soda, candy, packaged meals, and snack foods. Focus on high-fibre complex carbohydrates—also known as slow-release carbs. They are digested more slowly, thus preventing your body from producing too much insulin.
What is meant by the term “white foods”?
When nutritionists warn against white foods, they typically mean refined sugar, rice, flour, pasta, and other processed foods such as cereals, white bread, and crackers. The main problem with these foods is the degree of processing, which strips away most of its nutritional content and lacks fibre. They are usually full of empty calories and make you feel full but add close to zero nutritional content.
However, all-white foods are not necessarily bad for you.
- Quinoa, oats, and potatoes, for instance, are all excellent sources of fibre, as well as vital vitamins and minerals.
- Cauliflower is one of the richest sources of vitamin K. Garlic, another white consumable, contains organo-sulphur and flavonoids. These compounds boost immunity, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and protect against cancer.
- Other healthy white-foods include radishes, pine nuts, white beans, onions, mushrooms, and turnips.
The Mediterranean diet
It involves food choices and cooking styles typical of some places in the Mediterranean region. The diet includes:
- plenty of vegetables
- whole grains
- fruits in moderation
- nuts and seeds
- herbs and spices
- olive oil
The Mediterranean diet is the most favourable for changes in insulin and fasting glucose levels. Those following the Mediterranean diet also lost an average of 1.5 kilograms (kg), or 3.3 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet.
Low-carb diets are a popular weight loss plan. Typically, low-carb diets limit a person's intake of carbohydrates and include higher amounts of protein and healthful fats. Examples of foods that to avoid on a low-carb diet include:
- white bread
People on a low-carb diet should eat plenty of vegetables and get lots of protein from fish, lean meats, and eggs.