Diabetes and Weight Management
Type 2 diabetes and obesity often go hand-in-hand. This is not to say that thin or slim people do not get Type 2 diabetes. However, an obese person is more likely and more susceptible to Type 2 diabetes than a slim person. Obesity can also complicate the management of diabetes due to increase in insulin resistance and higher blood glucose concentration.
For a Type 2 diabetic, the benefits of weight management will include better glycemic control, better insulin action, decrease blood glucose concentrations, reduces the need for diabetes medicines and also reduces the risk of diabetes complications like cardiovascular disease.
While moderate weight loss or physical activity or exercise can prevent or delay the development of diabetes, lifestyle changes are twice as effective in preventing Type 2 diabetes. Indeed, the best way to lose weight is through lifestyle changes rather than special diets.
Exercise has to be an important part of any weight management plan. Restricting calories to less than recommended quantity may produce results in the short term but is not only doomed to fail in the long term, it may also be counter productive. Regular physical activity will help maintain weight loss and prevent weight regain if accompanied by good food and eating habits. If you are currently suffering from diabetes, it is best you consult your doctor, a physical fitness trainer and a nutritionist.
Exercises can be performed at home and also be broken up into small physical activities (such as gardening). However, such exercises should be regular. You can vary the routine and type of exercise but it needs to be as regular as possible.
Exercise should form one half of your weight management plan. The other half is food. While ensuring you maintain a well balanced diet, we recommend cutting no more than 500 calories a day i.e. your daily calorie intake should be in the region of 1,700 or thereabouts. Involve your nutritionist because you don’t want to run the risk of high or low blood sugar. Any calorie reduction should come from all the food groups i.e. protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Remember that carbohydrate has the biggest effect on blood sugar. So the more complex the carbs, the better it is because they are absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream thereby cutting the risk of blood sugar spikes. Complex carbs are obtained from whole-grain bread and vegetables.
We recommend a reduction in meats, high-fat dairy products and oils. We also recommend an increased consumption of grains, legumes, and vegetables. Ideally, a diabetic should consume 3 to 4 servings of fibrous fruits and vegetables per day. Fibrous fruits and vegetables slow down the absorption of glucose. Drastically limit fruits like banana, mango, grapes, papaya and jack fruit and vegetables like potato, tapioca, and sweet potato as these contain a sizeable quantity of simple carbohydrates. Increase instead whole grains and whole grain breads.
Once again we emphasize that you should consult your doctor, nutritionist and physical fitness trainer before you make any changes to your lifestyle.