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What is the best diet for weight loss for people with Diabetes or at risk for Diabetes?

There is no specific diet for people with Prediabetes or Diabetes. Losing weight results from decreasing caloric intake and increasing physical activity. It is recommended for people with Diabetes to eat a diet low in carbohydrates as these increase blood sugars more than foods high in protein. The best way to eat is to have a diet that incorporates all food groups; proteins, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.

Do people with Diabetes have a hard time losing weight?

People with Diabetes have a hard time losing weight like everybody else. Certain medications used to treat Diabetes do make weight loss more difficult. Always consult your physician before making changes to your diet or nutrition.

How much do I have to exercise per week?

The American Diabetes Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week. This can be broken down to 30 minutes 5 days per week or however is most attainable for a certain person. You can slowly work up to the goal of 150 minutes per week. Any exercise is better than none.

How much weight do I have to lose to reduce my risk of Diabetes?

We usually recommend starting with a modest goal of losing 5-10% of your current body weight. It has been shown that the risk of developing Diabetes is less with every 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight loss.

Are some carbohydrates better than others for people with Diabetes or to prevent Diabetes?

In general complex carbohydrates like whole grains and those rich in dietary fiber like certain fruits and vegetables, will raise your sugars less than simple carbohydrates like white bread, crackers, juices and potatoes.

If my mother has Diabetes, does that mean I am going to get it too?

Family history can increase your risk of developing Diabetes but this does not mean you are “destined” to become diabetic. There are other factors that can contribute to the development of Diabetes such as environmental factors including poor diet and lack of exercise. You can reduce that risk by maintaining a normal weight, eating a healthy diet and incorporating regular physical exercise into your lifestyle.

Do people with Type 2 Diabetes ever need insulin?

The body naturally produces insulin but some people with Diabetes can either become resistant to insulin or stop producing insulin. This in turn results in some people with Type 2 Diabetes to need insulin.

If I start medication, does that mean I will never get off it?

If you start a medication, either one that you take my mouth, by injection or if you start insulin, this does not necessarily mean you will need it forever. If you lose weight and exercise, your own body will require less medication to keep the blood sugar normal.

Can I ever make my Diabetes go away?

People who lose significant weight, either on their own or through weight loss surgery, can have Diabetes go away. These people will always have the genetic predisposition for Diabetes but may no longer have blood sugar levels that meet the criteria for Diabetes.

What is a low glycemic index food?

Glycemic index refers to the amount a certain carbohydrate increases your blood sugar. Low glycemic foods may include: oatmeal, muesli, barley, bulgar, sweet potatoes, legumes, lentils and carrots.

Does Metformin cause negative side effects?

Metformin has been extensively studied in hundreds of thousands of patients. It is one of the oldest medications we have for Diabetes and one of the safest. According to the American Diabetes Association, Metformin should be the doctor’s first line therapy for Diabetes after diet and exercise. The most common side effect is gastrointestinal upset which can be reduced through dosage modifications as directed by your healthcare provider. If you already have severe kidney or liver problems Metformin should be avoided.

If I take insulin will I have more complications?

Many people fear that insulin causes amputations and/or kidney failure and dialysis. In fact, it is the poorly controlled Diabetes itself that causes these problems after long periods of time. Often, people who require insulin have had Diabetes for years and years, and no longer respond to oral medications (those taken by mouth). Longstanding Diabetes, particularly if not well managed, can lead to nerve, limb, kidney, heart, and vision problems.

Can I drink alcohol?

Yes, adults with Diabetes can drink alcohol and should follow the same guidelines as the general public—an average of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

Some alcoholic drinks like beer can raise blood sugar and cause weight gain. Table wine has relatively few carbohydrates and therefore minimal effect on blood sugar. However sweet or dessert wine can increase blood sugars. Pure alcohol like vodka or gin, can actually decrease blood sugars and create hypoglycemia (decreased blood sugar) in people who take insulin or other glucose lowering medications. It is a good idea for those people to eat some food when drinking alcohol.

What are the best foods to eat before and after exercising?

The effect of exercise on blood sugar can be variable depending on the individual, as well as the type and duration of exercise. It is a good idea to check your blood sugar, before, during and after long periods on exercise. Sometimes a simple carbohydrate snack is needed prior to exercise or a decrease in insulin dosage for those who take insulin. Paradoxically, sometimes blood sugars are increased after strenuous exercise due to the release of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine and growth hormone. It is very common to experience hypoglycemia hours after exercise. So caution is needed in monitoring blood sugars long after exercising.

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