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Weight Loss for Diabetics - Dieting with Diabetes

Updated on May 26, 2010

Dieting with Diabetes

By losing a few pounds, you can lower your blood sugar and improve your health, which will make you feel a lot better. But, before you start a diet or any weight loss plan, you want to consult your doctor so that everyone knows what's going on. Being a diabetic trying to lose weight, your insulin and blood sugar will need to be closely monitored.

Don't let anything scare you away from trying to lose weight, because it has been proven that you can significantly reduce your blood sugar if you lose 5% to 10% of your weight. By losing the extra weight, you can potentially get off your insulin and other medications, as your body will be in a healthier state.

Not everyone is the same, so you do want to be careful about how much weight you lose. Just keep in mind that if you lose about 10 to 15 pounds you can lower your blood sugar, reduce your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol levels, and lighten the stress and tension on your legs, hips, ankles, feet, and knees. By losing the extra weight, you can improve your diabetes; you will feel better, you'll be able to breath better, and you'll have more energy to get around.

Watch Your Blood Sugar

Before you get started, you should really speak with a professional because skipping a meal can really affect your blood sugar, insulin, and medication balance. A professional will be the best bet to help you set a weight loss plan that won't cause any major or minor side effects.

If you have diabetes, it's not recommended that you try losing the weight on your own, but it is recommended that you try to lose the weight. Spend the extra time at the doctor or with a nutritionist trying to create the best plan for you.

It is very important because you don't want to disrupt your balance of insulin and blood sugar. By dieting, you can easily come into low or high blood sugar, and while dieting with diabetes you want to make sure that you can keep strict control over your glucose levels.

In general, if you cut about 500 calories from your daily diet, you should be able to manage your blood sugar, insulin, and other medications without causing problems or adverse effects. You want to cut your calories period, not just all in one group, meaning reduce your calorie intake for carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, not just carbohydrates or just fats..

It's recommended to have about 50% of your diet to consist of carbohydrates. Lower carbohydrates can be associated with lower blood sugar levels, but this can be corrected by adding extra fat to your diet. No matter how low you cut your carbohydrates, you always want more carb content than fats or proteins.


Carbohydrates are important to monitor because they break down into sugar earlier in the digestion process, so try to eat more complex carbs, such as whole grain bread and pasta, as well as more vegetables, as these are digested and absorbed slower than simple carbs. By monitoring what type of carbohydrates you consume, you can try to better reduce the risk of blood sugar spikes and lows.

You don't want to fully cut your carbohydrates, but you want to manage them better. Carbs fuel your metabolism. If you diet and cut mostly carbs, leaving everything else the same, it can be quite dangerous because your body won't have enough fuel to run your metabolism and your energy level will be drastically reduced. You may not be as hungry by cutting mostly carbohydrates, but this can cause long-term health problems, as this can cause stress on the vital organs.

You want to balance your diet.

Adverse Effects of Dieting with Diabetes

When you have diabetes, it can be dangerous to diet if you don't pay careful attention to your blood sugar levels. You need to be careful to prevent spikes and lows in blood sugar. When dieting and cutting calories, you need to carefully monitor your insulin and medication dosages to best accommodate the new sugar level.

  • Low Blood Sugar can cause confusion, dizziness, and shakiness in early stages, but in later stages you may experience fainting and coma.
  • High Blood Sugar can cause excess urination, excess thirst, hunger, blurred vision, stomach ache, headache, fatigue, difficulty breathing, confusion, and vomiting.

If you have diabetes and you want to better your health and potentially your diabetes, it is best that you consult a nutritionist so that together you can come up with the best meal plan.

Don't Forget to Exercise

Losing weight isn't just about changing your diet. Although, maintaining a healthy diet is very important, you should still exercise regularly.

Exercising will actually help keep your blood sugar balanced, which will help you with your meal plan, as you won't have to cut as many calories.

You don't have to do strenuous exercise to affect your blood sugar; I'd actually recommend starting off with light exercise and working your stamina up until you and your body can take a more strenuous workout. It's recommended that you start walking about 20 minutes extra a day, which is about the equivalent of 500 calories, so cut abut 200 to 300 calories from your diet and walk 20 extra minutes to start off your new diet plan.

What you should also consider is what time of day you exercise, not just making sure that you do exercise. Some people claim that exercising in the morning will cause blood sugar to rise, whereas exercising at night causes it to drop. This will vary from person to person, so it is very important that you monitor your glucose before and after you exercise.

By exercising and watching what you eat, you'll be able to help maintain your weight at a healthy level. You just want to do your best at keeping a varied workout schedule with different types of exercises, as different types of exercise will affect your blood sugar differently. The good thing though, is that the extra activity will help use up extra blood sugar, as well as use up the sugar your body has stored in the liver and muscles.

  • Running, bicycling, and other aerobics will help lower your blood sugar immediately.
  • Weight lifting will affect your blood sugar hours later.

Just try to keep your routine regular and stick with it as by a consistent exercise schedule, you should be able to maintain your blood sugar more consistently. You can't expect results if you only exercise once a week or every other week. You need to set a regular schedule, even if you only set aside 20 minutes a day.

Precautions Exercising

Make sure that when exercising, keep in mind the following precautions:

  • Carefully monitor your blood sugar levels and insulin doses, as you begin to exercise more and add more exercises to your routines.
  • If you plan on exercising for more than an hour, you'll want to check your blood sugar at regular intervals.
  • Carry snacks- crackers, fruits.
  • Drink plenty of fluids while exercising, and make sure to have something available to drink afterward. You may want to have a soda available in case your blood sugar levels drop to low.
  • Wear your medical identification bracelet.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and socks to prevent any foot irritation.
  • Bring a friend who is familiar with your condition in case something happens, you have someone there to help that you're familiar with, versus a stranger at the gym.
  • Bring extra insulin and needles in case you see changes in your blood sugar that need addressing.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed physician. If you have any questions, please consult a doctor or nutritionist so that you can discuss your diet plan and how to manage your diabetes while trying to lose weight.


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    • editorsupremo profile image

      editorsupremo 7 years ago from London, England

      Good sound advice. For Diabetics it can be quite difficult to lose weight but it's amazing how losing a few pounds in weight can greatly improve how you feel and also help in reducing the amount of medication you have to take!

    • GiftedGrandma profile image

      GiftedGrandma 7 years ago from USA

      Great husband just went through blood sugar testing..the doctor was so pleased with his change in diet and weight loss that he told he wasn't going to do any thing with medicines right now. He would check him at his next appointment. He has lost about 30 lbs on his own with diet and walking in the past month.

    • profile image

      AARON99 7 years ago

      A very helpful hub on diabeties. Weight problem is one of the major problem in diabeties and you have choosen the right topic with right informations to share with us. Keep writing.