Reduce Weight to Reduce Diabetes Risk?

June 16, 2011

Is it possible to reduce the risk of diabetes without actually loosing weight? Maybe, find out more here

The proportion of the population with diabetes has been rising rapidly in recent years - and continues to do so. In North America, approximately 12 percent of the population is diabetic, and this figure is expected to rise to just under 14 percent by 2030. In Europe, around 8.5 percent - expected to rise to ten percent in 2030, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Weight loss has been one of the first recommendations of physicians helping patients gain control over their diabetes, but a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition challenges this notion and pinpoints a crucial factor that targets insulin sensitivity. 

Researchers, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, found that after eight weeks, participants on a lower fat diet, 27 percent fat, (33 percent is the American norm) had significantly higher insulin secretion and thus better glucose tolerance as well as higher insulin sensitivity - all indications of a decreased risk for diabetes. 

The study’s authors point out, and SupermarketGuru agrees, that the important conclusion is that attention to diet quality, not quantity, can really make a difference in risk for type 2 diabetes. It’s all about balance, color and variety. 

What to look for when shopping? First, be leery of foods that claim to be diabetic foods – read labels carefully. Although seemingly lower in sugars, these foods often contain other substances that can raise blood sugar when digested. Look out for sugar alcohols including mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol; which can increase your blood sugar level (although not as much as sugar), so should not be considered “freebee” foods. Additionally, products targeted towards diabetics may contain more calories than the foods they are replacing. Read labels and compare products!

In the produce aisle, select fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as fresh herbs and spices to add flavor to your meals. Remember, all fruits and vegetables have carbohydrates, although they are complex carbohydrates, they still have an affect on blood sugar. Fruits should be consumed in moderation, berries are best, and fruit juices should be avoided.

When buying grains, choose whole grains i.e. brown rice, quinoa, and, buckwheat and always make sure that the word whole precedes the word grain on things like breads and pastas. Look for breads and cereals that do not list sugars on the label – look out for: sugar, cane syrup and honey.

Diabetics are advised to avoid saturated fats, so when buying meats, avoid lunch meats and processed meats like sausage and bacon, select low-fat cuts without visible fat. Choose meat with seven percent fat or 99 percent fat-free ground meats such as turkey. Buy skinless poultry, fish or shellfish. Be sure to choose fish that are high in omega-3 fats, such as mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, lake trout, and sardines. Also shop for low-fat or fat free milk and dairy products.

Everyone's individual nutritional needs are different. Still, the focus of any diabetes eating plan is pretty much the same as any healthful diet, a nutritious blend of foods that are low in fat and calories, and based on moderate serving sizes. And don't forget exercise!

For more information or before you head to the grocery story, check out the American Diabetes Association