Diabetes & Dietary Measures

The right diet can help keep your blood glucose levels in check and help prevent obesity, high blood pressure, and elevation of blood lipids (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides), all of which increase your risk of developing diabetes complications. To find the best diet for your individual needs, consult a registered dietitian who is knowledgeable about diabetes.

Weight Loss & Diabetes

Whatever dietary regimen you follow, it's important to control your intake of calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol. If you are overweight, controlling your calories is particularly important. Losing weight will improve your blood glucose control and blood pressure and reduce your triglycerides. It may also lower your total cholesterol and raise your HDL ("good") cholesterol.

Strict diets work temporarily for many people, but are extremely difficult to follow over the long term. Ultimately, the best approach to weight loss is to develop a balanced, healthy diet (again, consult with a dietitian) that you can follow for the rest of your life. The American Diabetes Association recommends a combination of reducing your intake of calories and increasing exercise.

This combination not only produces faster and more permanent weight loss than dieting alone but also strengthens your cardiovascular system and prevents excessive loss of muscle mass. (Muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells, even at rest.) Approximately 1 lb of body weight is lost for every 3,500 calories of reduced food intake or increased energy expenditure.

Publication Review By: Written by: Christopher D. Saudek, M.D.; Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D.

Published: 20 Apr 2009

Last Modified: 11 Sep 2015