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Smart eating and exercise key to managing diabetes

Unless you eat like a supermodel, you probably want to jettison some of the rich, abundant foods that you packed onto your frame between the Thanksgiving and New Year’s holidays.

But individuals with diabetes and people diagnosed with pre-diabetes need to put together a smart eating and exercise plan in order to maintain good health while cutting back on the calories and moving back to their target weight.

Many people with diabetes or pre-diabetes have an insulin resistance, and even a small weight gain can worsen the condition. Conversely, losing the extra weight can improve insulin resistance so dieting is important.

Watch, yet eat carbs

For dieters with diabetes, the biggest challenge is managing carbohydrates. Many people can successfully lose weight by slashing carbs and substituting protein, and many doctors and dieticians have made a lot of money writing books and articles about low-carb diets.

But carbs have the greatest effect on blood sugar because they are broken down into sugar early in the digestive process. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, your body needs some carbohydrates to burn as fuel.

Consequently, the two most important behaviors to be aware of as you create a weight-loss program are to follow a balanced diet and to eat some “good” carbohydrates , the complex carbohydrates that are contained in foods like whole-grain bread and vegetables.

For someone with diabetes, a diet plan should be based on reducing the number of calories you eat and sticking with it. Reducing food intake by about 500 calories a day is a safe level for someone with diabetes, and will get the job done.

Prepackaged meals can ease the strain

Most people do not like to keep food diaries or strictly count their calories and they might do better with a meal replacement plan, either the prepackaged meals that are sold by weight-loss companies or the healthy frozen dinners sold at the grocery store.

These meals have been designed to deliver the right amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates and sodium. They are portion-controlled and you can eat a healthy breakfast followed by two prepackaged meals a day and lose weight. If these meals by themselves do not fill you up, adding a salad or cooked vegetables increases the meal size and nutrients without adding many calories.

The only caveat, once again, is that people with diabetes need to take into consideration the amount of carbohydrates they eat. That’s because not all of these prepared food plans and low-calorie meals take carbs into consideration. Recently companies have been introducing meal programs specifically for people with diabetes and you might want to take a look at those.

Consult with your doctor or dietician

Diet and exercise are the two main tools for controlling diabetes. As a result, any change in eating patterns or increases in exercise can increase the likelihood of getting low blood sugar. People on insulin or other diabetes medications should talk to their doctor about whether they should change their dose if they are changing their diet and exercise routine.

People should also talk to their doctor or dietician about the timing of their meals. You may be inclined to skip a meal, but this can cause dangerously low blood sugar. You might be better off eating a series of smaller meals and snacks during the day.

AMCR Institute is a clinical research center engaged in trials in the fields of endocrinology and metabolism, focusing on type 1 and type 2 diabetes, lipids, and men’s and women’s health issues. For information call (877) 567-2627 or visit

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