Diets for Diabetes

If you’re living with type 2 diabetes and looking for a sensible weight-loss plan, one of these choices may just fit.

According to government figures, more than 85 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese (although excess weight isn’t the only risk factor for this type of diabetes). But for people with type 2 diabetes who fall into that 85 percent, dropping the pounds can help stabilize blood sugar levels and even eliminate the need for diabetes medication.

So which diet can help you achieve your weight-loss goals? There’s no one right answer. But, says Nora Saul, RD, CDE, a certified diabetes educator and manager of nutritional education at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, ÔÇ£people who have diabetes can, with a little forethought, use many of the healthy popular diets.ÔÇØ

Weight-Loss Plans for Type 2 Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes and want to lose weight, here are some sensible diet options to try.

DASH Diet: ÔÇ£Although originally designed to lower blood pressure, DASH ÔÇö or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension ÔÇö is an all-around good eating plan,ÔÇØ says Saul. In fact, U.S. News and World Report rated the DASH diet as tops for treating diabetes in a May 2011 article. That’s because the diet is high in fruits and vegetables, which means it’s high in fiber, antioxidants, and potassium. ItÔÇÖs also high in low-fat dairy, calcium, lean protein, and whole grains. ÔÇ£It has meal plans for different calorie levels,ÔÇØ says Saul, which allows flexibility according to your weight.

South Beach Diet: The South Beach Diet is a modified low-carb diet that emphasizes healthy fats. If you want to try it, Saul advises sticking to the maintenance phase of the diet. ÔÇ£The initial phases are too low in carbohydrates,ÔÇØ Saul points out. Yes, people with diabetes have to watch how many carbs and the type of carbs they eat, but you donÔÇÖt want to cut them out entirely. ÔÇ£I encourage whole grains,ÔÇØ says Saul, who warns against eliminating any specific food group, even for weight loss. (Note: Everyday Health is the publisher of

Weight Watchers: Weight Watchers is a popular commercial weight-loss plan. ItÔÇÖs also a good choice if you have type 2 diabetes, in part because the system provides group support and accountability in addition to a structured eating plan. People with diabetes might need to make some modifications to the diet plan, however. For example, explains Saul, in the latest version of Weight Watchers counting system or “points,” fruit has zero points. But for people with diabetes, a serving size of fruit does count toward total carb intake for the day.

Mediterranean Diet: Though not a specific eating plan, a Mediterranean diet mimics the way that people who live in countries around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece and Italy, tend to eat. Rich in beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains, and seafood, it isnÔÇÖt so much a weight-loss diet as a different way of eating. ÔÇ£People lose weight because they are full and are not eating a lot of the empty calories they consumed before,ÔÇØ says Saul, who says this concept works well for people with diabetes, too.

Atkins Diet: The Atkins Diet gained fame as the diet that led the low-carb diet revolution twice. This diet may be a good option for some people and can help manage blood sugar levels, but it can be too restrictive and may not be a long-term lifestyle choice for everyone with diabetes. However, reading about and trying out this diet could be a learning experience in terms of understanding how carbs function in your diet.

Jenny Craig: Jenny Craig (now rebranded as Jenny) is a personalized eating and diet program that includes a lot of support as well as prepackaged meals. The catch is that it can be costly and, although the diet plan is intended to ultimately help you make your own meals and food choices, some people might find it difficult to get out of the habit of relying on a stocked freezer. Finally, people with diabetes that is not adequately controlled may be discouraged from enrolling.

GI Diet: A low glycemic index (GI) diet is an excellent choice for people with type 2 diabetes, Saul says. This one might require some research and study until you understand exactly where foods fit in the glycemic index and how you can include the right ones in your diet. The glycemic index lets you know how fast a 50-gram portion of a carbohydrate food raises blood sugar in comparison with white bread. The lower the number, the better the food is for controlling blood sugar.

Whatever diet you decide on, there are a few overarching principles that should guide your choice. Among them, look for diets that include food you like (or will come to like) and that donÔÇÖt rely on expensive supplements or tools. And be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any weight-loss regimen.

Ref : everydayhealth

Menopause and Type 2 Diabetes

Menopause is a topic that often generates a lot of opinions from women ÔÇö those who welcome it and those who dread it. ThereÔÇÖs also a lot of discussion about whether itÔÇÖs something that should be ÔÇ£treatedÔÇØ or left to occur naturally, without any medications.

For some women, menopause is more than just the end of their child-bearing years. It can have a profound effect on chronic illnesses such astype 2 diabetes. Women with diabetes often have to be more aware of the changes than most other women.

Type 2 Diabetes and Menopause: Changes Within ÔÇ£the ChangeÔÇØ

If you usually ovulate every 28 days or so, you may have wide variations as you approach menopause. You may have cycles that go 40 days or longer between periods and at other times find that your periods come only a couple of weeks apart. While this is happening, the levels of your hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are changing quite a bit, too. These hormonal changes can affect your blood glucose levels, which for women with type 2 diabetes could cause problems.

To avoid complications from type 2 diabetes, itÔÇÖs essential to keep your blood glucose levels as even as possible ÔÇö something that can be tricky during menopause.

Type 2 Diabetes and Menopause: Recognizing Menopause Symptoms

Some symptoms of menopause could be confused with signs of too high ortoo low blood glucose, including dizziness, sweating, and irritability. With symptoms being so similar, it may be hard for a woman to tell which is which. Rather than guessing, you should check your blood glucose levels when youÔÇÖre experiencing these signs. If the symptoms persist or get more uncomfortable, try talking to your doctor about treatment options.

Women with type 2 diabetes who are overweight may undergo menopause later than their type 1 diabetes peers. ItÔÇÖs been found that estrogen levels in women who are overweight drop more slowly than those who are underweight or of normal weight.

Type 2 Diabetes and Menopause: At the Onset

Menopause is also a time when women who didnÔÇÖt know they had type 2 diabetes may first be diagnosed with it. Brian Tulloch, MD, an endocrinologist at Park Plaza Hospital and Medical Center and clinical associate professor at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, explains, ÔÇ£The biggest issue here is with certain minorities who have a three- to five-fold higher chances of having type 2 diabetes.ÔÇØ Hispanics, for example, have a higher rate of diabetes than whites, he says. Add to this higher genetic risk the frequency of obesity and the decline of physical activity, and you see why so many women are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as they begin the onset of menopause.

Type 2 Diabetes and Menopause: Health Complications

Women with type 2 diabetes who have gone through menopause may no longer have wild hormonal swings affecting blood glucose levels, but they do have other health issues to keep in mind. They are at higher risk of developing atherosclerosis, the hardening and thickening of the artery walls that can lead to stroke or heart attack. Weight gain after menopause isnÔÇÖt unusual, but it seems to be more common among women with type 2 diabetes. This adds to the risk of heart disease.

With menopause and a more sedentary lifestyle comes another risk: osteoporosis, the bone-thinning disease. While women with type 2 diabetes arenÔÇÖt at as high a risk of osteoporosis as those with type 1 diabetes, they do have a higher risk of breaking bones than a menopausal woman who does not have diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes and Menopause: Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or hormone therapy, after menopause remains a controversial topic, but could be an option for women with type 2 diabetes who are experiencing difficult menopause signs and having trouble keeping their blood glucose under control.

Studies on HRT safety after menopause have conflicting results, but some doctors seem to be coming around to favoring hormone use again, albeit in a more careful manner. Says Dr. Tulloch, ÔÇ£ThereÔÇÖs now a tendency to go against what was believed five years ago, when [the WomenÔÇÖs Health Initiative study of post-menopausal hormone use] suggested post-menopausal estrogen wasnÔÇÖt such a good idea. I think the pendulum has swung back the other way.ÔÇØ

However, not all doctors agree with this. The general consensus is that a woman should begin HRT only if her symptoms, such as hot flashes, are severe and canÔÇÖt be managed any other way. If a woman chooses not to go on HRT, she should discuss her diabetes medication with her doctor, as she may need a lower dose than she was on before menopause. Be sure to discuss your individual situation with your own doctor to come to the best course for your well-being.

Menopause involves change for every woman; working with your medical team at this important life passage will help you make the healthiest transition.

Ref : Everydayhealth