Diabetes and Weight Loss

by | Jan 11, 2021

Diabetes is frequently associated with rapid fluctuations in weight gain or weight loss. Many people with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, will want to lose weight to manage their conditions and optimize overall health. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and wish to lose weight or body fat, read on for details on managing your condition and losing excess weight in a practical, safe way.

When you are diagnosed with diabetes, you may find yourself amidst a significant amount of confusing medical information, yet one thing becomes crystal clear reasonably quickly; if you’re overweight, you need to lose weight, preferably in a healthy and easily manageable way.

Those extra pounds you’ve been carrying around no longer mean merely aesthetic concerns: you need to redesign your entire life and diet to ensure maintaining optimal health despite having diabetes.

On the other hand, you may have been living with diabetes, battling its effects on your well-being since early childhood. Your weight may be ideal now, but it’s a perpetual battle to keep it that way, regardless of medications and meal plans designed with your physical condition in mind.

Perhaps you’ve experienced the other end of the spectrum: a sudden and rapid loss of weight, which caused you to seek medical attention and find out about your condition. At any rate, there is no way around this fact: a balanced, lifelong weight management plan is needed, one that you can follow even in times of stress or when only minimal free time is available.

To better understand and combat this disease, you should educate yourself about diabetes and its relation to obesity, which this article should offer. Taking control of your health and weight, as you will see, is crucial to prevent worsening physiological problems, further complicating your journey towards an ideal body composition.

What Is Diabetes?

The name diabetes refers to a group of metabolic diseases related to insulin, a hormone regulating blood sugar created by the pancreas. This glandular, digestive organ helps to convert food to fuel. To accomplish this, it releases insulin to aid the body in using these nutrients and helping fat storage for later use in times of food scarcity to protect the organism from starvation.

After food is digested, insulin directs nutrients into different cells. This process is called nutrient partitioning. Depending on your insulin sensitivity level, ingested nutrients can be partitioned into fat cells, muscle cells, or stored in an energy reserve called glycogen. With diabetes, due to a condition called insulin resistance (a lack of insulin sensitivity), larger spikes in blood sugar are often required to produce the insulin necessary to partition nutrients. In severe cases, people with diabetes stop producing insulin altogether and must take insulin injections. This condition is type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is also referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes. In this case, the body can still produce insulin but produces it in low amounts or requires large blood sugar spikes to generate adequate insulin. Thankfully, type 2 diabetes can be managed with diet and lifestyle factors, and more scientific studies are conducted daily with an eye on managing the condition.

In people with diabetes, the normal process of producing insulin is interrupted, leading to the pancreas being unable to produce sufficient insulin amounts. Other times, there may be enough insulin available. Yet, the body does not respond to it appropriately, which is the direct reason why high blood sugar levels develop, creating the disease we are referring to as diabetes.

Bottom Line: What is diabetes? Simply put, a metabolic disorder related to insulin and to the body’s inability to remain in sync with the demand for more or the need for less glucose in the blood. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 (insulin-dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset) diabetes. Each requires different management, but both are disorders in which the ordinary release of insulin is dysfunctional.

Diabetes can be controlled, and sometimes reversed, with diet. Let Noom help you learn to choose the best foods for your health.

Types of Diabetes

Typically, we can talk about three types of diabetes, two of which are the most relevant concern for the whole population and crucial to be educated about.

These are the following:

Type 1 Diabetes

In the case of type 1 diabetes, the pancreas— due to an attack of the immune system — cannot produce enough insulin.

This usually becomes apparent during childhood or adolescence, requiring medically supervised insulin therapy and permanent changes in dietary and lifestyle habits.

Type 2 Diabetes

In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes insulin, but it doesn’t work as well as it should. This creates what’s known as insulin resistance.

This results in physical inactivity and excess weight. This may mean not having enough insulin available or the body’s inability to utilize what’s present, leading to too much or too little glucose entering circulation.

To understand diabetes better, let’s take a closer look at metabolism or the process that the body uses to convert food into energy. 

To make energy, your cells need food in glucose form. Glucose is a simple sugar that most of the food you eat breaks down into. It is what provides the energy for your body’s daily activities.

The blood vessels and the blood within them transport the sugar from the stomach (where you take it in) or the liver, where it is manufactured, to the cells where the muscles use it or store it as fat. 

Sugar cannot go into the cells by itself. That’s where insulin comes in to help, unlocking the cells to allow sugar to enter.

When sugar makes its way out of the bloodstream and into cells, your blood sugar level goes down. Without insulin, though, the sugar cannot get into the cells for energy. This increases blood sugar. Too much sugar in the blood is known as hyperglycemia.

Gestational Diabetes

A temporary condition that affects few women during pregnancy, gestational diabetes is not something to worry about for most.

While dietary restrictions recommended by a medical professional are crucial to follow, glucose levels usually return to normal after childbirth, not likely to cause further complications to the mother post-delivery.

Pregnant women with a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes include those who: 

  • Are older than 35
  • Are overweight
  • Have a history of polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Have a family history of diabetes

In some cases, other types of diabetes may result from using certain medications, surgery, or various illnesses.

Bottom Line: Depending on the time of appearance, diabetes can be categorized as a youth-, adult-, or pregnancy-onset disease, each requiring customized treatment and lifestyle changes. Gestational diabetes afflicts a tiny portion of the population.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

For at least some time, diabetes symptoms may be undetectable. Not knowing the symptoms of diabetes delays diagnosis, treatment, and the opportunity for improvement.

When physical signs do appear, they usually present themselves as the following symptoms:

  • Excessive thirst – persistent and unexplained thirst, regardless of fluid intake
  • Frequent urination – normal urination is six to eight times in 24 hours
  • Blurred vision
  • Intense feeling of hunger, even after eating
  • Increasing weight
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Itchy skin, especially around the genitals and navel

Healthcare providers use either fasting sugar blood tests or A1c blood tests to diagnose diabetes. Normal fasting blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dl (5.6mmol/l). Patients do not have to be fasting for an A1c blood test. 

To receive a diabetes diagnosis, patients must have one of the following:

  • Blood sugar level of 126 mg/dl (7 mmol/l) or higher
  • Two random blood sugar tests over 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/l) with symptoms
  • Oral glucose tolerance test with results over 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/l)
  • A1c test greater than 6.5% on two different days.

Bottom Line: Diabetes symptoms can vary from none to noticeable problems, especially in hunger, thirst, weight, and bladder problems.

If you’re dealing with diabetes, you’re not alone. Your Noom coach can help guide you to the best choices for your needs.

How Does Diabetes Affect Weight?

While most of us associate diabetes with excessive weight gain, this disease can lead to a rapid loss of weight.

Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce, or utilize, insulin appropriately. This ax swings both ways. Some people rapidly gain weight because nutrients are not appropriately partitioned or converted to energy, while others have a hard time keeping weight because nutrients are not stored properly.

While many people struggle to keep weight off, it is equally frustrating when a person has to fight to stay at a healthy weight. This condition is extreme in people with type 1 diabetes who struggle to stay healthy and stave off injury due to their health condition.

Those who struggle to keep weight on or off do so, especially before diagnosis and balancing blood sugar levels. In either case, learning the mechanism behind these weight fluctuations is a crucial step towards successful weight management.

How Does Diabetes Cause Weight Gain?

Diabetes often goes hand in hand with obesity, not necessarily as a direct result of the disease.

Many overweight or even obese people may be at risk for diabetes but continue to produce insulin effectively. Many people with an in-range body mass index (BMI) or body fat percentage have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. While excessive weight gain correlates with diabetes, there are other factors such as genetics and lifestyle that play an equally strong role in determining if a person will get the disease or not.

Once it has been determined that a person has type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes, their healthcare provider will prescribe insulin to control their condition. Insulin injections help people with type 1 diabetes to shuttle sugar from their blood into their fat and muscle cells or to immediately use it as energy.

The problem, however, doesn’t end once your healthcare provider prescribes insulin. Often after taking insulin, weight continues to increase for a while, especially if dietary changes haven’t been implemented in conjunction with starting your treatment.

After beginning insulin injections, blood glucose levels may suddenly rise too high. If sugar intake is not restricted, the body may store it as fat for later use rather than immediately using it for energy. This can lead to rapid weight gain as a person adjusts their eating habits and lifestyle concerning the condition.

To avoid issues with weight gain after beginning insulin therapy, it’s important to keep a close eye on your caloric intake. But, that doesn’t mean you should skip meals to cut calories from your diet. If you skip meals, you’re more likely to make poor choices during your next meal simply because you’re too hungry. Skipping meals may also lead to low blood sugar levels if you don’t adjust your insulin dose.

Take your insulin as directed. It may be tempting to reduce or even skip your insulin doses to keep weight gain at bay. Though you may lose weight if you take less insulin than prescribed, there are serious risks. Without the appropriate amount of insulin, blood sugar will increase, as will the risk of diabetes complications.

Ask the healthcare provider about other diabetes medication options. There are non-insulin medications available on the market today that can help regulate blood sugar levels. These include metformin (Glucophage, Fortamet, and others), exenatide (Byetta), liraglutide (Victoza), albiglutide (Tarzeum), dulaglutide (Trulicity), sitagliptin (Januvia), saxagliptin (Onglyza), canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), empagliflozin (Jardiance) and pramlintide (Symlin). These medications may promote weight loss while allowing you to reduce your insulin dose safely. However, they may not be appropriate for your diabetes treatment plan.

How Does Diabetes Cause Weight Loss?

It’s also possible for type 1 diabetes to spark sudden weight loss because of insulin level changes. Chronically-low insulin levels can lead to the urgent need to access previously-stored energy and, consequently, burning excess fat or even muscle tissue. This condition – in which tissue, muscle or fat, is broken down to fuel the body, is called catabolism. 

While weight or fat loss may be the overall goal, poorly-controlled or uncontrolled diabetes can lead to rapid weight loss, often to an unhealthy point.

This catabolism results in further problems, undesirable symptoms, and an overall sense of imbalance that prevent long-term and healthy weight management habits. After beginning insulin therapy, people who rapidly lose weight are also at risk for a rapid rebound in weight as their treatment continues.

If you have unintentionally lost more than 5% of your normal body weight, or more than 10 pounds in the last six to 12 months, see your healthcare provider. Beyond diabetes, there are several other potential causes of sudden weight loss, many of which indicate health problems.

Bottom Line: Does diabetes cause weight loss and gain? Absolutely; weight fluctuations are a part of this disease, requiring medical attention and strict adherence to an insulin-control diet that aids the stabilization of blood glucose levels.

What Are the Benefits of Weight Loss for Diabetes?

When you lose even a modest amount of weight, your blood sugar levels may drop significantly.

The risk of developing cardiovascular diseases or metabolic syndrome, and your symptoms and overall sense of well-being may dramatically improve as well, even to the point of possibly not needing supplemental insulin in the future.

However, it is imperative to seek the help of a medical professional since your blood glucose levels are likely to fluctuate during this process, needing special attention and continuously monitoring your insulin dosage.

Do not attempt to change your diet and exercise habits without talking to your healthcare provider first.

This way, you ensure maximizing your long-term success and minimizing bothersome symptoms and medical emergencies.

Though weight loss may not cure type 2 diabetes in all cases, reaching a healthy weight does have the potential to reverse the condition or reduce the amount of insulin and management medication required.

When you weigh less, the pancreas can keep up with your body’s need for insulin better than when you’re overweight. Weight loss also helps reduce your risk of diabetes complications, including kidney disease, heart problems, and nerve damage.

Beyond helping you address your diabetes, exercise helps reduce your bad cholesterol while raising your good cholesterol. It reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease. It boosts your energy and your mood and can help relieve stress.

Bottom Line: While losing weight is an ideal way to reduce blood glucose levels and manage diabetes symptoms, it is important to achieve this weight loss with medical supervision to avoid further health complications.

Weight loss is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. With Noom, you’ll get everything you need to enjoy the food you love and still lose weight.

What Is the Best Diet for Type 1 Diabetes and Weight Loss?

When it comes to type 1 diabetes and weight loss, the primary task is to ensure that you monitor your refined carbohydrate intake closely.

This includes highly-refined grains, bread, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and refined sugar. The insulin produced by consuming carbohydrates with a high glycemic index or high glycemic load works in tandem with the supplemental insulin you receive to replace what your pancreas doesn’t create.

Glycemic index is a value that determines how rapidly a food raises your blood sugar level. White bread is often used as a control group and has a glycemic index of 100. Slower digesting foods such as chicken breast, beans, and almonds have glycemic indexes around 20-30 and have a much lower impact on blood sugar levels. In most cases, it is to the benefit of a person with diabetes to consume foods with a lower glycemic index.

Several things influence a food’s glycemic index (GI), including processing, cooking method, nutrient composition, and ripeness.

For example:

  • A fully ripe banana has a GI of 51, but under-ripe bananas have a GI of 30. As the fruit ripens, the resistant starch decreases, creating a higher GI. 
  • Fried foods are high in fat, which slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This decreases the overall GI.
  • Roasting or baking breaks down resistant starch, which increases the GI.
  • Compared to other cooking methods, boiling foods helps them retain more of their resistant starch, decreasing the GI. However, the longer you cook rice and pasta, the more digestible the starch becomes. That’s why it’s best to cook them until they reach al dente status – meaning they are still firm when you bite into them.

Glycemic load refers to the total volume when factored against the glycemic index. Potato chips may have a lower GI than raisins, but the glycemic load is likely much greater if you eat a considerable quantity of potato chips.

To find a food’s glycemic load, multiply its glycemic index by the number of carbohydrate grams in a serving and then divide it by 100. A low glycemic load is between 1 and 10. A moderate glycemic load ranges from 11 to 19, and a high glycemic load is 20 or higher. People with diabetes should aim to have their glycemic load values as low as possible.

While the dietary fat in potato chips and similar foods lowers glycemic index, dietary fat tends to attach to carbohydrates. Suppose you consume dietary fat and carbohydrates simultaneously. In that case, your body will be much more apt to store the ingested calories as fat rather than store them as muscle tissue or glycogen or to burn them for energy immediately.

In a similar vein, if you consume carbohydrates with lean protein (especially after exercise such as strength training), the ingested nutrients are much more likely to be used to rebuild or repair muscle tissue and much less likely to be stored as body fat. This is nutrient partitioning.

So, it can benefit most people – but in particular, those managing a diabetic or pre-diabetic condition – to pay attention to how they combine macronutrients (carbohydrate, dietary fat, fiber, protein). This is another way in which someone can lose weight and manage blood sugar.

Learning to read food labels, measuring portions, and keeping a food log are all good steps to take for successful long-term weight management.

Bottom Line: Carbohydrates are not your enemy, but a controlled intake is important to not to exceed your recommended blood sugar levels when taking insulin.

What Is the Best Diet for Type 2 Diabetes and Weight Loss?

The best diet for type 2 diabetes and weight loss is about controlling blood sugar levels and avoiding insulin spikes that could lead to further weight gain.

A limited portion of fiber-rich and complex carbohydrates is recommended, sometimes paired with heart-healthy fats and moderate amounts of lean protein.

There are a variety of carbohydrate-controlled diets to choose from. There are older, more studied diets such as the Atkins Diet, and there are diets within the current trend, such as the Keto Diet.

The healthiest fats are those that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These include most types of cold-water fish, such as wild-caught salmon and sardines. Other good sources of omega-3s include flax meal and flaxseed oil. Supplementing with fish oil caps or a quality omega-3 supplement is another option.

The American Diabetes Association provides an extensive list of healthy food options for people with diabetes. These include:

  • Beans
  • Lean poultry
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Oily fish
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Berries
  • Low/non-fat dairy products
  • Whole grains

Use these in place of refined flour and processed grains. Avoid fruit with added sugars and food high in saturated fat. This dietary approach isn’t just suitable for diabetics, but everyone in general.

It’s important to remember that carbohydrates are not the enemy. It’s simple carbohydrates, such as those found in table sugar, potatoes, white rice, and so on, that are the problem. Complex carbohydrates are digested and absorbed into the liver and bloodstream more slowly than simple carbohydrates. The faster carbohydrates consumed in food is absorbed as glucose, the more likely it is to be converted to and stored as fat. 

Another approach is to use the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, or the DASH diet. Though it was initially developed to address high blood pressure, it can also help reduce the risk of other diseases, diabetes included. 

People who use the DASH diet should reduce portion sizes and focus on including foods high in blood pressure-lowering nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The plan limits red meats, sugary beverages, and sweets. People with diabetes who use this approach should reduce their sodium intake to no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.

Other potential diet programs to follow include:

  • Mediterranean Diet: The Mediterranean diet is based on traditional foods from the Mediterranean. This diet is rich in oleic acid. Following this type of diet can help reduce fasting glucose levels, reduce body weight, and lessen the risk of metabolic disorders. Foods encouraged on this diet include poultry, fatty fish, eggs, plant-based foods, and healthy fats. Dieters are allowed to eat red meat once a month and consume wine in moderation. Never drink on an empty stomach if you are taking medication that raises insulin in the body.
  • Paleo Diet: The paleo diet is based on the belief that modern agriculture is why we have so much chronic disease. Those who follow the paleo diet only eat what our ancient ancestors would have been able to hunt and gather. This includes meat, poultry, fish, non-starchy vegetables, nuts except peanuts, and fruits. Healthy fats are encouraged in olive oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil. The paleo diet may be a good option for people with diabetes as long as there is no kidney disease involved. Research shows that a 3-month paleo diet may improve glycemic control in the short term for people with type 2 diabetes. 
  • Gluten-Free Diet: Though the gluten-free diet may have become a trend, people with celiac disease must eliminate gluten from their diet to avoid damage to the digestive tract. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to attack your nervous system and gut. It leads to body-wide inflammation, which can spark chronic disease. Gluten can be found in rye, barley, wheat, and all foods made from any of these grains. The American Diabetes Association says that 10% of people with type 1 diabetes also have celiac disease. Ask your healthcare provider for a blood test for celiac disease and discuss whether a gluten-free diet is right for you.
  • Vegetarian and Vegan Diets: Some people with diabetes may choose to focus on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Vegetarian diets refer to diets where no meat is consumed, but animal products such as milk, eggs, or butter can be eaten. Vegans, on the other hand, won’t eat any meat or any other type of animal product, including gelatin, milk, or honey. It’s worth mentioning that while vegetarian and vegan diets can be healthy to follow if you aren’t careful, it is easy to miss vital nutrients like calcium, iodine, B12, and zinc.

By adhering to a carbohydrate-controlled meal plan, blood sugar remains well-balanced, and healthy weight loss may gradually begin. Losing just 10% of your body weight increases insulin sensitivity and improves the way your body partitions nutrients. 

If you struggle with feelings of hunger, up your water intake, and increase your dietary fiber intake. Fiber takes up space in your stomach to help you feel full and encourage you to stop eating. Fiber does this without contributing calories to your body. 

Fiber also slows down the digestion of other nutrients. This also reduces fat storage because food calories are more likely to be stored as fat when absorbed quickly. The best sources of fiber come from fruits and vegetables. While you can use whole grains as a good source of fiber, they contain more calories and provide less overall nutrition than produce.

If you think you’re hungry, drink a glass of water. Wait 20 minutes, so your stomach and brain have enough time to communicate. If you’re no longer feeling hungry, then you were just thirsty. The more you practice this, the easier it will be to understand your body’s signals and learn real hunger.

The mind is powerful, and can play tricks on you. That’s why Noom uses psychology to help teach you how to change your habits for good.

Bottom Line: Controlled carbohydrate intake is the backbone of a type 2 diabetes diet; this approach leads to balanced and ideal weight management.

How Do I Exercise to Lose Weight With Diabetes?

Exercise is a crucial component of any diet, especially when having diabetes.

Being active promotes weight loss and further lowers blood sugar levels as your muscles directly uptake glucose from the circulatory system during physical exertion.

However, seeking your healthcare provider’s advice is imperative since blood sugar levels may drop dangerously low during and after exercise.

Ensure you regularly monitor your blood glucose, incorporate a snack as needed, or work with your medical professional to adjust your insulin levels based on your changing physical activity levels.

Even if you start to see improvement with regular exercise, don’t make any changes to your prescribed insulin regimen without talking to your provider. Test your blood sugar before, during, and after exercise if you are on insulin or making any kind of change to your exercise program.

This is also the case if you think your insulin is causing you to gain weight. Making changes to your insulin could dangerously affect your blood sugar levels, which could cause life-threatening complications. 

Don’t forget to start slowly. Pick something you genuinely enjoy doing and allow yourself to adjust to your new lifestyle gradually. Consider making a list of fun activities. Things like sports, walking, dancing, and swimming are good places to start. Anything that raises your heart rate counts.

This allows it to become a permanent change for the ideal control of your diabetes.

If you’re in good health, aside from diabetes, you can even engage in adventure sports like scuba diving or rock climbing. As long as you’re getting the right training and don’t perform these activities alone, you should be fine. If you choose to engage in these kinds of activities, make sure you have some glucose tablets on hand for fast-acting carbs if you need them. 

Exercise usually lowers your levels, but if you’re doing intense exercise, your blood sugar levels may rise temporarily after you stop. Exercise that’s too difficult can raise your blood sugar by making it harder for your muscle cells to use insulin. 

Workouts help pump you up by causing small tears in your muscle fibers, and when they heal, your muscles are stronger. But, if you’re not used to tough workouts like high-intensity interval training, they can do so much damage that days go by before you feel like moving again. During that time, your muscle cells aren’t able to use insulin well, which causes your blood sugar to increase.

Your blood sugar may also increase if you skip workouts. If you’re so sore you can’t make it to your next gym session, you probably need to slow it down. There’s absolutely no rush because it’s better to build slowly as you get used to a new routine. If you feel like you’ve been beaten, you are much less likely to stick with your workout over the long-term.

That’s why workouts like Pilates, Tai Chi, and yoga are good choices for people with diabetes. They’ll help you build your strength, balance, and flexibility without being so intense you need to worry about a dramatic increase in blood sugar.

If you have any complications that typically go along with type 2 diabetes, you may face increased odds of injury depending on the type of exercise you do. 

With peripheral neuropathy, you can lose feeling in your feet and toes, affecting your balance and increasing your chances of falling. If you have peripheral neuropathy, try not to jump or run. It’s best to choose an exercise that doesn’t impact your joints, like swimming. 

If you have autonomic neuropathy, you can faint if you move around too fast. 

Diabetes may lead to a condition called proliferative retinopathy. This is a result of diabetes, causing new blood vessels to grow in your eyes. This means your eyes often leak and are weak. When you lift heavy weights, jump, make jarring moves, or hold your head down, the fragile blood vessels may bleed. As long as you have a dilated eye exam in the past year, your eye healthcare provider will be able to tell you if the workouts you’re considering are safe.

If all you aim to do is switch from one moderate type of exercise to another, it’s likely you don’t need to talk about it with your healthcare provider. But, if you’re looking to increase your workout from moderate to intense, you should get checked first. You may not be aware you’ve lost feeling in your feet, and diabetes-related eye disease generally has no symptoms in its early stages.

If you’re not active now, it’s best to begin with 10 minutes of exercise at a time and gradually work up to 30 minutes a day. Stop exercising if you feel weak, confused, shaky, or anxious. If you find yourself sweating more than usual, you have a headache, or your heart is racing, you need to stop as well.

Try to include strength training in your routine at least twice a week, as this can improve blood sugar control. You can workout with resistance bands, lift weights, or do moves that use your bodyweight like push-ups, squats, and lunges. Your strength training program needs to work your entire body. Create a schedule to work on different muscle groups on different days or perform longer workouts less often.

Something that is often overlooked is to be good to your feet. You need to wear athletic shoes that are in good shape and are right for your chosen activity. Don’t jog in tennis shoes because your feet require a different type of support when you run. Your sneakers need to fit well and have plenty of room in the toe. If you’re unsure about the kind of shoe you need, visit a running store for a shoe fitting.

Take time to check and clean your feet every day. Look for blisters, bumps, redness, sores, and cuts even if you didn’t work out that day. Alert your healthcare provider if you become aware of any new foot problems.

Bottom Line: Exercise is unavoidable to manage your blood sugar levels in the long run successfully; work with your healthcare provider to observe how your glucose responds to physical activity, and adjust your diet and insulin accordingly.

At Noom, your overall health matters. Answer a few questions and find out how much weight you’ll be able to lose in just 16 weeks.

Can I Use A Diabetes Weight Loss Drug or Supplements?

Drugs that promote weight loss can be extremely beneficial for individuals diagnosed with diabetes, yet the individual response rate varies.

The most successful diabetes weight loss drug successfully lowers blood glucose levels, aiding the body in accessing stored fat for its ongoing energy needs.

Talk to your healthcare provider to find the most suitable type for your unique requirements.

When it comes to diabetes, taking over-the-counter weight loss supplements without medical supervision is not recommended.

As much as these have a place in weight management, many may contain sugar or other substances known to raise blood sugar levels.

They may also contain herbs or chemicals that could interfere with the absorption of your prescribed insulin.

Always talk to a healthcare provider to avoid complications, weight gain, and the worsening of your symptoms.

Bottom Line: Weight loss enhancing drugs should come from your healthcare provider. These will offer far more significant benefits for diabetes than over-the-counter supplements with unknown or problematic ingredients.

What Else Should I Avoid to Maximize Weight Loss with Diabetes?

Aside from avoiding foods containing sugar or simple carbohydrates, there are several other substances or chemicals you should exercise caution with:

  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Certain artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol
  • Medications to control cold, coughing, asthma, high cholesterol, and other conditions

All of these are known to elevate blood glucose, thus making weight loss far more difficult.

If you can’t eliminate these, try to decrease the amount or frequency of consumption to see more significant benefits.

Bottom Line: Watching your sugar intake may not be enough; pay attention to everything you consume to maintain your ideal blood sugar levels.

Final Thoughts About Diabetes and Weight Loss

Having diabetes likely also means having excess weight to worry about.  Yet with a carefully-designed dietary and lifestyle plan that is approved by your healthcare provider, you can manage your condition and lead a very full, happy life.

It doesn’t have to be challenging to shed a few extra pounds. By understanding the nature of this disease, you can master your blood sugar and weight all at once, leading to a healthier, slimmer, and symptom-free version of you.

Questions and Answers on Diabetes & Weight Loss

What causes diabetes?

Though it’s not known what causes diabetes, there are a few risk factors that may increase the chance you’ll receive a diagnosis. These include:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Family history of diabetes or personal history of gestational diabetes
  • Physical stress (surgery, illness)
  • Injury to the pancreas (infection, accident, tumor, surgery)
  • Hispanic, Native American, African-American, Pacific Islander, or Asian-American ethnicity
  • Age (as you age, the risk increases if you gain weight or reduce activity levels)

What risk factors do you have some control over?

  • Being overweight
  • Using certain medications (steroids, for example)
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol or triglyceride levels

Does overeating sugar cause diabetes?

It’s not the sugar itself that causes diabetes. However, eating a lot of sugar can cause tooth decay.

What is the A1c test?

Instead of looking at your blood sugar levels the moment the blood is drawn, this test measures your average blood sugar level over three months. This makes it useful for identifying pre-diabetes, too. 

Healthcare providers often use the test to see how well diabetes is managed. If, after treatment has begun, the A1c is still high, it is usually an indication that the diabetes care plan needs to be changed.