Losing Weight And Insulin Resistance
Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in the body and helps your cells convert blood sugar into energy. In some people with diabetes, however, blood sugar levels are high for a sustained period of time, causing the pancreas to produce more and more insulin. Eventually, the cells stop responding to that insulinbecoming insulin resistant. Losing weight with insulin resistance is more difficult because your body converts blood sugar into fat instead of energy.
The solution? For a start, reducing the sugar and processed carbohydrates in your diet while increasing healthy fats along with vegetables and whole grains. Even a small improvement can make a big difference. Studies show that a weight loss of just 57 percent is enough to reduce the risk of diabetes by 58 percent in a person who has a high risk of the condition.
How Can I Prevent Low Blood Glucose
Your best bet is to practice good diabetes management and learn to detect hypoglycemia so you can treat it earlybefore it gets worse.
Monitoring blood glucose, with either a meter or a CGM, is the tried and true method for preventing hypoglycemia. Studies consistently show that the more a person checks blood glucose, the lower his or her risk of hypoglycemia. This is because you can see when blood glucose levels are dropping and can treat it before it gets too low.
If you can, check often!
- Check before and after meals.
- Check before and after exercise .
- Check before bed.
- After intense exercise, also check in the middle of the night.
- Check more if things around you change such as, a new insulin routine, a different work schedule, an increase in physical activity, or travel across time zones.
Low Blood Sugar Weight Loss Solutions In Diabetics
All the points listed above hold good for Diabetics looking to shed a few pounds from their weight. Additionally, the following tips or precautions are also important.
1. Remember your anti-diabetic medications
Anti-diabetic agents, especially insulin, can play spoilsport when a weight loss plan is initiated in a diabetic individual. Dieticians may suggest low-carb diets but when insulin is administered, it might actually trigger a hypoglycemic attack.
It is always better to discuss diet and weight concerns with a specialist, preferably the consultant physician or a weight loss expert and dietician to achieve optimum results despite being diabetic.
2. The restriction is important to reach your goal
As mentioned earlier, the diet for a hypoglycemic prone diabetic individual should ideally be a low-carb, low-calorie and low-fat diet with plenty of fiber-rich foods. These foods should be taken at short intervals with snack options being either milkshakes or proteins.
Moderation is the key. A slight deviation once in a while wont hurt. Dont overdo the same by stopping intake altogether. This might prove to be detrimental and counter-productive. Instead, aim for a full tummy with fiber-rich foods and healthy proteins and oils.
3. Physical activity is a must
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Calories In/calories Out Is A Flawed Model
The process of gaining weight isnt as simple as one might think. The model of calories in/calories out that many of us are familiar with is flawed and doesnt consider the complex hormonal and biochemical pathways involved in energy balance, weight gain, and weight loss in the body.
The flaws of the calorie deficit model of weight loss can be pictured by imagining the human body as a car: The engine is our cells, the fuel tank is our fat stores, and the fuel within the tank is provided by the food we eat. As we drive the car along, the engine burns fuel to keep the car moving. By consuming food, we refill the tank as we go, preventing it from running dry. In this analogy, if we want to deplete our fuel tank , we can put less fuel in the tank or drive the car faster .
Different types of foods eaten at different times of the day and in different combinations can lead to unique hormonal responses in the body.
The original thought experiment now seems a lot more complex. What happens if we drive this more realistic car, except this time debris has clogged the air filter, preventing oxygen from entering and making conditions impossible for the fuel to burn efficiently? What if the engine oil is depleted and there is excessive friction and wear on the engine parts? This is a more accurate representation of the human body and the hormonal mechanisms of weight and energy balance.
How To Use Cgm For Weight Loss
A continuous glucose monitor is a wearable device that, as the name implies, continuously tracks your glucose levels around the clock. Through a quick, painless insertion process , the CGM affixes to your skin so it can track and test your blood sugar in nearly real-time. Once you have the CGM in place you can put it to work for your weight loss goals by seeing how different foods impact your blood sugar levels at different times of day. This will allow you to tweak your diet in ways that help your blood sugar remain stable, which in turn can help trigger your body to burn stored fat.
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Pharmacological Treatment Considerations: Benefits And Risks Of The Incretin
Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists can effectively reduce glucose and body weight with potential beneficial effects on other cardiovascular risk factors such as BP and lipids.64 Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors also lower glucose levels but have neutral effects on weight.64
Exenatide and liraglutide have been shown to reduce HbA1c levels and body weight .70–74 In an open-label,open-ended trial, exenatide reduced HbA1c levels and weight in 68% of patients who were treated for up to 3.5 years.75 In comparator studies, exenatide lowered HbA1c levels and body weight , whereas insulin analogues reduced HbA1c levels but resulted in weight gain .76,77
What Other Symptoms Of Diabetes Should You Watch For
Weight loss from diabetes is not usually a standalone symptom. Its typically accompanied by other signs, including:
- Excessive thirst or hunger.
- Dark skin around the neck and armpits.
- Slow healing of cuts and bruises.
- Yeast infections.
- Vision changes.
How is diabetes weight loss treated?
If youre experiencing weight loss and are uncertain about how to gain the weight back, consult with your physician. You dont want to start eating unhealthy fats just to put the pounds back on, as that can lead to a worsened case of diabetes.
Instead, your doctor may suggest supplemental insulin treatments or other medications to make sure your blood sugar normalizes.
Its important to remember that unexplained weight loss isnt normal, says Cotey.
Its not only a sign of diabetes, but may also point to other issues such as cancer or gastrointestinal tract, metabolism or thyroid issues. If youre dropping weight and dont know why, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
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Wait No Counting Calories
When I tell my patients they dont have to count calories to lose weight, they look at me like Im crazy. But, Dr. Muenzer, they say, every diet Ive tried includes counting calories.
Yes, I respond, and if those calorie-counting programs worked, you wouldnt be asking me for help now.
This is a light bulb moment for my patients. While calorie intake is an important component of healthy weight maintenance, weve learned that its the types of food you eat to get those calories that is most important. Refined sugars and white flours make you hungrier and cause you to eat more calories.
I Cut Back On Alcohol
With reactive hypoglycemia, I have to be careful about alcohol consumption. Alcohol lowers blood sugar levels, especially on an empty stomach, so it can be bad news to drink alcohol without food. That used to mean Id just drink alcohol and order some garlic bread or other fast-burning carbs so I didnt have to worry about drinking on an empty stomach. As you can imagine, that habit isnt great for weight loss. Alcohol provides calories without much nutritional value, and those calories can add up fast. By keeping my alcoholic beverages to weekends only and enjoying just one drink alongside a healthy meal, Ive been able to cut plenty of empty calories from my diet and gain better control of my blood sugar.
If youre struggling to lose weight, ask yourself if your current strategy is leaving you hungry and frustrated. Im willing to bet that your approach is working against your body rather than supporting it in being healthy. Speak to a registered dietitian who can help you find an eating plan that makes you feel great and get to a healthy weight for you.
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How To Treat Someone Who’s Having A Seizure Or Fit
Follow these steps if someone has a seizure or fit caused by a low blood sugar level:
Tell your diabetes care team if you ever have a severe hypo that caused you to have a seizure or fit.
What Should My Glucose Levels Be For Weight Loss
These are the benchmarks you can strive for when tracking with your CGM to make sure things are at least within a healthy range when you wake up in the morning .
- Normal: Below 100 mg/dl
- Prediabetes: 100 to 125 mg/dl
- Diabetes: 126 mg/dl or more
That said, consult with a healthcare professional about where you want your numbers to be in order to reach your goals for optimal weight loss and overall health. Your target numbers are going to depend on metabolic factors that are personal to you.
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Tips To Follow A Low Glycemic Diet
If you are looking to follow a low glycemic diet, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First, you will want to focus on eating mostly whole, unprocessed foods. This means plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.
You should also avoid foods that are high in sugar and refined carbs, as these can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
In addition, you will want to make sure you are getting enough fiber. Fiber helps to slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which can help to keep blood sugar levels in check.
Last but not least, its critical to maintain proper hydration throughout the day by consuming lots of water.
Following these simple tips could help you to successfully follow a low glycemic diet and improve your overall health.
Delay In Disease Progression
For the 88 million Americans with prediabetes, a term used for people with higher-than-normal blood sugar levels that arent high enough to be type 2 diabetes, weight loss can lower the risk of advancing to type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC. Losing weight can help to reduce insulin resistance and may even delay or prevent complications from arising, says Kimberly Rose-Francis, RDN, a certified diabetes care and education specialist based in Sebring, Florida.
But what about for people who have already been diagnosed? Turns out, slimming down may help them, too, and change the course of the disease. A study published in May 2016 in Diabetes Care found that 40 percent of study participants who lost about 33 pounds and maintained that weight loss for six months were able to send the condition into remission.
It should be noted, however, that this doesnt mean diabetes just went away. Diabetes cannot be reversed, but it can go into remission, meaning the signs and symptoms are reduced, Rose-Francis says. And, unfortunately, the changes arent permanent. If someone who is in remission goes back to their same unhealthy eating and drinking habits, then diabetes can come out of remission and flare back up, Rose-Francis says.
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Does Lowering Blood Sugar Help Increase Weight Loss
When blood sugar is high, your pancreas is triggered to produce more insulin to move that sugar out of your blood and into your cells. Thatâs a problem for weight loss, because your body only burns fat when it senses insulin levels dropping. Supplied with too much sugar and too much insulin, your body stores that sugar as fat that never gets burned. So while you might think youâre humming along just fine, your body may be in a chronic state of insulin production because of your chronically high blood sugar levels. This makes weight loss really hard to achieve.
Stable blood sugar, on the other hand, means your cells donât get flooded with insulin, which in turn gives your body time to burn fat for energy in between meals. The result: weight loss. If you want to use a CGM to drop pounds, take a look at how your blood sugar levels respond to different foods. Seeing your levels swing wildly after a meal? What you ate may undermine your weight loss efforts. See other foods that keep blood sugar relatively stable? Those are much more likely to help you lose.
Why A Balanced Low
Given that there are positive aspects of both a high carbohydrate and high fat diet, the combination and timing aspect brings together the better of these two approaches and is furthermore enhanced when you introduce activity. The key is to use insulin timing, which is the same as timing carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Insulin has a leveraged effect at various times of our day and especially around activity. Lets look at an example:
You plan to do an activity first thing in the morning, whether its a walk, a run or bike ride. How much do you eat?What do you eat? For any activity less than 60 minutes, its perfectly okay to eat nothing. The reason for this is that your body has an amount of stored up glucose that it can access for approximately an hour. This means you dont need to consume carbohydrate immediately to sustain this activity and it also means you wont need insulin prior to or during which means you can burn more fat.
If you are in fact hungry and need to eat prior to your activity, you should consume a small amount of good fats to satiate you until you can have your first meal of the day. Good lean proteins also work well in this way however for Type 1s, some amount of insulin may be necessary which can make the fat burning session less successful.
Whether you are very active or lightly active the balanced approach should mix the macronutrients as follows.
Less Active Individuals % of total daily calorie needs
- Carbohydrate 30-40%
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Set Eating Goals You Can Meet
Crash diets or those that limit you to a few foods are tough to keep up over the long haul, and your lost weight is likely to come back. In the long run, it’s better to start with a smaller goal, like losing 10 pounds. Set a doable date for reaching this goal. Then focus on making healthy changes in your eating and exercise habits.
Try these goals on for size. Which ones fit your lifestyle?
- I’ll eat whole-grain cereal and skim milk instead of a muffin for breakfast 4 days a week.
- I’ll cut back on eating out, or I’ll plan before I do by looking at the menu online and deciding ahead of time what to order.
- I’ll eat blueberries and nonfat yogurt instead of ice cream.
- I’ll use the “Plate Method” to help manage my portions. Non-starchy vegetables and fruits go on half the plate, starchy foods such as brown rice go on 1/4 of the plate, and lean proteins such as skinless poultry, fish, and lean meat go on the other 1/4th.
- I’ll write down everything I eat for 2 weeks.
Weight Loss Options For Diabetes
For many people with diabetes, exercise and dietary changes arent enough to lose significant weight. Here are some other weight-loss approaches that work:
Medically managed weight loss. This approach involves a team of health care providers, including physicians, nutritionists and more, who create a weight-loss program uniquely suited to you. Support includes a reduced calorie diet that may feature meal-replacement products such as OPTIFAST®, an exercise plan, behavioral counseling and medication.
Weight loss medications. There are many types of weight loss medicationssome work by making you feel less hungry, others by making it harder for the body to absorb fat. Its important that you follow your doctors advice, as some diabetes and weight loss medications have serious side effects. Weight loss medications are typically prescribed and monitored through a medical weight loss program.
Bariatric surgery. Also known as weight loss surgery, this approach permanently alters the digestive tract to limit the amount of food you can eat at one time. It has proven to be an effective option, particularly for people with diabetes. Like any significant surgery, there are risks that you should weigh. There are also some lifestyle changes that go along with this type of surgery. Consult your doctor to see if bariatric surgery is right for you.
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How To Treat A Low Blood Sugar Level Yourself
Follow these steps if your blood sugar level is less than 4mmol/L or you have hypo symptoms:
You do not usually need to get medical help once you’re feeling better if you only have a few hypos.
But tell your diabetes team if you keep having hypos or if you stop having symptoms when your blood sugar level is low.