Many people know what it’s like to struggle with obesity. The numbers are shocking: in the U.S., around 87 million adults are overweight or obese. That’s one in two people. It’s a major public health issue, and a major factor in increased health care costs.
For people with diabetes, keeping a healthy weight can be even more difficult. If you’re a type 1 diabetic, it’s crucial to stay within your calorie limits and monitor your blood sugar levels. And let’s be real: most people with diabetes try to lose weight, but struggle with doing so successfully. Which makes sense, because there are so many factors that can destabilize blood sugar levels.
The Most Important Thing To Keep In Mind
If you’re looking to lose weight as a type 1 diabetic, you need to remember one thing above all else: keep your blood sugar levels as steady as possible. The fluctuation in blood sugar levels caused by large amounts of food going in can be especially destabilizing, particularly if you have unstable blood sugar levels in the first place. Which is why a lot of the advice that is given for people who are hoping to lose weight focuses on avoiding foods with a high glycemic index (GI)—the chemical makeup of which immediately determines how much your blood sugar levels will spike after you eat it). It’s also why many people opt for low-fat diets: while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to eat less fat, it also means your blood sugar levels will become more unstable, which in turn may cause you to gain more weight than you’ve lost.
Now, as important as it is to avoid foods with a high glycemic index, it’s also crucial to remember that not all carbohydrates are created equal. There are some carbohydrates that provide your body with more energy, and therefore may help you to lose weight better than others. One such carbohydrate is fructose. If you’re not familiar, fructose is a type of sugar that your body doesn’t process as efficiently as other sugars. It’s usually found in fruit, and definitely has the tendency to raise blood sugar levels quickly.
When you eat fruit, it typically starts out as starch, which your body turns into sugar (fructose). Your pancreas then releases a hormone called insulin to help transport this sugar from your bloodstream to your cells. What this means is that if you have diabetes and eat a piece of fruit, your blood sugar levels will shoot up immediately, and possibly cause you to pass out or experience other symptoms of hypoglycemia.
So while it’s important to avoid foods with a high glycemic index (GI) in order to keep your blood sugar levels steady, it’s also important to eat some fruit and starchy vegetables in order to maintain healthy insulin levels and help you to maintain a healthy weight.
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to lose weight as a type 1 diabetic is that there are so many pitfalls along the way. It’s not all bad, though. There are definitely foods that you can eat that will help you to lose weight, and the list includes some of your favorite dishes. What you need to watch out for are the hidden sugars that are often found in processed foods and restaurant meals. While it’s never fun to learn that a food you’re eating contains sugar, it’s important to remember that every food has some amount of sugar in it, whether it’s stated on the nutritional label or not.
If you see a food that you think contains sugar, it’s usually best to avoid it. Sometimes, if the food is really popular and you’re not sure if it contains added sugar or not, it may be difficult to find a healthier option. In those cases, it’s usually best to choose an alternative that doesn’t contain any sugar. You can also ask the nutritionist at your local food pantry if they can suggest alternatives that are healthier. Some of the foods that are high in fiber help to keep your digestive system moving, preventing you from feeling lethargic and sluggish.
When you start losing weight as a type 1 diabetic, it’s often difficult to keep up with the pace. It’s likely that you’ll gain some weight back once you hit a certain level, and then have to start over again. This is why it’s important to learn how to cook healthy and nutritionally sound meals, how to eat out without destroying your health, and how to recognize the signs of whether or not you’re making healthy choices. By doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy your newfound thinness without suffering from the unpleasant repercussions that often come with obesity. Good luck out there.