Losing weight made easy for the insulin dependent

Insulin stimulates lipogenesis. This means increased circulation of insulin stimulates formation of fats in the body. People who are insulin-dependent diabetics may find it difficult to maintain desirable body weight if eating healthy does not accompany insulin therapy. If you are of the attitude that being on insulin give you the the freedom to eat ad libitum, then you are asking for a chain of unhealthy consequences.

Insulin dose
If you are going to start on a weight loss eating plan, then your physician should be aware of this as he may want to reconsider insulin dosage. If your blood sugar is high consistently he may maintain the dose, but if the blood sugar is only slightly high, he may want to reduce insulin, so as to avoid hypoglycaemic episodes.

You may need to check your blood sugars five times a day before embarking on a diet program.

Based on this, the insulin dose and diet layout can be planned.

Points to remember when you reduce food intake
A dietician should help you with this after assessing your present food intake and blood sugars throughout the day. You should never go on a crash diet while on insulin. You also should not skip a meal. Lack of food will dip your blood sugar causing hypoglycaemia which can be dangerous. Food should be reduced gradually and consistently. Do not overeat at one meal time and try to compensate by eating less in the next. This will cause ups and downs in blood sugar levels.

Make sure you have snacks between the meals especially between breakfast and lunch, and at bedtime so as to avoid low sugar. This also helps ward off hunger. Snacks should be high fibre and lower in calories. Ideally, fruits are the best choice of mid-morning snack as they give you just enough carbohydrates to maintain blood sugar and the bulk to provide satiety. Best ones to choose are medium sized guava, apples, oranges, pears; ½ a pomegranate, grapefruit; or ¾ cup of papaya, pineapple.

Check out a range of whole grain recipes

If this does not appease your hunger then eat a plate of salad greens.

Eat only whole grains breads and cereals, avoiding maida, sieved atta, or white rice flour. It is amazing to see the results of eating high fibre on a diabetic weight loss plan. It makes the diet easier to stick to and steadies blood sugar. So, go for fibre. You can also buy wheat or oat bran and add to your bedtime milk.

Your bedtime snack should contain some kind of protein. This will help maintain a steady blood sugar throughout the night. Milk and a couple of digestive biscuits, 1 rusk and milk, 2 tablespoon of oats in milk, a fruit with a glass of milk, one slice of toast with low fat cheese or a cup of raita are different choices for bedtime eating.

Drink a lot of water throughout the day. Avoid juices, soft drinks, sugar in tea and other beverages, Ovaltine, Horlicks, etc. Protein drinks specifically for diabetics are alright to have.

Protein appeases hunger and steadies blood sugar. So, continue eating foods with protein in all meals. For example, you may reduce your rice intake but do not reduce dal.

Also read: Spacing carbs and meals for better glycemic control

There is no need to eat fat free. Good fats help your body so choose good oils. As long as you avoid fried foods and excessive oil in cooking you should be fine. A food when touched should not leave grease marks on your fingers. Unfortunately in our cooking we have a whole lot of these like fried pappads, pickles, vadas, pakoras, etc. When frying onions do not try to fry them till brown as this needs more oil.

Since the diet is based on individual blood sugar pattern, dose of insulin and lifestyle, a standard diet plan cannot be detailed here. But these tips may be a starting point for insulin dependent diabetics to eat better to lose weight.

Parvathy R Krishnan

The author is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert with over 20 years’ of experience in hospitals like Vijaya Hospital in Chennai and the Armed Forces Hospital and New Mowasat Hospitals in Kuwait. She is presently a member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. Parvathy blogs at http://premadiet.blogspot.in/

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