Why it is harder for people with diabetes to lose weight?
On average, people with diabetes have a significantly higher insulin level than people without diabetes – one of the reasons why it is harder for them to lose weight. Insulin is a "storage hormone” which regulates the carbohydrate and fat metabolisms in the body. An increased insulin level leads to more fat storage in the fat cells. Simultaneously, the breakdown of fat is inhibited. A strong rise and/or decline of blood sugar and insulin can also cause hunger attacks.
How can balanced blood levels help people with diabetes lose weight?
Insulin is produced in the pancreas and released into the blood when the amount of glucose in the blood increases. After you eat, your blood sugar levels increase. This increase causes your pancreas to release insulin so that your blood sugar levels do not get too high. Simply put, each time your blood sugar level increases, your insulin level increases as well. Since a lower insulin level helps the body burn more fat, it is important to keep the blood sugar level balanced to avoid insulin spikes. This also helps to avoid food cravings.
How can you control your blood sugar and insulin levels?
Not all carbohydrates elevate your blood sugar and insulin levels equally. Whether those levels increase a little or a lot depends on the glycemic index (GI) of the food you consume. The GI is a numerical scale used to indicate how fast and how high a particular food can raise blood sugar levels. The lower the GI, the less your blood sugar will rise. Lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy products, vegetables and legumes (beans, peas and lentils), and whole grains are a good choice. When it comes to fruits, certain fruits are better than others. Berries and apples for instance have a lower glycemic index than watermelon or pineapple. Additionally, please keep in mind that there are different types of carbohydrates. Glycemic index charts can be found online. In general, foods that have a GI that is below 55 should be preferred. Complex carbohydrates (such as whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta or brown rice) provide vitamins, minerals and fiber which simple carbs lack. Simple carbs are foods that are high in processed, refined sugars, like candy, soda, syrups. They provide so-called “empty” calories, as they contain very little nutrition. It is wise to limit these sugars.
To increase your intake of complex carbohydrates and to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels balanced:
• Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.
• Make at least half your grains whole by eating whole grain rice, breads and cereals.
• Eat more legumes (beans, lentils and dried peas).