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Diabetes and Weight Loss

5 Smart Ways to Shrink Your Belly

By , Caring.com senior editor
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steel-cut-oats

Overweight and recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Your doctor is probably encouraging you to try to lose weight. Weight loss can help get blood sugar under control and avoid the need for medication. Shedding just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight -- 10 to 20 pounds, for a 200-pound woman -- can lower blood sugar.

Forget counting calories, though. A diabetic is better off changing the way he or she eats, says Beth Reardon, director of nutrition at Duke University's Duke Integrative Medicine. "There are no 'magic bullet' foods," she says. "Instead of thinking about calories-in, calories-out, focus on changing your lifestyle -- you'll lose weight and improve your blood sugar."

Try these key ideas to help send all your numbers in the right direction:

Baby Your Pancreas to Lose Weight -- by Choosing the Right Carbs

When you're diabetic, your pancreas is worn out from working so hard to produce insulin to process the glucose building up in the blood. Simple sugars and starches, like those in processed grains, sugary foods, most baked goods, and fruits or juices flood the system quickly with sugar. Instead, Reardon advocates showing your pancreas "loving kindness" by choosing healthier carbs -- those that are slow to absorb in the bloodstream and rich in fiber.

Remember that carbs aren't just in grains. Amp up your vegetable intake, and eat a serving or two of fruit a day. Limit grains of all kinds and when you have them, choose whole grains.

"If you're picky about the type of carbs, you don't have to worry so much about amounts," Reardon says.

Star Choices
Steel-cut oats and whole-grain barley. Great sources of soluble fiber, they increase feelings of fullness and are processed slowly.