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Online learning resources for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and nutrition.
Diabetes 101: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels, and your diet.
Diabetes 201: Learn more about diabetes, managing your blood sugars, and your diet.
Asthma 101: Learn more about asthma and dealing with shortness of breath.
Hypertension 101: Learn more about hypertension and managing your blood pressure.
Nutrition 101: Learn more about improving your nutrition and diet

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Diabetes Library: Care of Diabetes

Weight Loss and Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association recommends limiting fat to less than 30 percent of overall calories, with less than 10 percent of calories from saturated facts. Complex carbohydrates, including fresh vegetables, grains, lentils, beans and other legumes and whole grain bread should constitute 50 percent of total calories. Protein should comprise between 12 and 20 percent of total intake. Ample fiber intake will help with digestion, and some studies even indicate that fiber helps control blood glucose levels.

Weight reduction is an integral part of any diabetic management program, and one of the best treatments of type 2 diabetes. Losing weight stabilizes blood glucose levels and lowers blood pressure, raising the "good" HDL cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and blood vessel disease.

A weight loss of just 10-20 pounds can be a major factor in dealing successfully with diabetes. In fact, blood glucose control from weight loss can sometimes improve so dramatically that the patient can stop taking or reduce insulin medication.

There are many sensible diets specifically geared toward the needs of the diabetic patient. The ideal diet for people with diabetes is basically the same as the healthy heart diet and anti-cancer diet, with specific attention to reduced calorie intake. Sweets must also be carefully restricted. In any diet, emphasis must be placed on regular, small meals, avoiding prolonged periods of fasting. A low fat, mainly vegetarian diet based on fresh fruits, vegetables and starches is now considered optimal for both weight loss and control of diabetes.

Dietary fat reduction is perhaps the most important factor in a successful weight loss program. VLDL, which produces "bad" LDL cholesterol, is produced in abundance by a high-fat diet. Saturated fats raise LDL and total cholesterol; unsaturated fats lower them. Saturated fats such as butter and lard should be replaced by unsaturated fats (preferably olive or canola oil), if not reduced altogether. High-cholesterol foods (organ meats, liver, egg yolks, and other fatty foods) should also be avoided. Foods with a high fiber content, including fresh fruits and vegetables, brown rice, oats, beans and peas, help remove cholesterol from the body.

Exercise is also a crucial factor in any weight loss program. Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, or jogging, raises "good" HDL cholesterol and benefits the entire cardiovascular system. Finding an exercise that is enjoyable is the key to the long-term commitment that is necessary to maintain permanent weight loss.

Timing of exercise is important for the person with diabetes. Exercise should be preceded by judicious snacking and followed by regular blood glucose level checks. Insulin may need to be adjusted according to the duration and strenuousness of exercise. Before beginning any diet and exercise program, the person with diabetes should check in with his or her diabetic educator or doctor.

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