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Diabetes and the Risk of Fad Diets

Plenty of popular gimmicks promise quick weight loss, but for people with diabetes, fad diets can be dangerous.

Carb-Controlling Diets continued...

"Glycemic index diets are very confusing, and they're not backed by the American Diabetes Association," says Gidus.

"There are several phases of these diets, where you're restricted to eating all green, all yellow, or all red foods," Gidus adds. "Mixing in other foods totally throws the whole thing off, but nobody eats just one food at a time -- which is why the ADA does not endorse it. You need to be aware of total carbs, that's what the science shows is most important."

Meal Replacement Diets

Meal replacement products -- like Slim-Fast diet shakes and snacks -- are another weight loss strategy.

The Slim-Fast plan involves eating six small meals/snacks every day -- with three involving Slim-Fast products. The rest of the day, you're on your own to choose healthy meals. No foods are forbidden; you can still eat your favorites. However, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables are emphasized.

The products take the guesswork out of portion control, says Nonas.

"A person with diabetes can do a Slim-Fast diet," she explains. "What's important is that you're eating healthy meals, eating smaller portions, eating fruit and vegetables, and getting some exercise. You also need to monitor your blood sugar."

One word of caution: "You must take into account the number of carbs in those products," Gidus tells WebMD. "You may need a shake plus a banana. Also, just because something is low-carb doesn't mean it's good for you. There's the danger of going too low."

Also, if you're eating six small meals a day -- instead of three - adjust your insulin or medications to allow for this change. That's why discussing any of these diets with your doctor is an absolute must.

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