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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.

Weight Loss: Doing It Right

Fad diets are easy to identify: They often blame particular hormones for weight gain, suggesting that food can change body chemistry.

Trendy diets also often tout or ban a particular food. And their advice is not in line with major health advisors like the American Heart Association, American Dietetic Association, or the Surgeon General.

If you are overweight and have type 2 diabetes, it's important to change bad habits that promote weight gain. Meneghini's keys to healthy weight loss: strive for a balanced diet and more physical activity. "Small changes over time will give you very good results."

And remember, a healthy diet does not exclude any of the five food groups -- grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans, and oils -- ensuring you get essential vitamins, minerals, and protein. Because fad diets severely restrict major nutrients, they can lead to serious health problems later on.

"For some people, making note of the high-calorie junk food you've been eating, then stop eating it, is all you need to do," Meneghini tells WebMD.

This can include alcohol. "If you have diabetes, you have to be careful about alcohol," advises Gidus.

Gidus also recommends avoiding appetite suppressants. "Most people don't overeat because they're hungry. They eat for social and emotional reasons. They have bad habits."

The Bottom Line on Fad Diets

"If you're a diabetic, you need to be more savvy, more aware, and not fall into these fads," Gidus says. "They can be more damaging to your health than for the average healthy person."

As for Jared, the Subway Guy, "I think what he did was great, considering he did it on his own. He found a plan that worked for him," Gidus adds.

"Did he get enough calcium and vitamins? I don't know. But it was not terribly unhealthy -- vegetables, lean meats, bread. It's all about finding whatever will work for you. And when he lost all that weight, he reduced risk of life-threatening chronic diseases."

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Reviewed on February 10, 2006

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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