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Diabetes Health Center

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How Not to Lose Weight With Type 2 Diabetes

By Barbara Brody
WebMD Feature

Whether you've been trying to slim down for a while, or your doctor has recently urged you to do so to help control your diabetes, you understand that the stakes are high.

Not only will losing weight help you look and feel better, but it can improve your blood sugar levels and, in some cases, you may not even need medication anymore.

Yet some diets are better than others, and there are some that are especially bad for you if you have type 2 diabetes. Don't make these six diet mistakes.

Mistake #1: Making all carbs the enemy.

Carbohydrates turn into sugar, so they're bad for people with diabetes, right? Not exactly. While too many carbs can cause problems, a certain amount is essential.

"Almost every process in your body requires carbohydrates,” says Constance Brown-Riggs, RD, certified diabetes educator and author of The African American Guide to Living Well with Diabetes. For instance, your brain needs carbs, she says, and not getting enough can mess with your memory.

"Even if you have diabetes, nearly half of your calories should come from carbohydrates," says Jaclyn London, senior dietitian at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Going too low-carb can lower blood sugar to dangerous levels in people who take medications that increase insulin levels, such as sulfonylureas (Diabinese, Amaryl) or meglitinides (Starlix, Prandin), London says.

Ask your doctor, a registered dietitian, or a certified diabetes educator if the diet you want to try gives you the right mix of carbs, protein, fat, and all the nutrients you need.

Mistake #2: Going too long without eating.

"It's important to eat every 3 to 4 hours," says Carolyn Brown, RD, a New York nutritionist.

Aside from keeping your metabolism fired up, eating regularly prevents your blood sugar from spiking too high or dropping too low, she says.

Letting hours pass without eating can lead to low blood sugar, which in turn, may contribute to overeating.

Going too long without food could also affect how your body processes certain diabetes medications, London says. And

However, it’s important to remember, to keep your portions and calories in check with every meal and snack so you don’t go over your total calorie budget for the day.

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