Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Zoned Out? Fad-Free Diet Works Best for Diabetes.

WebMD Health News

June 12, 2000 (San Antonio) -- Despite never-ending warnings about how fad diets just don't work, few weight-conscious people can resist a simple solution. In general, though, people really should be skeptical of trendy claims, such as the latest that a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet will melt away the pounds.

People with diabetes should be particularly wary, according to several nutrition experts here at the 60th annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association (ADA). They're hoping that people with diabetes can ignore the heavily marketed plans and learn to plan their meals, make manageable lifestyle changes, and increase their activity level.

The pitfalls of popular diets are well-known. Despite the appeal of a "quick-fix," it appears that "slow motion gets you there faster." Not only that, but weight lost rapidly is most often regained rapidly, too.

Scientific evidence behind fad diets is at best scant, says Marion Franz, MS, RD, who spoke at the meeting.

"Ironically, patients lose weight if we stress lifestyle changes and exercise and avoid mentioning weight loss," says Franz, a dietitian at the International Diabetes Center in Minneapolis.

Fad diets are often named, modestly enough, after those who develop them, such as the Dr. Atkins and Dean Ornish diets -- or else they have catchy names, such as the "Zone" and "Sugar-Busters!" And they often have a simplistic and self-serving explanation for obesity.

For example, several low-carbohydrate diets attribute weight gain to excessive insulin production that is caused by eating a high-carbohydrate diet, says Jackie Boucher, MS, RD, who also spoke at the meeting. She is a staff dietitian at HealthPartners, a Minnesota-based HMO.

People with diabetes should be particularly cautious about the recent wave of popular diets that are high in protein and low in fat, says Elizabeth J. Mayer-Davis, PhD, RD, who also spoke at the meeting.

"A high-protein diet is often in reality a high-fat diet. Consumers are encouraged to eat foods such as hamburgers and bacon," says Mayer-Davis, who is affiliated with the University of South Carolina in Columbia. "Since 75% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease," such diets are particularly risky for them, she says.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

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.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner