But, says Nora Saul, RD, CDE, a certified diabetes educator and manager of nutritional education at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, "people who have diabetes can, with a little forethought, use many of the healthy popular diets."
Weight-Loss Plans for Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes and want to lose weight, here are some sensible diet options to try.
DASH Diet: "Although originally designed to lower blood pressure, DASH - or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension - is an all-around good eating plan," says Saul
In fact, U.S. News
and World Report rated the DASH diet as tops for treating diabetes in a May 2011 article.
That's because the diet is high in fruits and vegetables, which means it's high in fiber, antioxidants, and potassium.
It's also high in low-fat dairy, calcium, lean protein, and whole grains.
"It has meal plans for different calorie levels," says Saul
, which allows flexibility according to your weight.
South Beach Diet: The South Beach Diet is a modified low-carb diet that emphasizes healthy fats.
If you want to try it, Saul
advises sticking to the maintenance phase of the diet.
"The initial phases are too low in carbohydrates," Saul points out.
Yes, people with diabetes have to watch how many carbs and the type of carbs they eat, but you don't want to cut them out entirely.
"I encourage whole grains," says Saul, who warns against eliminating any specific food group, even for weight loss. (Note: Everyday Health is the publisher of SouthBeachDiet.com.)
Weight Watchers: Weight Watchers is a popular commercial weight-loss plan.
It's also a good choice if you have type 2 diabetes, in part because the system provides group support and accountability in addition to a structured eating plan.
People with diabetes might need to make some modifications to the diet plan, however.
For example, explains Saul
, in the latest version of Weight Watchers counting system or "points," fruit has zero points.
But for people with diabetes, a serving size of fruit does count toward total carb intake for the day.
Mediterranean Diet: Though not a specific eating plan, a Mediterranean diet mimics the way that people who live in countries around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece and Italy, tend to eat.
Rich in beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains, and seafood, it isn't so much a weight-loss diet as a different way of eating.
"People lose weight because they are full and are not eating a lot of the empty calories they consumed before," says Saul
, who says this concept works well for people with diabetes, too.
GI Diet: A low glycemic index (GI) diet is an excellent choice for people with type 2 diabetes, Saul