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Diet and Nutrition

Weight loss to help prevent diabetes

03/08/2006

Question:

I am a 36 year-old woman with benign hypertension. I was informed by my doctor a couple of days ago that I am boarderline diabetic. I am approximately 5 foot 7.5 inches tall and I weigh about 252 pounds. I want to know what would be an acceptable amount of calories and carb intake in order to lose weight?

Answer:

Thanks for your question.  Kudos to you for taking control your health at a young age.  At your height and current weight, your calorie intake for weight loss is approximately 1700 calories/day.  If you are very active, you may even lose weight with 2000 calories/day.  Of this, at least 40% should come from carbohydrate (170-200 gms/day).  Other tips to help prevent diabetes include:

1.  Lose at least 10% of your body weight.  By reducing your weight by just 25 lbs, you will improve your body's sensitivity to insulin and prevent diabetes.

2.  Choose whole grain carbohydrates over refined carbohydrates.  These will help you feel fuller longer and will also help manage blood sugar levels.  Whole grains include whole wheat bread, whole wheat and bran cereal, oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat pasta.  Cut back on refined sugars such as regular soda, candy, cake, pie, cookies, white bread, white rice and other overly processed foods.

3.  Exercise at least 30-60 minutes/day 3-5 times per week.  Exercise will aid in weight loss and blood pressure reduction and also improve insulin sensitivity.  Find a partner to join you in this endeavor to keep you motivated.

4.  Eat at least 40% of your total calories from carbohydrates.  Your body needs carbohydrates for energy and to break down fat appropriately- so don't cut them out of your diet.  As mentioned above, choose healthy carbs such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

5.  Eat a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.  Diabetes and high blood pressure are risk factors for heart disease.  Try to eat baked, broiled or grilled foods over fried foods.  Avoid heavy sauces, gravy, butter and margarine.  Choose low fat dairy products when possible.  Finally, eat more plants and less animals, meaning more whole fruits, vegetables and grains and less meat.

For more information on calories, serving sizes and meal plans, check out the New Food Pyramid on the link below.  Good luck!

Related Resources:

Food Pyarmid

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Response by:

Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Adjunct Faculty
University of Cincinnati