Eating a healthy diet and staying active are important for everyone. For people with diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), prediabetes, and obesity, food and exercise play an even greater role in managing day-to-day health. Unfortunately, despite all the popular articles and books, the research on nutrition, exercise, and obesity is very complex, and there is still a lot we don’t know.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see in-depth articles about physical activity, nutrition, weight management therapies, and more.
To start, there are a few key points that are worth noting:
- Losing weight and building muscle reduces insulin resistance, which is one of the underlying factors that cause type 2 diabetes. Most diabetes drugs reduce blood sugar, which is a symptom of type 2 diabetes and leads to complications. This is good, but diet and exercise work to address the root cause of type 2 diabetes.
- It isn’t easy to lose weight and keep it off permanently after gaining it. But even small improvements do really make a difference!
- There is no consensus on the best way to lose weight, although successful tips include keeping a food diary, having a regular exercise program, and having people supporting you. Many obesity specialists agree that the ‘best’ diet is simply the one that works best for you.
- Even small levels of activity, such as walking after meals, can help reduce A1c.
- A healthy diet and exercise can prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes.
- People with diabetes are advised to eat complex carbs (like green vegetables, whole grains, beans, and more), which take longer to digest and cause less intense spikes in blood sugar. Simple carbs (such as soda and fruit drinks, white bread, and more) are digested rapidly and can cause immediate blood sugar spikes. (If someone with diabetes is hypoglycemic, these simple carbs are often used to increase blood sugar back to safe levels again).