Those suffering from type 2 diabetes are often looking for a healthy plan that can help them lose weight and manage their diabetes at the same time.
While Weight Watchers is one of the most popular diet programs available, it is not designed for those with diabetes. Weight Watchers has been around for over 40 years, and the program embraces several principles of healthy living. However, because the program is not for diabetics, you should seek advice from your health care professional for adaptations that can be made to the program.
One thing that can make Weight Watchers somewhat difficult to follow for those with type 2 diabetes is the fact that you cannot convert the PointsPlus system into diabetes exchanges or grams of carbohydrates. Another is that Weight Watchers recommends those with diabetes choose foods with a low glycemic index. If you choose to follow a low GI diet, you really have no need for the Weight Watchers PointsPlus plan.
Weight Watchers is a lifestyle program that is better suited for those that have not been told to follow a specific diet or exercise regimen by their doctor. Our resident pharmacist Dr. Sarah Khan warns that carbohydrates don’t have enough of a focus on the program.
“The diabetic diet consists of eating less than 130 carbs per day and Weight Watchers may not have a clear diabetic guideline for that,” she said. “When I say carbs I mean whole grain like whole wheat pastas, breads and brown rice. They have a lesser effect on blood sugar. Eating things like pasta, breads and rice that are not whole grain make the sugar go up dramatically and in type 2 diabetics this can force insulin levels up as well. I encourage people to go on diabetic diets and to eat nutrient dense food with lean meats, protein and fiber rich foods.”
Thankfully, there are helpful options for those with diabetes that want to lose weight. The key is to find a diet program that can safely meet your needs as a diabetic without being too complicated. As Dr. Sarah says, find a program that includes healthy foods and the proper types of carbs. Always seek advice from your physician or nutritionist for assurance that you are following a plan that is appropriate for your health needs.
September 16th, 2011