Updated 13 February 2017

Diabetes: dieting tips

If you have diabetes, and need to lose weight for health reasons, it is important for you to stick to your changed eating plan.


If every Monday is "start a new diet day" in your life, something made it impossible for you to stick to last week’s diabetes diet

There are ways of making life a little easier for yourself, and remember the slower you lose weight, the longer it stays off.


  • Eat breakfast. This will prevent you from feeling starving at 11 am and eating a chocolate doughnut from the office canteen.
  • Drink lots of water. It will cleanse your system and make you feel fuller.
  • Eat at regular intervals. Don’t wait until you are starving, because then you are more likely to overeat.
  • Eat slowly as it takes 20 minutes for the signals from a full stomach to reach the brain.
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Fruit will also prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping.
  • If you really crave something, have it – in moderation. The moderation is very important if you are diabetic – eating a large piece of chocolate could have serious consequences.
  • Don’t let your diet put an end to your social life. If you are invited for dinner, don’t tell the hostess what she can and can’t cook. Just eat whatever there is in moderation. Or else, eat at home beforehand and just taste everything. When going to a restaurant, get a salad, or share something with another person. Don’t make your diet everybody else’s problem. You might not get invited again.
  • Don’t snack while doing other things like watching TV or cooking.
  • Low-calorie does not have to mean tasteless. Experiment with condiments and spices to make your food less bland.
  • Plan to have mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks of fruit or rice cakes or low-calorie or sugarfree bars. Just check the fat content as well. Make sure that you have these readily available.
  • Remember that your calorie requirements increase when you are premenstrual, but then, so does your metabolism, so don’t punish yourself too much.
  • Learn to reward yourself with things other than food, such as a new book, a movie or a nice magazine.
  • Don’t obsess about food and what you should and shouldn’t eat. Say to yourself that if you really want something, you can have it, in moderation, so you won’t think of food all the time. There is nothing more boring than someone who can speak about nothing else than the diet they’re on. Except perhaps someone talking about their dreams.
  • Don’t give up your diet because you ate something about which you feel guilty. What is really important is what happens the majority of the time, so if you stuck to your eating plan from Monday to Saturday, don’t abandon all efforts because you ate something you shouldn’t have at Sunday lunch.
  • Brush your teeth often. When your mouth feels fresh, you are less likely to be tempted to snack.
  • Accept that there may be a psychological reason why you have a tendency to overeat. Go and see a counsellor. 


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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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