Cut calories to control diabetes

| 04 Apr 2012 | 01:18

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes and excess body fat is the No. 1 risk factor. The good news is that losing as little as 10 percent of your body weight can reduce your risk and even reverse the disease in some people. Along with exercise, cutting calories is still the most effective and safest way to drop excess pounds. How can you cut calories? Different methods work for different people. One approach — probably the most accurate — is to add up the number of calories per serving of all the foods that you eat, and then take steps to reduce the total calories by 250 to 500 per day by eliminating some foods or reducing portion sizes. You can check websites that list the calories per serving of many foods. Two easy ways to cut calories are to switch from regular to diet soda, and to eliminate or reduce high-calorie snacks. Try one or more of these strategies: Eat high-fat, high-calorie foods less often Eat smaller portions of these foods Substitute lower-fat, lower-calorie alternatives The nutrition labels on all packaged foods and beverages provide calories-per-serving information. Make a point of reading the labels of the foods and drinks you use, noting the number of calories and the serving sizes. Many recipes published in cookbooks, newspapers, and magazines provide similar information. And a growing number of restaurants now list serving size and calorie information for the offerings on their menus. Another approach If you hate counting calories, a different approach is to limit how much you eat, and to eat meals consisting of foods that are low in calories (salad instead of mashed potatoes with butter, or fruit instead of ice cream for dessert). Dietary guidelines issued by the American Heart Association stress common sense in choosing your foods rather than focusing strictly on numbers, such as total calories or calories from fat. Whatever method you choose, research shows that the most successful approach involves sticking with a regular eating schedule — with meals and snacks planned for certain times each day — and recording what you eat. Planning meals and snacks that are no more than four hours apart can help you from becoming too hungry, which can lead to overeating. Writing down what you eat makes you more aware of when and how you get off track with your goals — and also helps you identify what does work. The same applies after you have lost weight and want to keep it off. Sticking with a regular eating routine increases your chances of maintaining your new weight. Source: Harvard Medical School