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Healthy Diet for Weight Loss with Prediabetes

Natalie
Stein
January 30, 2021
Healthy Diet for Weight Loss with Prediabetes - Lark Health
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*Results may vary. Based on the average weight loss in three, 68-week clinical trials of patients without diabetes who reached and maintained a dose of 2.4mg/week of GLP-1 treatment, along with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. View study here.
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Losing just a little weight can make a big difference when it comes to risk for diabetes. If you are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, losing just 5 to 7% of your body weight can have an impact. That is 10 to 14 lb. for someone who weighs 200 lb., or 8 to 10 lb. if you weigh 160 lb.

Still, losing "just" 10 lb. is not that easy for many of us! How can you accomplish this major feat and keep off the weight for good? These are some tips for following a healthy diet for lowering blood sugar and losing weight.

Best Foods to Choose for Healthy Weight Loss

What do you eat to lose weight? When working on weight loss, it helps to choose more low-calorie, high-nutrient foods, which the Dietary Guidelines. At the same time, it helps to limit so-called "empty calories" from high-calorie, low-nutrient foods.

Emphasize these foods at most meals. Count on these for important nutrients, but keep portions small. Limit these to small servings at special occasions.
  • Lettuces and greens
  • Other non-starchy vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, and brussels sprouts.
  • Lean proteins, such as fish, shellfish, skinless chicken and turkey, eggs and egg whites, and tofu.
  • Beans and lentils.
  • Low-fat yogurt and cheese
  • Fruit
  • Whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, and unsweetened whole-grain cereals.
  • Nuts, nut butter, peanuts, and peanut butter
  • Seeds
  • Olive oil and avocado
  • Starchy vegetables, such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and winter squash
  • Soft drinks, fruit and sports drinks, flavored coffee, and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Fatty red meat, such as fatty steak and ribs
  • Fatty processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, pepperoni, bologna, and salami
  • Candy and desserts
  • Jelly and jams
  • Fried foods
  • Butter
  • Creamy spreads, dips, and dressings
  • Creamy spreads, dips, and dressings

A simple trick, explained by the American Diabetes Association, is to divide your plate in half. Fill up half the plate with non-starchy vegetables. Then divide the rest of the plate in half, and put a lean protein in one area and a high-fiber carb, such as fruit or a whole grain, in the other.

Portion Control for Weight Loss

How much you eat impacts weight loss more than what you eat. Simply taking smaller portions of high-calorie foods and beverages can lead to weight loss. These are some examples.

  • Having only 1 cup of cooked pasta instead of a plateful.
  • Having one-third of a bagel or a mini-bagel instead of an entire full-sized bagel.
  • Having a half-cup scoop of ice cream instead of a pint.
  • Ordering a small flavored latte instead of a large one.
  • Having a tablespoon of salad dressing instead of two or more tablespoons.

Ways to Cut 250 Calories

To lose weight, it is necessary to burn more calories than you consume. This can happen if you increase physical activity or exercise more, consume fewer calories from food and beverages, or do both. 

It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose about 1 pound of body fat, according to Mayo Clinic. That means that to lose 1/2 pound per week, you would need to reduce daily calorie consumption by an average of 250 calories, or increase daily expenditure by 250 calories. Over the course of a year, that could translate into a 26-lb weight loss, which is plenty to lower health risks!

These are 10 ideas for changes that can shift calorie balance by 250 calories; that is, they can reduce calorie intake by 250 calories or increase expenditure by 250 calories.

  1. Walk briskly for an hour.
  2. Have 2 slices of pizza with light cheese and thin crust instead of regular cheese and crust.
  3. Drink water instead of a bottle of soda.
  4. Get caffeinated from an espresso or caffe Americano instead of a frappe or other coffee with flavoring syrup and whipped cream.
  5. Remove the skin from chicken before cooking it and bake or roast it instead of breading and frying it.
  6. Make or buy broth or bouillon-based soups instead of cream-based soups and have them with 1 slice of whole-grain bread instead of a large roll.
  7. Swap pureed cauliflower for mashed potatoes and cut the butter or cream in half.
  8. Order a small or kids-sized burger without sauce instead of a large burger with butter, mayo, or special sauce.
  9. Swap 1 cup of shredded wheat for 1 cup of granola, and use skim instead of whole milk.
  10. Dance for 30 minutes.

Lark's weight loss coaching includes small changes, such as the above, that can fit into your lifestyle. Lark Diabetes Prevention Program has personalized coaching on weight loss and healthy eating to lower risk for prediabetes. You may be eligible to join Lark through your health insurance or employer!

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