The Facts and Myths about Weight Loss and Diabetes

(WVLT) -- With November being Diabetes Awareness Month, it's important for everyone to be aware of the risks associated with the disease and how to prevent it.

Type two diabetes can often be prevented with a gradual weight loss plan and proper diet. That's why we talked with Molly Gee, a registered dietitcian for education on diabetes and tips to prevent it.

Here are some facts and myths about the disease:
Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease and only affects a small portion of the U.S. population.
Fact: Diabetes affects 25.8 million Americans and causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Diabetes is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke.

Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: Foods do not cause diabetes but eight in 10 people with diabetes are overweight or obese.

Studies have shown the benefits of weight loss for people with or at risk of developing diabetes: a slight 5-7% weight loss, plus regular exercise can reduce the rate of onset of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Gee says, "Just small changes, a modest weight loss, 10 to 20 pounds which translates to about 5 to 10% can make a real difference in controlling your diabetes and really improving your quality of life."

By providing structure around daily eating plans and controlling calorie intake, people can take better control of their diabetes and/or minimize the risks. "Having a balanced diet that includes protein, whole grains, fiber is very important, and then most of my patients tell me they'd love to do it but they run out of time and this is where portion control, calorie control is really important. Monitoring their blood sugar is so important, especially when theyre trying to lose weight. I do remind my patients to check with your doctors before you start on a weight loss diet or an exercise diet, but usually monitoring it right before you go to bed or when you get up is a pretty good standard."

Also, get active by starting physical activity on a gradual basis. Gee says, "The weight control registry really has some clear ideas and one of course is to really keep moving. Keeping with the theme of small steps, just starting out with ten minutes a day of walking will put you on the road of good activity and working up gradually to 30 minutes. You really find that you feel better and really, physical activity helps control that blood sugar as well."

For more information on controlling diabetes, visit


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