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If you’re diabetic, carrying extra weight is dangerous for several reasons; it increases your reliance on insulin, it adds to the stress on your organs that are already suffering due to your diabetic state, and it makes blood sugar management more difficult. If you are diabetic and overweight, your doctor will suggest weight loss. If you ask for help to do so, you’ll probably be prescribed a drug like Meridia (sibutramine, an appetite suppressant), or Xenical (orlistat, which prevents fat absorption). Both cost hundreds of dollars a year, and both come with significant side-effects.

Or, you could practice portion control.

As reported by the CBC and other news sites, a recent study conducted in Calgary, Alberta, Canada found that portion control, aided by a portion-marked plate called The Diet Plate, matched the weight-loss benefits of drugs in patients with Type 2 Diabetes, and significantly surpassed the benefits of dietary counselling. The plate comes at a one-time cost of $35.00 CDN.

The CBC article is fairly restrained, but the abstract of the actual study is quite gushy. Here are some of the remarkable stats: 130 obese people with Type 2 Diabetes were selected by a team led by Dr. Sue Pedersen of the University of Calgary. 55 of the patients were insulin-dependent. The participants were given either weight control counselling or the plates, and the study was conducted over six months. By the end of the study, the portion control group had lost an average of 1.8% of their body weight, compared to 0.1% for the counselling group. 26% of the portion control group were able to reduce their use of diabetes medications, compared to 11% of the counselling group. Among the portion control group, 17% of participants lost at least 5% of their body weight – a percentage considered the threshold for health benefits related to weight loss.

The article doesn’t go into the actual stats for comparison of drugs to the plate, but the publishers of the study do state categorically that this portion control method is comparable to weight-loss drugs. I’d like to see some stats for myself, but a quick search didn’t turn anything up. What’s interesting about the study, notwithstanding the drug issue, is that the plates worked so much better than dietary counselling. It seems that having the actual plate with measurements right in front of you, telling you if you’re over-indulging, really does make a difference.

So… $35 for a plate seems pretty steep, and you could do the same thing yourself with a sharpie or some duct tape I guess, but the idea is fantastic, and the plates are pretty cute.

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One Response to “Portion control matches drugs for weight loss in type 2 diabetics”

  1. Jane says:

    Very good site! I like it! Thanks!