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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Plate aids diabetes weight loss
Diet plate
The plates measure out healthy portions
Using a simple portion control dinner plate can help people with type 2 diabetes lose weight and decrease reliance on medication, research shows.

Canadian researchers put people with type 2 diabetes on a calorie-controlled diet for six months.

They found 17% of those who used a calibrated diet plate lost more than 5% of their body weight, compared with just 4.5% who did not.

The study appears in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Provides measured, sectioned or calibrated areas for the various types of food, such as protein, starchy carbohydrates, vegetables, dairy and fat
Once the meal is measured, it is moved to one side of the plate and then the remaining space is filled with fresh salad or vegetables

In the majority of cases type 2 diabetes is linked to carrying excess weight - 80% of people are overweight at diagnosis, and doctors recognise that weight loss can greatly improve the condition.

However, many people with diabetes find it hard to stick to a weight loss regime.

The researchers tested the effect of using a calibrated dinner plate and breakfast bowl that helps people to eat healthy sized portions.

On average those who used the diet plates lost 1.75% of their body weight, compared with just 0.05% in the group who had to rely on will power alone.

As a result, they were also much more likely to be able to decrease their reliance on diabetes-controlling medication, including shots of insulin.

As good as drugs

Lead researcher Dr Sue Pederson said the results were comparable to those achieved by taking expensive weight loss drugs.

She said: "The weight loss results are all the more impressive considering that diabetics in general do not respond well to weight loss programmes."

Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of the charity Weight Concern, said: "Losing weight is never easy and even harder for diabetics.

"To achieve these results over a six month period is excellent and with no more side effects than an occasional decrease in blood glucose, easily corrected by a reduction in medication, is very impressive indeed."

Tracy Kelly, of the charity Diabetes UK, said eating a healthy balanced diet and taking regular physical activity were the best ways of controlling weight and effectively managing diabetes.

"Cutting down on portion sizes and eating balanced meals will help people control their weight, therefore some people may find this plate useful.

"However, controlling weight can be achieved effectively without spending extra money.

"A healthy balanced diet should be based on carbohydrates and be low in fat, sugar and salt with plenty of fruit and vegetables."

09 Feb 99 |  Medical notes

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