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Diabetes Diet

A New Way for People with Diabetes to Lose Weight

We have many tips and tactics on how those of us who have diabetes can get down to a healthy weight and then keep off those pounds. I have written about many of them here, and each of them probably help some of us some of the time.

Like just about everyone else who has diabetes, I have struggled most of my life with my weight. So many of us are overweight, in fact, that one government study that I have cited here several times says that more than 85 percent of all people with diabetes — including both type 1s and type 2s — have an unhealthy body mass index of 25 or more. This compares with the one-third of all Americans who are overweight. And for us being overweight is not only much more common but it also makes it much harder to control our blood sugar level.

I was able to shed most of those unneeded pounds starting in 2006 when I started taking Byetta. The next year, when I wanted to stay thin without any diabetes drugs, I lost even more weight when I switched to a very low-carb diet.

Losing that weight was one of the hardest things I ever did. But keeping it off proved to be even harder. I eventually set my goal to get down to a BMI of 19.5, the low end of the normal range, and actually reached it from time to time. But as I wrote here a year ago, after my weight increased when I took a cruise on a small ship, I simply failed at maintaining the weight I wanted to have.

Until I hit on a new way that for me is both simple and surprisingly easy. I am not claiming that it will work for everyone, and in fact it probably won’t be as easy for people who don’t follow a very-low carb diet and aren’t as motivated as I was by the discouragement over my repeated failures to maintain my healthy weight.

One cornerstone of this new way to lose weight and maintain weight loss is a twist on a standard dieting recommendation. But instead of weighing myself once a week, I weigh myself every morning.

Supposedly people get discouraged from daily weigh-ins because our weight seems to fluctuate up or down a couple of pounds every day for no good reason, or for at least for no reason that we can figure out. The fluctuations are certainly true in my experience. But, of course, the same fluctuations happen when we make our weigh-ins once a week, and that would be even more misleading.

Then, when the scales tell me that my weight is up that morning from the previous morning, I make an immediate course correction, which we know is easier in the long run than to wait until things get totally out of hand. My immediate course correction is simple. I skip dinner that day.

After eating my typical breakfast and lunch that day, I avoided consuming any calories after about 1 or 2 p.m. I do drink plenty of water, tea, and iced herbal tea.

Sometimes I tell myself that skipping dinner is intermittent fasting. But that would be an exaggeration. Most people think of intermittent fasting as fasting for at least 12 if not 24 hours, and can be a good thing for us to do for several reasons.

Because I don’t eat any wheat or other grains that are well known for being addicting and for making us hungry, going without dinner once in a while isn’t a problem for me. Others who don’t follow a very low-carb diet may noticed that their mileage may vary.

On July 4, when my weight was five pounds above my goal, I first put this new way to a test by skipping dinner that night. The next morning my weight was down by more than one pound. Since then, I have skipped dinner five more times, when my weight was up from the previous day and it was more than my goal weight.

The result? I am travelling now without my scales, but the last time I checked I was two pounds below my goal weight. And I just returned from another trip — and that trip was on a small cruise ship.

Maintaining my weight, which used to be the most difficult thing I ever did, has become easy with this new way. It might be easy for you too when you try it.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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  • saddaf at

    dear david, I am sure you know about moringa tree specially for diabetics. i have the powder as a focus group in local agri university is promoting its use for various purposes including diabatetes calling it miracle tree. it is said that taking 8 gm of moringa leaf powder per day for two weekshas considerable bg lowering effect. i am unable to get any authentic information other than research on some rats. can you share some thing with us on this topic? thanks.

  • D V Srikanth at

    Reducing body weight by this particular method definitely needs top levels of commitment from the individual. It is good that you specifically expressed doubt over this method showing desired results for everyone. Also, for some diabetics, skipping meals on a regular basis could prove risky for the overall health. A word of caution asking people to consult their respective doctors, prior to starting this method, would have been helpful. Overall, this is a decent article speaking about a novel way of weight reduction.

    Source: http://www.diabeticvillage.com

  • Louise Dorich at

    Dear David,
    What about low blood sugar when you skip dinner. Does it affect you, and of course you don’t take your byetta if you skip a meal. Very often, I skip lunch because I wake up late in the morning but at around 3pm I have to eat a fruit with 1 once of cheese so my blood sugar doesn’t go to low. I just received my check up results and my Doc couldn’t believe is eyes, from being sky high to having results as if I don’t have diabetes and furthermore my cholesterol went down to without medication because I am allergic to sterols. The only thing I can complain about is this, I am cold, cold, cold all the time and it’s not a normal cold I can’t get warm my teeth chatter and this is terrible sensation. My family jokes about it saying it’s the lezard venom in byetta but it’s no joke to me. Do you have an idea, could it be a Byetta side effect… Thank you! Louise

    • David Mendosa at

      Dear Louise,

      When you don’t eat, you can indeed go too low (below 65 or 70) but only if you are taking diabetes medication — and only certain medication, generally limited to insulin and sulfonylureas. I don’t take any diabetes medication, so I don’t ever go too low. I took Byetta until 2007, when I decided to control my diabetes without any medication. The only way that’s possible is on a very low-carb diet. And I have never seen anything that would indicate that when Byetta users skip dinner they would go low — of course, you would also have to skip that injection of Byetta!

      Being cold all the time is very likely a symptom of hypothyroidism, definitely not Byetta. This condition can be easily managed, but it is a common complication of diabetes. Note, however, that different doctors treat it at different levels. Some people like to treat it with different drugs and some people even use different tests to diagnose it.

      Still, you can easily determine yourself if you have it. If you do, then you can get a doctor to treat it. Start by reading my trwo articles on it at:


      Best regards,


  • linda at

    How many carbs do you consider low carb?

    • David Mendosa at

      Dear Linda,

      I follow what people call a “very low carb diet,” although I sometimes say just low carb. What I mean in any case is fewer than 50 or 60 grams of carbohydrate per day. That’s total carbs not net carbs.


  • Javed Alam at

    How about some light food like cucumber etc for dinner?

    • David Mendosa at

      Dear Javed,

      I suppose you could. But where do you draw the line? With intermittent fasting the line is clear. And we have good evidence that it’s otherwise good for us, as I indicated at:


      Best regards,


  • David Hogan at

    I’m with you on the grains and just finished “Cereal Killers” my problem I think was I tried a low fat diet after he got my sugars under control and believe it or not I gained another 20 pounds. He actually told me he would have worried had I not gained weight after getting on the insulin as he said I was simply urinating out my calories. All I know is that I put on 50+ pounds after stopping smoking and going on insulin and the low fat did nothing to help me. I’m not going to go crazy with meat and such but I’m going to introduce “good fats” back in my diet and have found some organic sources in a nearby farm.

    There is no doubt in my mind that grains did me in years ago as I spent years behind a computer desk working on databases for clients and at 3:00 AM in the morning it was easy to pour another bowl of sugary cereal.

    I’m about to go buy ” Good Calories – Bad Calories” and hope I soon find some balance in food that works and can get off this insulin as well.

  • David Hogan at

    Thanks for the tip, I’ll try it. In 2010 I quit smoking after 35 years of up to 4 packs a day. I gained 35 pounds after 6 months. Then I finally got to see an endocrinologist after waiting for almost a year to get one and he put me on short and long term insulin and after years of metformin and high sugars it got under control. And I walk a minimum of 2 miles every day and I struggle big time with weight still. I’m fixing to start some supervised weight training in addition to the walking and will give the skipped dinner a try, but I’m typically ravenous hungry at night. I could write on and on about everything I’ve tried, BUT I’ll keep trying to be healthy so keep the tips coming, and thanks.

    • David Mendosa at

      Dear David,

      I hope that it works for you as well as it works for me. Yes, hunger can be a problem, but that is only because of grains. It is the grains that make us hungry, as I have written (also please read Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis). Skipping dinner is really no problem when you don’t eat grains.

      Best regards,