Browsing Tag


Diabetes Diet

Losing Weight the Easy Way

With all the attention this week being given to the FDA’s review concerning heart problems connected with Avandia, one of the major diabetes drugs, you may have missed the bad news for what could have been the first new prescription drug for obesity in more than a decade. Another FDA advisory panel voted against Qnexa, which Vivus Inc. developed.

In year-long clinical trials people who took the highest dose of Qnexa averaged a 10.6 percent weight loss. Those taking a placebo lost 1.7 percent of their body weight.

Unfortunately for Vivus and for people who want to lose weight, the side effects of Qnexa outweighed its benefits in the minds of most of the FDA’s panel members. These weren’t niggling concerns. They include the possibility that people taking Qnexa would be depressed and think suicidal thoughts, have their memory and concentration impaired, be at greater risk of kidneys stones, and could suffer from heart problems.

If the FDA still approves Qnexa in spite of the panel’s recommendation against it, this could be the easy way for the great majority of people with diabetes to lose the 10 percent of our weight that our doctors have told us that we need to do. Almost everyone who has type 2 diabetes is overweight. Our government’s statistics show that 85 percent of all American adults with diabetes are overweight.

If an effective weight loss drug is no longer an option for us, we could be left with our own resources. Still, I know that drugs we already have to control our blood glucose can also help some of us with type 2 diabetes to lose weight. I lost a lot of weight by taking Byetta, and friends of mine are achieving weight loss success with Victoza.

But since all drugs carry with them the risk of side effects, which is the FDA’s biggest concern, many of us would like to be taking as few drugs as possible. We can’t do it with with willpower alone, as Gina Kolata emphasizes in her book Rethinking Thin.

In 2007 I decided to do without drugs entirely and yet I lost even more weight. The strategy that I adopted was the only proven way, a very low-carb diet, very much like the one that Dr. Richard K. Bernstein has himself followed for years and has taught successfully to thousands of his patients with diabetes. By following the recommendations in his
Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, I was able to bring my weight down from 170, when I started low-carbing in December 2007 to 151 last October.

But this year has been murder for my weight. In all my traveling since February I lost control. While I had no problem staying on a very low-carb diet, I ate too much fat and protein when eating out and wasn’t able to reliably check my weight on a daily basis so that I could immediate take corrective action. Consequently, my weight crept up as
high as 169 a few months ago.

Only by carefully watching what I eat and weighing myself every morning have I been able to start bringing it back down to where I am more healthy, feel better, and my clothes fit. Today my weight is down to 162, but I still have a way to go to reach my ultimate weight goal of 155.

I know that I’ll do it. I also know that we still don’t have any easy way to lose weight and to keep it off.

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

Diabetes Medication

Diabetes Drug Dangers

A single research report that found risks in one of the medications that we take to control our diabetes would warrant our attention. But when three separate studies find serious side effects from all our major drugs, the time is right for us to reconsider how we control our blood glucose levels.

Most of us think of our diabetes drugs, diet, and exercise as the three basic ways we do that. But drugs come first. Maybe they should come last, at least for all of us with type 2 diabetes, who unlike type 1s have a choice.

Since March 10, studies have called into question the side effects of metformin, the glitazones, insulin, and the sulfonylureas.
Continue Reading


Social Costs of Weight

Those of us who have diabetes pay a physical cost for it that we know all too well. But many of us aren’t aware of the social cost that we pay for being overweight, which usually accompanies our diabetes.

Fat prejudice is even more subtle than our society’s racial and gender biases and those against and gays and lesbians. Our most recent prejudice, of course, is that against those of the Muslim faith from the Middle East, and that prejudice is anything but subtle. Now, however, social scientists know how to measure fat prejudice.
Continue Reading

Exercise For Diabetes

Faces of Change

The Novo Nordisk travelling exhibit of the faces of people who have changed for the better after a diabetes diagnosis is now online. It’s been a long time coming.

For several months the exhibit has been on tour in major cities around the country. Now it’s coming to Chicago’s Navy Pier from September 26-29 and Atlanta’s Woodruff Park on October 17-20. Novo Nordisk is planning to continue promoting the Meet the Face of Change exhibit in 2009, but hasn’t announced the details yet.
Continue Reading

Diabetes Developments

ADA: Day 4

San Francisco — Some numbers that the American Diabetes Association told me today can give you a sense of the scale of its meeting here at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Its 68th Scientific Sessions started Friday and ends tomorrow.

The ADA’s press office says that so far they have counted 15,630 attendees. Most of these are medical professionals. But when they include exhibitors at the many booths, they’ve counted 20,912 people here so far.
Continue Reading

Exercise For Diabetes

Exercise Helps Mood and Vice Versa

Life is full of vicious circles. The opposite, virtuous circles, are all too rare.

The first virtuous circle I ever remember finding was the positive relationship between Byetta and exercise. “The more weight I lost and the more I exercised, the more energy I had,” I wrote in my forthcoming book, Losing Weight with Your Diabetes Medication. “All this feedback gave me more motivation than ever to keep on losing weight.”

Continue Reading