Weight Loss Diet For Type I Diabetes

A weight loss diet and regular exercise are critical factors in the management of type 1 diabetes. To effectively control your blood glucose levels and lose weight, it is important to understand the proper ways to balance food intake–physical activity and insulin. Making healthy food choices is something that has both immediate and long-term effects for someone with type 1 diabetes.

Meal Timings

Eating a consistent amount of food everyday and taking medications can greatly improve your blood glucose control and lower your risk of diabetes-related complications like coronary artery disease, kidney disease and nerve damage. In addition, eating consistently impacts your ability to control your weight. Working with a dietician to create a weight loss food plan that is tailored to your medical needs, lifestyle and preferences is key to successfully losing weight.

Recommended Caloric Intake

The number of calories that you need to maintain your current weight depends on your age, sex, height, weight and activity level. Generally:

  • Men and active women need 15 calories per pound
  • Most women, sedentary men and adults over 55 years old need 13 calories per pound
  • Sedentary women and obese adults need 10 calories per pound

To safely lose weight at the recommended rate of 1 to 2 pounds weekly, simply subtract 500 to 1000 calories from your total needed to maintain your weight. As you begin to lose weight and throughout your weight loss process, you will need to recalculate your recommended caloric intake based on your new weight.

General Recommendations

To effectively lose weight and maintain a healthy diet, less than 25% to 35% of calories daily should be fat, with less than 7% of those calories being derived from saturated fats (and even more minimal from trans fats). People with diabetes are at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke, and eating a diet low in saturated fats and trans fats can help decrease the risk and lower cholesterol levels.

15% to 20% of calories daily should be derived from protein, unless you have chronic kidney problems. Your diet should also be high in fiber, consuming about 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, which can help to control your blood glucose levels. Additionally, you should consume less than 2300 mg of sodium daily to help manage blood pressure.

Weight Loss and Exercise

Coupling a healthy diet plan with regular exercise is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. 30 minutes per day most days of the week is the recommended amount of exercise. If you take insulin, you will need to check your blood glucose before and after exercising, until you get a sense of what effect exercise has on your blood glucose level. You may need to eat a snack during exercising or make adjustments to your insulin dose.

Before you begin any weight loss diet, speak to you doctor or dietician to make sure you plans are safe for your specific situation. By planning effectively and safely (losing weight through a healthy diet), you can successfully drop the extra weight and manage your type 1 diabetes.


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Posts By Sequoia
  • rebecca

    i have type 1 diabetes. i want to lose weight fast but i am feeling negative about my body. i used to be extremely atheletic when i was younger until i got to my gcse and wanted to concentrate on my exams and since then, the weight has been piling on. i really want to motivate myself to be more active. i could say my diet could improve but it isnt bad. i have increased my water intake and the amount of vegetables and fruit i am eating. my doctors have said that my diabetic control has improved a lot which is a positive, so my greatest concern is my fitness levels.
    any advice would be great in motivating me to get more active.
    what exercise is known to be the best for weight loss? etc etc

  • rebecca

    I too feel the frustrations Rebecca talks about, regardless of how good my diet is, my body is not responding to weight loss. I am constantly told by doctors insulin is a growth hormone and it will take a long time…..this was never the case before and I have been a type 1 diabetic for 12 years. Has anyone else experienced a change in their body not responding to good weight loss diet?? I know exercise is the key but I kept getting hypo’s and just not finding that crucial balance of food, exercise and insulin intake, particularly overnight. Very frustrated!

  • Bwn

    Has anyone tried the Nutrisystem d? I am curious if the portioned meals would assist in weight loss. I used to work out 5-6 days a week and was in very good shape then life happened and my weight snowballed on me. I am now running at least mile every other day aiming for three but I am still gaining weight. I am very frustrated:(

  • jason

    Im 34 yrs old and have been a type 1 diabetic since i was 7. so ive had it for 27 yrs. i have always worked and always worked out w weights at a gym. about 2 yrs ago i had got retinopathy in my eyes and the drs restricted me from doing any at all for over a 1yr. when the dr released me to go back to normal activity i bought a wii fit outfit and some workout dvds. im 5’10” 215lbs. now and when i started working out again after the restrictions i was up to 263lbs. im glad im down to 215 but i wanna get down to around 185. i have a muscular build and the fat that i have now is on my belly and lovehandles. i have been stuck around this 210-220 mark for 3-4 months now. i eat a good diet and exercise daily on a treadmill or cardio workouts but im stuck and need some help.

  • swathy

    Hi guys,
    I came across this website because I was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a couple months ago aged 21. I’m a student and the ironic thing is this happened AFTER i started going to the gym and trying to improve my diet! Now like anyone else I enjoy the carbs, like pizza and pasta now and again – I wouldn’t say I’m “fat” necessarily, I’m about 5″4 – 5″5 and weigh approximately 125 – 130 pounds (about 64-65kg-ish). I used to be a lot slimmer and in better shape – I know what you mean when you say you get hypos, it happened straight away but the trick instead of drinking water whilst on the treadmill or whatever, take sips of Lucozade to balance the sugars.
    Make sure to have a healthy snack after exercising upon checking your sugar levels also.
    My aim now is to find another way of trimming off the ugly fat (women know it, it’s cellulite yup) using Meso-CRF treatment because working out drains energy in a matter of just 20 minutes. I’m taking Acai Berry tablets too but they don’t really help at all. Please help!