Continued from previous page.

Step 3: Reduce or maintain weight for better blood glucose control

A great number of individuals are overweight when they are newly diagnosed. The extra body fat increases insulin resistance, making it difficult for your body to utilise insulin effectively.

“Losing just 5 to 10% of your weight can help you lower your blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as HbA1c,” says Ms Kala Adaikan, Senior Principal Dietitian, at the Department of Dietetics, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group.

Keeping your weight within the ideal weight range or achieving a significant weight loss is recommended particularly if you have type 2 diabetes.

Losing weight and eating healthier can have profound effects on yo​ur overall mood and sense of wellbeing.

For Asians, a body mass index (BMI) of > 23 kg/m2 is considered overweight.



BMI categories (Singapore)

BMI (kg/m2)
for adults
Weight categories Health risk
27.5 and aboveObeseHigh risk
23-27.4OverweightModerate risk
18.5-22.9Normal weightLow risk
Below 18.5UnderweightRisk of nutritional deficiency diseases and osteoporosis

Calorie counting for weight loss

Calories are a measure of energy normally used to measure the energy content of the food and beverages you consume. If you have diabetes, make a positive difference to your health by learning to count calories.

It is important to know how much calories you require daily, regardless of whether you need to lose weight or maintain your weight.

The exact amount of calories that individuals with diabetes should consume depends on a number of factors including:

  1. Gender
  2. Age
  3. ​Activity level
  4. Current weight and height
  5. Weight history
  6. Medical condition

Your dietitian can help you finetune the ideal caloric target for you to achieve a sustainable weight loss while managing your blood glucose levels. Just because a particular food is carbohydrate-free does not mean that one should eat unlimited amounts of it.

Carbohydrate intake is not the only consideration for individuals with diabetes. Knowing your requirements for protein and fat is important too. Excessive intake of any macronutrient will lead to weight gain.

The optimal balance of macronutrients should be planned in consideration of delaying or preventing diabetes-related complications.

Avoid making drastic changes to your meal plan on your own. Attempting to do drastic adjustments to your total caloric intake, including carbohydrate intake without proper guidance, may result in undesirable blood glucose levels, including hypoglycaemia.

As such, a weight redu​cing diet plan should ideally be planned under supervision.​

See previous page for information on how to keep track of carbohydrate intake.

See next page to learn how alcohol affects you when you have diabetes​.

Ref: O17