Dealing with Diabetes: How Slimming World can help

Many people contact us to ask if Food Optimising will fit in with their diabetes – the answer is a resounding YES! Not only will it fit around the condition – many members tell us that it has helped control it.

At my heaviest I’d been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and the condition was steadily worsening. After losing 6 stones with Slimming World my health has improved dramatically and I feel great. My GP has even reduced my diabetes medication – she told me that I’m the only person in her diabetes clinic to have their medication reduced. 

Barrie Walters, Shropshire

Part of my condition meant that I experienced diabetic lows, where I’d feel light headed and would start sweating. After joining Slimming World and losing 6 stones I experienced my last low nearly a year ago and took my last tablet – my diabetes is now controlled by diet alone! My doctor is amazed. He’d never heard of someone with diabetes at my level changing their condition so drastically purely through diet.

John Ritchie, Eyemouth

How can Food Optimising help?

Because Food Optimising is extremely generous and flexible, and puts you in control of the foods you eat and when you eat them, it fits in easliy with any advice on diet that your diabetes care team gives you. Taking insulin or other medication need not be a barrier to losing weight; our research shows that Slimming World members with diabetes lose weight as successfully as other members.

Diabetes UK, the leading charity working for people with diabetes, recommends a number of steps to healthy eating, which can help control your blood glucose levels and blood fats as well as regulate your weight.

Here is how Food Optimising helps you take those steps easily and enjoyably:

1. Eat regular meals every day

Aim to eat a regular breakfast, lunch, evening meal (and healthy snacks when you need), this wil help control your blood glucose level and appetite. The flexibility of Food Optimising means you can choose when and what you want to eat making it easy to meet your individual needs.

2. Enjoy starchy, carbohydrate-rich food at each meal

With Food Optimising you can eat regular amounts of starchy carbohydrates at each meal. Pasta, potatoes, rice and noodles are Free Foods, which means you decide how much you want to eat, and when you want to eat it!*

Wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals are Healthy Extras, so you can enjoy them every day too. Filling up on fibre-rich foods is great for weight loss because they help keep you feeling fuller for longer.

3. Easy ways to eat less fat

When you're Food Optimising you automatically reduce your fat intake:

  • high-fat foods are counted as Syns, so they're limited, while oily fish, which is rich in ‘good’ fats is Free
  • you're encouraged to choose low-fat and fat-free versions of dairy produce, such as milk, yogurt and cheese
  • trim off fat from meat, bacon etc. and remove skin (the high-fat bit) from poultry
  • cook using healthy, fat-free methods such as grilling, steaming or baking instead of frying.

4. Fill up on fruit and veg

The Department of Health recommends we eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day; with Food Optimising you can eat as much as you like*. This is because fruit and vegetables are super-healthy, low-energy foods to fill up on. 

5. Include more beans, peas and lentils

Following Food Optimising means it’s easy to include more pulses in your meals. Foods such as butter beans, cannellini beans, kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils are all Free, and can be added to make satisfying casseroles, stews, soups or salads.

6. Include more oily fish

It is recommended that you aim to eat at least two portions of oily fish a week such as mackerel, pilchards, salmon and sardines. Rich in healthy polyunsaturated fats, oily fish are Free on Extra Easy and Original, and Healthy Extras on the Green choice.

7. Easy ways to eat less sugar

Like high-fat foods, sugary foods count as Syns and so are automatically limited when you are Food Optimising. There’s no need to go without sweet tea or fizzy drinks: artificial sweeteners are Free Foods and can be used in drinks and in cooking; diet and sugar-free versions of fizzy drinks are also Free.

8. Keep an eye on salt

It's easy to monitor your salt intake when you’re Food Optimising because you’re encouraged to prepare meals using fresh foods, rather than eating a lot of ready-made and convenience dishes. Herbs, spices and garlic are all Free Foods.

9. Keep an eye on alcohol

All alcohol counts as Syns, so is limited when you're Food Optimising. A small glass of wine or half-pint of beer are both around 5 Syns, so with a typical daily allowance of 10 to 15 Syns, you can enjoy one or two drinks a day. 

*NB: Some people with diabetes may be given specific advice on the amount of carbohydrate-rich foods or fruit to eat. If you’ve received this advice, it’s important to bear it in mind when choosing your Free Foods.

For more information on all aspects of diabetes check out Diabetes UK 

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What you get with group membership

  • A friendly, understanding Consultant – who’s been a member themselves
  • Image Therapy – the heart of a Slimming World group – giving you unique help, support and encouragement when you need it most
  • Loads of praise and celebrations for each weight loss milestone you achieve
  • Warmth, friendship, laughter, sharing ideas, recipes, inspirational stories and much, much more
  • Free access to dozens of online features and tools to support you between groups
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What you get with online-only membership

  • Weekly online support and motivating e-mails based on your personal progress
  • Access to motivational support tools, insightful features and special strategies to help you in the weeks ahead
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