Weight Watchers and Diabetes

Employers Can Bring Weight Watchers to Their Employees with Diabetes

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According to the American Diabetes Association, weight loss of 2-8kg (2.2-17.6lbs) may provide health benefits in those with type 2 diabetes, especially early in the disease. When it comes to dieting for weight loss there is no absolute best diet for people with diabetes. The most successful diet is one that can be incorporated into your unique lifestyle, achieving a healthy weight and maintaining blood sugar control.

One diet type that has been successful for people with diabetes is Weight Watchers. If you are someone that likes to have a plan and needs continuous motivation, Weight Watchers maybe something that works for you. 

Weight Watchers was not originally designed to manage diabetes, however, Weight Watchers now has a program dedicated for people with diabetes. It appears as though this specific diet program is available for companies only. Employers maybe incentivized to adopt a Weight Watchers program in the work place to help promote work site wellness and reduce the cost diabetes has on employee absenteeism and loss of productivity. The cost of diabetes can be an extreme expense. In fact, it has been estimated that diabetes cost about $69 billion in reduced productivity (e.g. worker absenteeism, reduced productivity at work, lost productivity due to premature mortality and inability to work due to complication of diabetes).

 

How is Weight Watchers for Diabetes Different Than Regular Weight Watchers? 

Weight Watchers for Diabetes compliments the weight-loss approach by providing unlimited support and guidance from a Certified Diabetes Educator. You will also be provided with an individualized food plan tailored to individual needs.

For more information go to:  http://www.weightwatchers.com/diabetes

If I Have Diabetes Can I Do the Regular Weight Watchers Program? 

In this tech-centric world, Weight Watchers has enhanced their programs to have something for everyone. You can choose to do an on-line program only or sign up for online and meetings or online and coaching. However, if you have diabetes, its important to note that their lifestyle program is not specifically designed for people with diabetes. While the program is generally considered healthy and the plan is set up to steer you toward healthier choices and exercise, Weight Watchers recommends that if you do decide to sign up and follow the plan that you talk to your doctor about using Weight Watchers and share materials with your healthcare team. Your physician, dietitian or certified diabetes educator may want to make necessary adjustments to meal patterns, food choices, and portioning. It is your responsibility to adhere to modifications made by your health care professional.

Another great aspect of the plan is that it provides a lot of peer support. The company offers additional guidelines and information for people with diabetes, and suggests you get guidance from your healthcare team to customize the plan for your needs.

Weight Watchers recommends these additional guidelines when you have diabetes:

  • Have a consistent daily and per meal carbohydrate intake.
  • Consume sugary foods and alcohol in moderation and as part of a meal.
  • Choose low-GI (glycemic index) foods.
  • Get more exercise.

What About Carbohydrate Counting? 

This program uses a point system. Food items have been evaluated according to their carb, protein, fat and fiber content. Using a special formula, the food is then assigned a value or number of points. Followers use these points to stay within a daily food budget. The point system cannot be used or converted to track carbohydrates; that will have to be something you do on your own. You will have to make sure your carbohydrate intake is as prescribed by your healthcare team and learn how to count carbohydrates.

Sources: 

Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2012. Diabetes Care. Accessed on-line: July 18, 2015: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/36/4/1033.full.pdf+html

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