Could a simple bowl and plate help diabetics lose enough weight to battle back obesity-related problems and reduce their dependence on medications?
Canadian researchers who studied special dishes marked to reflect portion sizes believe the answer is yes. They tested the dishes — plates divided into sections for carbohydrates, proteins, cheese and sauce, and vegetables; and a bowl that indicates when to stopping pouring in the cereal and milk — in 130 patients with diabetes.
About half the group used the special dishes, while the other half received usual diabetes care and ate out of their own dishes.
Six months later, patients who used the portion control dishes had lost on average nearly 2 percent of their body weight, vs. just 0.1 percent for people who continued to use regular dishes. Even more significantly, nearly 17 percent of the people in the portion control group lost 5 percent of their body weight or more — a level doctors believe significantly reduces their risk for obesity-related problems like heart disease and some cancers. Just under 5 percent of the control group could say the same.
People who dropped the weight were also more likely to be able to cut back on their need for diabetes medications.
The authors believe plates and bowls that let people know how much is enough could go a long way to reducing many obesity-related problems. “This intervention holds promise for use in overweight populations with and without diabetes mellitus,” they write.
SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2007;167:1277-1283