CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Overweight people with diabetes have as much success dropping pounds using a colorful dinner plate that measures food portions as they do on many weight-loss drugs, Canadian researchers said on Monday.
In addition, diabetics who stick to using the tool to control their diet can sometimes even reduce their insulin intake over time, said Sue Pedersen, an endocrinologist at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine, who led a six-month study.
“People using the plate were over three times more likely to lose a clinically significant amount of weight than non-plate users,” Pedersen said.
“And that weight loss is similar to the weight loss seen in studies of weight-loss drugs, but without the potential for side-effects.”
Findings of the team, which studied 130 people with type 2 diabetes, were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Half the subjects used the so-called Diet Plate, a British-made tool that allows people to measure out portions of carbohydrates, proteins, sauces and fruits and vegetables.
The manufacturer donated the plates, but did not fund the study. No one was told to make big lifestyle changes, such as exercising more or less.
Of those who used the plate for six months, 17 percent lost 5 percent or more of their weight, an amount considered clinically important because it cuts risks of obesity-related conditions like heart disease and cancer, Pedersen said.
In the group that didn’t use the plate, fewer than one person in 20 lost a clinically important amount.
More than a quarter of the plate users could reduce their diabetic medication, versus 11 percent in the other group, according to the study.
In addition, 34 percent of those who did not use the Diet Plate had to increase their drug intake.
“That’s important, because if we can, with better diet control, get someone down on their medication, that means there is less potential for side-effects related to medication and the cost of medication,” she said.