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Expert Advice: I Have Diabetes and Cutting Carbs Doesn’t Help Me Lose Weight. What Now?

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Diabetes makes it difficult enough to figure out what foods to eat every day. Adding a weight-loss goal on top of that can feel impossible. If you feel like you’ve tried multiple diet changes and they aren’t working, your problem may not be in your macronutrients (carbs, fat, or protein), but in your micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

When one reader wrote in asking our expert panel about this problem, they got an interesting answer: It might have to do with zinc intake. Keep reading to learn why.

Meet our expert panel.

Nutrition experts Mira Calton, CN, and Jayson Calton, PhD, are leading authorities on nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. They are also the bestselling authors of Rebuild Your Bones: The 12-Week Osteoporosis Protocol. To ask them a question, send an email to health@firstforwomen.com.

How To Eliminate Stubborn Fat

Q: I have diabetes and I’m trying to lose weight, so I cut back on carbs, but it’s not helping. Is there anything else I can do?

A: Yes! We suggest increasing your zinc intake. People who are diabetic are at a higher risk of zinc deficiency, and the mineral is key for optimal insulin function. It also helps ensure your body burns glucose for fuel instead of storing it as fat. Indeed, in one clinical trial, when study subjects who were trying to lose weight were put on a restricted-calorie diet and given 30 milligrams of zinc per day for 15 weeks, they lost significantly more weight than people who were given a placebo; plus, those taking zinc reported significant decreases in appetite.

You can bolster your zinc intake by eating more foods rich in the mineral, including shellfish, beef, pork, chicken, pumpkin seeds, cashews and baked beans — all of which contain around 2 milligrams of zinc per serving. But it can be tough to get enough in food alone, so you might also consider supplementing with the study proven dose of 30 milligrams daily (like Nature Made Zinc 30 mg — Buy from iHerb, $4.99) to keep your levels up.

Note: Speak to your doctor before taking a new supplement.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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