TUESDAY, June 26, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Using a plate and cereal bowl that indicate proper portion sizes helped obese patients with diabetes lose weight and decrease their use of glucose-controlling medications, says a Canadian study.
The plates -- divided into painted-line sections for carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, cheese and sauce -- held enough for an 800-calorie meal for men and a 650-calorie meal for women. The bowl allowed for a 200-calorie serving of cereal and milk.
Over six months, about half of 122 patients (average age 56) used the portion-control plates and bowls, while the rest of the patients received usual care consisting of dietary assessments and teaching by dietitians.
The patients who used the portion-control plates and bowls lost an average of 1.8 percent of their body weight, compared to an average of 0.1 percent among those who received usual care.
The University of Calgary researchers also found that 16.9 percent of the patients who used the portion-control plates and bowls, which were donated by a U.K. company called The Diet Plate, lost at least 5 percent of their body weight, compared with 4.6 percent of patients who received usual care.
"This is important, as a 5 percent weight loss has been shown to be clinically significant in terms of decreasing morbidity and mortality associated with obesity-linked disorders such as cancer and (heart attack)," the study authors wrote.
The use of diabetes medications decreased by 26.2 percent among patients using the plates and bowls, compared with 10.8 percent among those who received usual care.
The portion-control plates and bowls offer a simple, inexpensive method of weight control that shows promise in helping obese people with diabetes, the study authors concluded.
The findings were published in the June 25 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about eating and diabetes.