A simple portion control plate can help people with diabetes lose weight, say researchers.
The "diet plate" is divided into separate sections for carbohydrates, protein and sauce. It even includes an illustration of a "drawn to size" slice of cheese to help patients control their dairy intake.
The plate has undergone a clinical trial, published inside the Archives of Internal Medicine, with promising results.
"Portion size is an important determinant of energy intake," say Sue Pedersen and team from the University of Calgary in Canada.
"In patients with type 2 diabetes, weight reduction improves glycaemic control."
The scientists randomly assigned 130 obese patients with type 2 diabetes to either use a diet plate or to continue with their usual eating habits for 6 months.
Patients who ate with the diet control plate lost significantly more weight and needed less diabetes medication than those who did not change their eating regimes.
"Compared with usual care, the portion control tool studied was effective in inducing weight loss," say the scientists.
"The portion control plate also enabled patients with diabetes to decrease their hypoglycaemic medications without sacrificing glycaemic control."