Losing Weight and Its Impact on Type 2 Diabetes : Diabetes is one of the most prevalent chronic ailments that affects more than 422 million people across the globe. In the U.S. alone, more than 88 million adults have prediabetes. The disease is just as common in low-income and middle-income countries as well.
Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by the body’s inability to process insulin and absorb glucose, is often managed with the help of medication and insulin therapy. While these treatment options help control diabetes, they aren’t successful in curing or reversing the disease.
Lifestyle changes, including weight loss, dietary modifications, and increased exercise, have been rising to the forefront as effective treatments for type 2 diabetes. In this blog, we will delve deeper into how useful weight loss is in terms of control and treating type 2 diabetes. Also, we will explore a few tips to lose weight for managing diabetes. Let’s get started.
Does Weight Loss Cure Type 2 Diabetes?
Before we answer those questions, it is important to understand what causes type 2 diabetes. Simply put, it is caused by the body’s inability to use insulin, a hormone that facilitates the absorption of glucose into the cells of your muscles and organs.
If your body fails to process insulin correctly, it results in elevated blood sugar levels. This, in turn, forces the pancreas to produce more insulin, eventually destroying the insulin-generating beta cells.
The precise triggers behind the development of insulin resistance aren’t known. Common risk factors of type 2 diabetes include:
- Physical inactivity
- Family history of diabetes
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Obesity and weight gain
- Other medical conditions, such as PCOD
Type 2 Diabetes and Body Weight: Understanding the Connection
People who are overweight or obese are at a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. That is because the daily insulin requirement of such people is far higher than that of people with normal body weight. It means their pancreas has to work harder to meet the body’s insulin needs.
Also, excess adipose tissues in the body can further interfere with glucose absorption and bolster insulin resistance. This, in turn, leads to a vicious cycle of increased blood sugar levels and more weight gain.
So, if you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or are prediabetic, it is crucial that you prioritize weight management. According to data collected by StuffThatWorks, a crowdsourced platform specializing in treatment effectiveness analysis, weight loss is among the top most effective treatments for type 2 diabetes. It ranks higher than insulin therapy too.
Also, the platform’s AI-generated analysis indicates that dietary modifications, including carbohydrate elimination/restriction, help with the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It isn’t surprising considering that following a healthy and balanced diet will help you lose weight, thus minimizing insulin resistance and improving glucose absorption.
Benefits of Weight Loss for Type 2 Diabetes
First things first – diabetes is a chronic condition that may not be possible to reverse. While research is still underway to find out whether dietary and lifestyle changes can cure type 2 diabetes, there is no concrete evidence for the same.
Nevertheless, a study published in Lancet reported that nearly 46% of individuals with type 2 diabetes who followed weight management protocols went into remission. That means if you are diabetic, there is a solid chance that losing and managing body weight will improve your health.
Here are the key reasons why weight loss is crucial for managing type 2 diabetes:
Delayed Disease Onset
In people with prediabetes, proper and timely weight management can help alleviate insulin resistance. This, in turn, can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes altogether. Also, it increases the chances of remission in people who have already been diagnosed with the disease.
Reduced Risk of Complications
If you have had a family history of diabetes, you already know that it can cause a wide array of serious health complications, including:
- High blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Kidney ailments
- Nerve damage
- Eye damage
- Sleep apnea
The good news is that controlling your body weight helps minimize the risk of developing these conditions. For instance, weight management is instrumental in reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and preventing plaque buildup in the arteries. This, in turn, helps keep heart ailments at bay.
Similarly, weight loss is known to help with the treatment of sleep apnea. It ensures that you get a good night’s sleep, thus improving your overall mood and energy levels. Ultimately, it motivates you to follow healthy eating habits and exercise to control your body weight.
Improved Mental Health
Getting diagnosed with a serious medical condition, such as diabetes, can take a toll on your mental peace and wellbeing. Losing excess weight helps improve your self-esteem and makes you more confident. This, in turn, encourages you to embrace a healthy lifestyle and become an active participant in your diabetes management plan.
The Right Approach to Weight Loss
While type 2 diabetes can become a life-long companion, managing your body weight will help reduce your dependence on medication and insulin. If you are lucky, you could even attain a state of remission.
The key is to consult a registered dietitian to create a balanced diet plan that incorporates plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seeds, nuts, etc. Also, take time out for regular exercise to keep your body weight in check.
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