Will Losing Weight Reverse diabetes? 5 Things You Can Do
While certain lifestyle practices can put you at risk of diabetes, no one sets out to be diabetic. It is a manageable condition and most people live long, happy lives, but there’s a dark side to it all. From medical expenses to dietary restrictions and having to stick yourself with insulin daily, diabetes can impact your overall quality of life.
There has been talk about weight loss reversing diabetes so we wanted to have a quick discussion on the issue so that you can understand the benefits of weight loss and if you can truly cure your diabetes. Have a look at these 7 quick diabetes facts so we can get down to business.
7 Quick Diabetes Facts
1. Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin or is unable to use the insulin that is produced effectively.
2. Diabetes is sometimes called “sugar” because it causes sugar from the food you eat to accumulate in the blood.
3. Diabetes can either be Type 1 or Type 2. Type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes typically begins during childhood. It is an autoimmune condition where antibodies attack the pancreas leaving it unable to produce necessary insulin. Type 2 diabetes, otherwise called non-insulin-dependent diabetes, happens later in life. 90% of persons who have diabetes have Type 2 diabetes as their pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or the body doesn’t use it effectively (insulin resistance).
4. According to the CDC , over 100 million Americans are either diabetic or prediabetic. Of this total, 30.2 million or 9.4% of Americans are diabetic and more than a third, or 84 million, have prediabetes which can lead to diabetes if it goes untreated.
5. African Americans are nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes than White Americans and Hispanic Americans.
6. Diabetes can cause complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke.
7. Diabetes ranks number 7 as a leading cause of death in the United States. The death rate for African Americans living with diabetes is 27% higher than whites.
The link between diabetes and obesity
For starters, not everyone who doesn’t have the body of a Victoria’s Secret model is obese. There are certain requirements to be met before someone can be ruled as obese.
Obesity is defined as a medical condition in which a person has excess fat in their body. This puts the person at an increased risk of certain health conditions. To determine if someone is obese, a quick calculation called a body mass index (BMI) is carried out, by measuring their fat composition relative to that of someone of the same or similar sex, age, and height.
If the results are below 18.5, that person is underweight. If the results are between 18.5 and 24.9, that person has a healthy weight for someone of their sex, age, and height. Where the BMI is between 25.0 and 29.9, the person will be considered overweight. A value between 30.9 and 39.9 belongs to a moderately obese person. If the value exceeds 40, that person is severely or morbidly obese.
Obesity can be caused by different factors and is widely thought to be the result of overeating. However, genetics can play a role, along with certain medical conditions and a sedentary lifestyle.
Surely you’ve heard that overweight and obese persons are more likely to develop diabetes. This is true. This happens because of an increase in fatty acids and inflammation which causes insulin resistance.
Excess abdominal fat causes a release of inflammatory proteinsand chemicals such as nonesterified fatty acids, cytokines, glycerol, proinflammatory makers and other substances. Thesereduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin by blocking insulin receptors which causes what we call insulin resistance. Obesity may also change the way the body metabolizes fat and can cause fat molecules to be released into the blood which can also affect insulin-responsive cells.
This does not mean that all obese persons have diabetes, but there is a strong link. Roughly 90% of all persons with Type 2 diabetes are obese. This should be enough to convince you to take weight loss more seriously, but can losing weight reverse diabetes?
Can losing weight reverse diabetes?
To date, there is no cure for diabetes and persons who have it have to consistently manage it to avoid serious health complications. There have been claims that you can reverse diabetes through weight loss, and there is some truth to that.
Remember what we said earlier about excess fat causing insulin resistance? Well, if there are less fat cells to cause insulin resistance, the insulin your body produces will be more effective and can potentially put your diabetes into remission, i.e, cause the symptoms and side effects of diabetes to decrease or stop completely for some time. Some of these symptoms include extreme thirst and hunger, frequent urination, fatigue, slow healing wounds, blurry visions, frequent UTIs and vaginal infections . Being in remission does not mean you are cured since the symptoms can return.
In one study that was conducted on this matter of nearly 300 persons with Type 2 diabetes, participants were either asked to stop taking their prescribed medication and subscribe to a new diet or to continue taking their medicine. This diet aimed to help persons lose 33 pounds or more on 825-853 calories a day for three to five months. This was followed by two to eight weeksof a regular diet combined with education and behavioral therapy to help them learn more about what they put into their bodies and to curb certain habits.
After a year of tracking, the results were that 86% persons on this diet lost over 33 pounds , while those who had stuck to medication lost an average of 2 pounds. 46% of the diet group went into remission while 4% of the medication group experienced remission.
This study can be supported by other research that has found that weight loss and other lifestyle changes can, in fact, bring about remission and “reversal”. It is important to note that this strategy is more effective in persons newly diagnosed with diabetes as long-term poorly managed diabetes will result in the death of insulin-producing cells which cannot be reactivated. This may not be the only issue since untreated diabetes can cause other underlying conditions that even weight loss cannot fix.
With this being said, let’s move into the 5 ways we promised that would help you to lose weight.
5 things you can do to shed pounds
Saying you want to lose weight and actually losing weight are two completely different things. You can have the desire, but you have to put in the effort and be dedicated to achieve it.
Weight loss will not only help you to manage and possibly reverse your diabetes but will also help to boost your confidence, increase your life expectancy and help with your fitness level. To be successful, you need to make sure you choose a plan that you stick to long term.
Exercise is crucial to any weight loss regimen since it helps to shed pounds faster and transform you to the size you desire.
• Strength/resistance training to build muscle, preserve bone mass and increase strength• Endurance to improve breathing and lung capacity, promote good heart health and boost mood• Balance to prevent falls and fractures, improve posture and steadiness.• Flexibility and stretch the muscles and keep them limber, give you more freedom of movement and prevent bone disease.
Finding the right workout regimen might take some time and if you are a newbie you’ll probably be better off enlisting the help to a trainer that will teach you proper technique and keep you motivated.
Diet is one of the major components of weight loss since what you eat determines how much fat you’ll have in your body. Eating a well-balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy weight and getting all the necessary nutrients your body needs.
When it comes to a weight loss diet, you may want to reduce caloric intake and stray from the recommended amount for someone of your age and sex This diet should, of course, be nutritious, and it doesn’t mean you should feed on flavorlesscrackers and green tea.
The diet should include all you need to keep your body going and should in no way compromise yourself. If you are on a diet that leaves you feeling weak or hungry all the time, that is a bad diet.
There’s no shortage of diets to try so you’ll need to do some research before you subscribe to any particular diet. Here are a few to consider:
• Keto diet• Paleo diet• Vegan diet• Blood type diet• South beach diet• Mediterranean diet• Raw food diet
3. Lifestyle changes
Certain lifestyle practices play a part in how much you weigh. Some of these include:
• Sedentary lifestyle- If you have a desk job or are a couch potato, it’s easy for you to gain weight since you aren’t active. Try walking to lunch instead of driving or taking a cab, or taking a job around the block daily if you work from home. If you don’t want to leave home, try a home workout video.
• Eating out – A fast-paced life means you probably don’t have the time to make homecooked meals, and if you do, they’re prepackaged or highly processed. Fast food has beenscientifically proven to lead to weight gain and obesity especially since they are made with a lot of fats and sugars that make them appetizing. Skip out on fast food and meal prep if you don’t have the time to make lunch every morning. If you must eat out, choose restaurants that use all-natural ingredients and are health-oriented.
• Drinking alcohol- Beer guts are a real thing and if you drink enough alcohol to cause weight gain, perhaps the gut will be the least of your problems. Weight gain from alcohol occurs because it is high in calories, hinders the body from burning fat, causes hunger and leads to poor food choices. If you’re using alright as a means to cope with mental health issues, you are better off seeing a psychiatrist who will be able to help you shake this habit and perhaps prescribe you something to help with your problem.
• Comfort eating- If you eat to feel better about yourself or a situation, try to find another coping mechanism since this unhealthy habit can fuel your weight gain and diabetes. Try to learn a skill to help pass time when depressed, or take up a hobby that you can use to release stress.
When we say medication, we don’t mean something a sketchy woman on Facebook promises will help you drop a dress size in a week. Weight loss medication should only come from a doctor. In the case of supplements , do your research and ensure they are approved by the FDA for your own safety.
Weight loss medication can:
• Suppress hunger • Imitate feelings of fullness• Make it harder for your body to absorb fat from food• Increase the amount of fat your body burns
Your doctor will be able to advise you on how they work, and more importantly the side effects and how they may interact with your other medication.
Surgery should be a last resort where all the above have failed. A sort of golden rule is to not get surgery unless it is absolutely necessary.
Weight loss surgery typically takes the form of decreasing stomach capacity or by bypassing the small intestines to reduce the number of calories the body can absorb. This approach has downtime so be prepared for bed rest, pain and strict diets.
• Diabetes can affect anyone of any sex, race or age, but it is especially prevalent in African Americans.
• Obesity puts you at an increased risk of developing diabetes and the majority of persons who are diabetic are obese.
• Weight loss can reverse diabetes by helping to put the condition in remission. It is however not a cure and medication may still be necessary to manage symptoms.
• To lose weight, you will need to exercise, diet and make lifestyle changes. You may also require medication and in severe cases surgery.