Type 2 diabetes is a chronic, debilitating, and severe medical condition requiring regular blood sugar monitoring and treatment. Being overweight (BMI 25-29.9), obese (BMI 30-39.9), or morbidly obese (BMI 40 or more) raises your chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes significantly.
Unfortunately, it is common for people to be unaware of the health risks associated with obesity until diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes and Obesity
Diabetes is a condition in which your bloodstream contains excess glucose. Obesity increases your risk of developing diabetes, and it also speeds up the development of diabetes.
The pancreas is in charge of controlling the amount of sugar in our blood. Insulin, a hormone generated by the pancreas that aids in the movement of sugar into cells, is either not produced or used adequately in type 2 diabetes. As a result, the body becomes insulin resistant.
High blood sugar levels are a result of this resistance. Insulin usually carries glucose to the muscles, where the muscle cells utilise the sugar for energy release.
You can also transfer it to the liver, where the sugar storage is, for future use. Diabetes also makes the cells insulin resistant. Since the body fails to utilise glucose for energy, the glucose gets stored in the liver as fat.
Causes of Type-2 Diabetes
While weight gain is one of the main factors contributing to type 2 diabetes, it is not the sole factor. Instead, it’s the collective impact of other variables involved like genes, lifestyle, inflammation etc.
Weight increase fails our muscles and cells to respond to the hormone insulin secreted by the pancreas. An overweight person prone to diabetes becomes less sensitive to the insulin released by the pancreas. The muscle cells fail to respond to insulin leading to the accumulation of blood sugar instead of getting utilised for energy release. Exercise tends to lower the intensity of insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes due to the muscles consuming the additional sugar present in the blood. It leads to the prevention of the body producing more insulin and the sugar not getting stored in the form of fat.
Please note that a mere increase in weight does not lead to type-2 diabetes. However, the location of the stored fat in the body poses a health risk. Obese people with a larger waist circumference (apple-shaped) are more prone to develop obesity-related diseases due to more fat deposition around their vital organs.
According to research, at least 150 DNA variants have been linked to the chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes. Most of these variations are common, and you can find them in diabetics and non-diabetics. Some variables in each person raise risk while others lessen risk. The combination of these variables determines an individual’s risk of having the disease. Scientists have linked several gene mutations to higher diabetes risk.
These genetic variations interact with our health and lifestyle to impact the likelihood of type 2 diabetes. In addition, these elements influence the ability of the body to secrete and respond to insulin effectively.
Insulin resistance refers to a situation when muscle, liver, and fat cells fail to respond adequately to insulin (secreted by the pancreas). It is the most common cause of type 2 diabetes, as per studies. Therefore, your body requires extra insulin to assist glucose absorption into cells. In addition, to meet the increased demand, the pancreas produces more insulin initially. However, when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, blood glucose levels rise. If this is left untreated, it can cause type 2 diabetes.
Excess Glucose from Liver
Your liver produces and releases glucose when your blood sugar falls below a certain level. The blood sugar level also spikes after consuming your meals. Following this, your liver generally slows down and stores the glucose for later. However, there are people whose liver fails to store glucose. Instead, they continue to produce sugar. It leads to an increased release of insulin for the absorption of sugar. The cycle continues and results in diseases like Type 2 diabetes. Any extra glucose present in the blood gets converted to fat cells.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes show higher levels of inflammation in their bodies. Among people with type 2 diabetes, specific inflammatory molecules levels’ called cytokines are generally higher than those without diabetes.
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are two major risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Cytokine levels in adipose tissue increase in persons with type 2 diabetes. Excess body fat, particularly in the abdomen, produces low-level, excessive chronic inflammation, changing insulin function and contributing to Type 2 diabetes.
Weight Loss and Diabetes
Due to weight gain, the organs such as your liver and pancreas can accumulate fat. It can result in insulin resistance. As a result, losing the extra fat depositions may aid the proper functioning of the insulin your body secretes or injects. In addition, weight loss makes the body more insulin sensitive, lowering insulin resistance.
Shredding extra weight makes the body muscles use the blood glucose better for energy release. The body responds to insulin better and prevents the liver cells from storing the excess unused glucose in the form of fat. It leads to healthy coordination between the cells and the hormone insulin, leading to balanced blood sugar levels in the body.
Steps for Weight Loss if You Have Type 2 Diabetes
Limit Carb Intake
When adopting dietary modifications to prevent diabetes, the quantity and quality of daily carb consumption are crucial. As per research, carb intake can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. However, it is because our body breaks down the carbs into tiny sugar molecules that go into the bloodstream.
Our pancreas is responsible for producing insulin. It is a hormone that assists in carrying sugar from our bloodstream to our body cells for absorption. Since the cells in patients with prediabetes are insulin resistant, blood sugar levels stay high. As a result, the pancreas releases more insulin to lower blood sugar levels. Subsequently, it gradually increases blood sugar and insulin levels, eventually leading to type 2 diabetes.
Opting for complex carbs like whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, oats, etc helps in the slower release of glucose in the bloodstream than consuming refined or processed foods which are easy to digest and can give a sugar spike.
Regular physical activity aids in the prevention of diabetes. Insulin resistance is commonly low in people with prediabetes. That is primarily because your pancreas have to produce more insulin for the sugar to move from the blood to the cells. Exercise improves the cells’ insulin sensitivity, meaning less insulin requirement to control your blood sugar levels.
Multiple physical activities can lower insulin resistance and blood sugar levels. Aerobic exercise, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and strength training are a few such examples. As per research, HIIT and endurance training are especially helpful. Exercises that last less than 10 minutes, such as brisk walking, are excellent options.
Avoid Sedentary Lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle includes behaviours like doing minimal physical exercise or sitting most of the time. It’s essential to avoid these habits to prevent diabetes. As per studies, sedentary behaviour has linkages with an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, a sedentary lifestyle with insufficient exercise is highly harmful to one’s health.
Inactivity frequently leads to lower uptake of glucose by muscles and cells resulting in more work by insulin to digest the excess glucose in the bloodstream, resulting in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Having an active lifestyle reduces the response of the body to insulin. Changing deeply ingrained patterns can be difficult. As a result, setting reasonable and attainable goals, such as standing when texting or taking the stairs rather than the elevator, is essential.
High Fibre Diet
Getting enough fibre in your diet is good for gut health and weight loss. It can also aid in the prevention of diabetes. As per studies, fibre helps keep blood sugar, and insulin levels low amongst prediabetic and older obese women. In our digestive tract, soluble fibre and water produce a gel that inhibits food absorption, resulting in a slowed increase in blood sugar. As a result, increasing soluble fibre consumption may lower fasting blood sugar and insulin levels. Therefore, obtaining more fibre from fruits and vegetables is a good idea.
Schedule your Meal
Breakfast deprivation leads to overeating later in the day. Therefore, it can adversely impact all weight loss efforts and add more to the weight—additionally, overeating results in sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. Adding to the benefits, having breakfast provides energy to the body for further day activities, helping prevent sitting idly and spending a sedentary day.
An optimal diabetes diet comprises having small and frequent meals where the quantity of carbs is more effectively controlled. Breakfasts should include fibrous and low-fat foods along with 1 portion of protein. In addition, it is crucial to have small amounts of light food at regular intervals rather than overeat at one sitting.
Healthy Recipe for people with Type 2 Diabetes
#1 Cilantro-Lime Tilapia
- Tilapia fillet: 1 (4-ounce)
- Olive oil: 1 tsp
- Juice from half a lime
- Garlic/garlic powder (optional)
- Chopped fresh cilantro: 1/2 tbsp
- Cooked spinach: 1/2 cup
- Chopped fresh tomatoes: 1/4 cup
- Preheat the oven to broil.
- Brush olive oil on the tilapia.
- Sprinkle garlic powder and cilantro after squeezing lime juice on top.
- Grill for 5-7 minutes at 6 inches from heat
- Put the spinach in a microwave-safe dish
- Add garlic powder or chopped garlic to the mix (optional).
- Cook as directed on the packet.
- Cover and keep heated until the fillets cook.
- Place cooked spinach on a platter, top with fish, and garnish with chopped tomatoes.
- Serve with herb bread.
#2 Banana-Carrot and Pecan Muffins
- Whole wheat flour: 1 cup
- Baking powder: 1 tsp
- Ground cinnamon: 1 tsp
- Baking soda: ¼ tsp
- Kosher salt: ½ tsp
- Canola oil: ¼ cup
- Brown sugar: 1/3 cup
- Large Egg: 1
- Vanilla sugar-free yoghurt: 1/3 cup
- Shredded carrot: ¾ cup
- Mashed banana: ½ cup
- Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
- Chopped pecans: ¼ cup
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients.
- Combine the oil, sugar, and egg in a medium mixing bowl.
- Combine the yoghurt and the following three ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil and flour. Add the pecans and mix well.
- In a 6-cup muffin tray, line with paper or foil liners. Fill muffin cups with batter.
- Bake for 22 minutes at 375°F.
Being overweight is directly related to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. However, it is possible to reduce this risk by making a few adjustments to your lifestyle and diet. Exercising regularly and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle are two things that will go a long way in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These will also help shed off weight, which has wide-ranging health benefits. Increasing fibre intake, reducing carbohydrate intake and scheduling your meals are the tweaks you can do to your diet to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Are most Type 2 diabetics overweight?
A: Obesity is one of the most common norms amongst people with diabetes. As per studies, 86% of type 2 diabetes patients are overweight or obese. In general, people with a high BMI risk getting diabetic more than people with a low BMI. Additionally, obesity is linked to much greater cardiovascular risk factors amongst these patients, implying that more active weight-control measures are needed.
Q: How does obesity affect type 2 diabetes?
A: Being overweight or obese raises the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, the most prevalent type of diabetes. Obesity increases fatty acid levels in the body. As a result, it increases insulin resistance, leading to type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, the body produces sufficient insulin, but the cells become insulin resistant to the insulin.
Q: Why do Type 2 diabetics gain weight?
A: Due to insulin resistance, the pancreas releases more insulin, directing the muscles and liver to accumulate blood sugar. The liver delivers extra blood sugar to fat cells for accumulation once the muscles and liver are saturated. It results in weight gain as well.
Q: What is a diabetic belly?
A: Diabetic Belly happens when the nerves that carry food through the digestive tract are injured, causing muscles to malfunction. It leads to the food remaining undigested in the stomach. The most common factor causing gastroparesis is diabetes. Gastroparesis is a disorder that disrupts your stomach’s healthy muscle movement. It can develop and grow with time, particularly in people who have uncontrolled blood sugar.
Q: What is a good diet for diabetes type 2?
A: If you have type 2 diabetes, choose a diet high in natural foods to help your body get the fibre, vitamins, and minerals it requires. Include a range of heart-healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in your diet. Your diet should be simple to follow. Diet programmes that are too restricted or don’t suit your lifestyle can be challenging to maintain over time.
Q: What foods should be avoided with type 2 diabetes?
A: Limiting your intake of a diet high in saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugar will assist you in maintaining better blood sugar control and preventing diabetes-related health issues. Simple carbs and processed foods should be avoided, such as sugar, pasta, white bread, flour, cakes and pastries.
Q: How do you get rid of type 2 diabetes fast?
A: Excess fat in the body influences insulin production and utilisation. Therefore weight loss is the most crucial factor in people with reversed type 2 diabetes. There are, however, less extreme ways to shed weight and mitigate your symptoms. All you need maybe are some exercise and dietary modifications.
Q: Can diabetes be cured by walking?
A: Moderate exercise, such as walking, causes your heart to beat faster and your breathing to become more complex. As a result, the muscles consume more glucose. As a result, it can help to reduce your blood sugar levels over time. It also improves the efficiency of your body’s insulin. These advantages will last for hours after your walk or workout.
Q: What foods can reverse diabetes?
A: Although you cannot reverse diabetes, you can manage it well. It would help if you made a significant modification to your diet in addition to exercise. It’s critical to include foods in your diet with a very low glycemic index, meaning they have very little sugar.