Find out how losing weight can reduce complications and make it easier to control type 2 diabetes
If you have Type 2 diabetes, your doctor has probably told you that you need to lose weight. According to NIDDK (The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases), 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. It can be difficult for people with diabetes to lose weight, which may leave you wondering why it is important to lose weight with type 2 diabetes.
Losing weight can make it easier to control your blood glucose levels and reduce your health risk by decreasing your chances of developing diabetes –related complications. The good news is that you don’t have to shed an enormous amount of weight to see benefits. A weight loss of even a few pounds can have a positive effect on your health when you have type 2 diabetes.
What is the relationship between excess weight and type 2 diabetes?
It is important to note that the link between being overweight and type 2 diabetes is not completely understood. We do know that excess weight lowers your ability to control blood glucose levels and increases your risk of developing diabetes-related complications. Being overweight may cause cells to change so they block the action of insulin and decrease insulin sensitivity. In a healthy system, insulin triggers the liver to capture excess blood glucose and store it for future use. When your liver does not respond the way it should, excess blood glucose is left to accumulate in your bloodstream. If left unchecked, high blood glucose can damage your organs and increase your chance of your developing diabetes, along with diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, blindness, and nerve damage.
What happens when you lose weight with type 2 diabetes?
When you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight is not about reaching a smaller dress size, it is about being healthier. Simply trying to lose weight by exercising and eating healthy foods for diabetes can help your body process glucose more effectively, making it easier to manage your blood glucose levels. Your body can work more efficiently. When you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight will likely:
- Reduce insulin resistance and make it easier to control your blood glucose levels
- Lower your blood glucose levels, allowing you to reduce the amount of diabetes medication you take
- Lower your blood pressure and levels of bad cholesterol, which will prevent or delay the development of health problems from diabetes-related complications.
Do you have to lose a lot of weight to affect type 2 diabetes?
When you have type 2 diabetes weight loss of even a few pounds can significantly improve your health. A clinical study by the National Institutes of Health found that losing just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight, combined with a regular diabetes exercise program, could have positive benefits on your health. That amount of weight loss can prevent someone from developing type 2 diabetes. When you already have type 2 diabetes, even a small loss of weight can help lower blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance, along with lowering your bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure. While some diabetes complications are inevitable over time, losing weight can delay or even prevent the onset of some of the most serious health risks associated with diabetes.
Now that you have a better understanding of how type 2 diabetes and weight loss are linked, what should you do?
It is not advisable to embark on an aggressive weight loss program when you have type 2 diabetes, without consulting your physician. It is easiest on your body to lose weight gradually, through exercise and healthy eating habits. The American Diabetes Association Meal Plan is a great place to begin. Start by controlling portion sizes, eating healthy foods, and adding 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise a week. This should help you lose weight in a healthy way and make it easier for you to manage your type 2 diabetes.