Weight fluctuation and diabetes are intrinsically linked and this is mostly due to the role that insulin has to play. High levels of insulin can make you gain weight, while the opposite is true for lower levels. With that being said, what if we were to flip roles and discuss the impact dedicated weight loss can have on type 2 diabetes? Can losing weight help you reduce your symptoms of type 2 diabetes? Let’s find out.
The Role of Insulin in The Body
The first step to understanding the impact weight loss has on type 2 diabetes and vice versa is recognizing the crucial role that insulin has to play. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by beta cells in your pancreas. It helps your body’s cells absorb glucose (blood sugar) for energy. When you eat, your glucose levels rise which triggers your pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin acts as a messenger and tells your body’s cells to open up and accept the glucose so that they can use it as energy. Without insulin, your body is unable to store glucose or use it for energy which means the glucose floods your bloodstream, resulting in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
Too much insulin results in weight gain, whereas lowering insulin levels can lead to weight loss. This means that being overweight has more to do with how your body absorbs glucose than it does with the number of calories you intake.
Let that sink in.
However, before you go and vilify insulin, remember that it plays a crucial role in how your body converts food into energy. Also keep in mind that this fact does not mean that caloric intake is unimportant, just that all of these factors are linked in your body’s ability to gain and lose weight.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes comes in three forms: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. While they occur for different reasons, they all have one thing in common: irregular insulin production. While we will mainly be focusing on the impact weight loss has on type 2 diabetes, it helps to understand the different variations of the disease itself so that you understand the huge role that insulin has to play both for your body’s normal functioning and in your disease.
Type 1 diabetes often occurs in childhood (also referred to as ” juvenile diabetes”) and unlike the other forms, is not caused by diet and lifestyle habits. In this form, the pancreas no longer produces insulin because the beta cells, which are responsible for insulin production, have been destroyed by an autoimmune attack. Sometimes this disease is brought on as a matter of genes, it is also possible that the body responded to a virus in childhood that triggered the autoimmune attack on the beta cells. This form requires the administration of insulin as your body is unable to produce its own. While eating healthy and getting exercise is always a good idea for your health, this form of diabetes is more dependent on proper insulin and blood sugar regulation through manual administration.
Type 2 diabetes is most often linked to obesity, and while there isn’t necessarily a cure, there have been multiple instances where the effects of the disease have been reversed or nullified through a healthy diet, exercise, and ultimately weight loss. The onset of this type is unknown, but there are common themes in those who suffer from this form of the disease. These include obesity, inactivity, insulin resistance, and the pancreas’ inability to produce enough insulin.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and is the result of placental hormones causing a buildup of glucose in your blood. If your body in this state is unable to create enough insulin to balance these increased glucose levels or is using it incorrectly, you are more likely to develop this form of diabetes. Keep in mind that if you develop this form during pregnancy then you may be at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. Similar to type 2, this form can be reversed with blood sugar management and a healthy change in diet and lifestyle, though a full-blown cure does not yet exist. Also note, that if you are able to nullify the effects of gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, this does not necessarily put you at a lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the future. The key is to adopt healthier lifestyle habits and maintain them to keep the disease at bay.
Now that you understand the role of insulin and how different types of diabetes affect your body it’s time to examine how weight loss can impact your type 2 diabetes.
Your Pancreas Maintains Better Insulin Production
Depending on the severity of your type 2 diabetes, you may or may not be required to supplement your pancreas’ natural insulin production with the manual administration of a prescribed version. This in itself can cause weight gain if not properly managed or if your diet is inconsistent (irregular eating patterns, quality of food, etc.). This is where adopting a healthier diet and lifestyle can help. If you can create a healthy consistency with your diet, you can better regulate your blood sugar levels. If you are administering insulin for your type 2 diabetes, over time, with careful blood sugar maintenance through diet and exercise, you could begin to reverse your body’s insulin resistance which means reducing the amount of prescribed medication needed. Essentially, weight loss and adopting a healthier lifestyle can retrain your body’s reaction to insulin, this allows your pancreas to maintain better insulin production.
Your Blood Sugar Levels Improve
When brought on by healthier eating and a more active lifestyle, weight loss can help improve your blood sugar levels. Think less about the idea of losing weight and more about how you can get healthier, this is how you will achieve it all. Knocking out foods that spike insulin levels not only help you cut the pounds, but will also optimize your blood sugar. Take a look at the foods below that spike your insulin levels, cause insulin resistance, and ultimately make you gain weight.
Foods that cause insulin resistance and high insulin levels (weight gain!)
- Sugar (causes insulin resistance by spiking insulin levels)
- Refined Grains (Causes high insulin levels)
- Processed Foods and Fast Acting Carbohydrates (spikes insulin levels, causing insulin resistance and weight gain)
Remember, calories are not created equal. The quality of food you eat directly affects your weight loss goals and your insulin levels. The effects of weight loss, regarding blood sugar levels goes both ways here. To lose weight, you must bring up the quality of the food you consume. If you regulate your insulin you should start seeing healthy weight loss. Losing 5-10% of body weight can improve blood sugar levels and if you are pre-diabetic, this weight loss can reduce your chances of becoming diabetic by 58%. Let’s break all of this down,
Everything is connected.
Your Body Functions More Efficiently Resulting in Better Overall Health
As mentioned above, everything is connected. Weight loss, when done in a healthy manner and using good food has a tremendous impact on your body’s ability to create energy and keep off the unwanted pounds. The benefits of creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself and thus regulating your type 2 diabetes include,
- More energy
- Better mood
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Healthier weight
- Clearer mind
When dealing with a disease like type 2 diabetes, you must consider how it works so that you can create a plan to combat it properly and in a healthy way. By recognizing the role that insulin plays in your system, you have a better understanding of how weight loss can impact your type 2 diabetes and vice versa.
Let MaxLife Help You with Your Weight Loss Journey
Living with diabetes is no walk in the park. Let us create a custom-tailored health plan for your weight loss journey that takes your condition into account and helps you reach your health goals. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight can help you nullify and potentially reverse the effects that type 2 diabetes has on your body. Take action today and Contact MaxLife to learn more.