Diabetics are unable to properly use glucose, the body’s main source of energy. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for allowing glucose in the blood to enter cells, providing them with the energy to function. A lack of effective insulin plays a key role in the development of diabetes. The diabetic must therefore realize that losing excess weight will help him improve insulin secretion and receptivity.
In this context, the World Health Organization urged to fight against the growing obesity epidemic. Studies have shown an association between weight loss and the ability to control blood sugar level.
The benefits of weight loss, especially in type 2 diabetes, may actually be able to reverse the disease; for some, it will reduce the risks of common but serious complications. In fact, weight loss is the optimal step for diabetes treatment.
Inactivity and having excess weight go hand-in-hand with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Muscle cells have more insulin receptors than fat cells, so an individual can decrease insulin resistance by exercising. Being more active also lowers blood sugar levels by helping insulin to be more effective.
Weight and Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs as a result of the body being unable to produce insulin, which moves glucose out of the blood and into your cells to be used for energy. Without insulin, your body will break down its own fat and muscle, resulting in weight loss. This can lead to a serious short-term condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, where the bloodstream becomes acidic and you develop dangerous levels of dehydration. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system mistakes the cells in your pancreas as harmful and attacks them.
Therefore, once a patient has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and began receiving the appropriate treatment, his weight will return to normal. Although type 1 diabetes is not associated with weight gain, maintaining a healthy weight helps treat type 1 diabetes, as the accumulation of body fat makes it difficult for insulin to work well, thus making it difficult to control the disease.
Overweight and Type 2 Diabetes
In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. Unfortunately, weight gain in this case makes the patient more likely to have a higher diabetes rate to the extent that it may be difficult to control. Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who don’t do enough physical activity, and who are overweight or obese. It is strongly associated with high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, and an ‘apple’ body shape, where excess weight is carried around the waist.
Treatment of type 2 diabetes is different than type 1 diabetes given that it affects the way the body uses insulin. While the body still makes insulin, unlike in type I, the cells in the body do not respond to it as effectively as they once did. In addition to drug therapy or insulin injections to control diabetes, the treatment is to stop unhealthy habits first, start exercising, stop consuming sugary foods, and eating foods rich in vitamins and important nutrients.
Obesity usually occurs due to accumulation of body fat resulting from an imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. The fat around the pancreas presses on beta cells in the organ that controls blood sugar levels. Thus, the cells stop producing enough insulin, which leads to high blood sugar levels that will be difficult to control.
Steps for successful weight loss
A person with diabetes should be aware that the more moderate his blood sugar levels the more he will avoid and delay the complications of the disease and their emergence. Maintaining a healthy weight is the beginning to reach the desired goal.
Diabetic patients must follow a healthy diet rich in fiber as it slows the absorption of sugar in the blood and thus prevents its spike. In order for a diabetic to avoid the risks of blood sugar spikes or gaining weight, he should follow a specific diet through a dietician who reduces his calorie intake by about 500 calories a day, while reducing protein, carbohydrate and fat.
Calories for adults should be distributed as follows:
- 45 to 55% of carbohydrates.
- 25 to 35% fat.
- 10 to 35% protein.
It is noteworthy that carbohydrates have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels, especially those containing fiber such as whole grains and bread, which are much better than eating sugary or starchy carbohydrates, because they are less likely to have sudden blood sugar spike and drop.
The lifestyle changes to be made include exercising, provided that it is not a heavy sport; walking regularly or doing other light activity that contributes over time to burning fat and removing excess calories. These two steps must be accompanied by taking the drugs prescribed by the doctor and which have a key role in controlling blood sugar levels. Following these steps will allow the diabetic patient to enjoy a fairly normal life, as the effect of exercise and diet on his body is equivalent to the effect of the drug.
This also has far more benefits than maintaining a healthy blood sugar level, as it prevents high blood pressure or cholesterol, as well as it gives more energy and a better mood.