It’s true; beautiful bodies come in all shapes and sizes. But beauty is different than health, and Americans’ expanding waistlines are directly impacting the rates of chronic diseases like diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is no longer a disease of the elderly; it’s affecting children as young as two years old. One of the primary driving factors for this epidemic is excess weight caused by diet and lifestyle. Eating unhealthy foods and being sedentary lead to weight gain, especially around the middle, and that weight is especially dangerous to your health.
Losing weight, alone, can reverse type 2 diabetes for some.
In fact, gastric bypass surgery has been shown to put type 2 diabetes into remission due to weight loss. So, how is being overweight causing the uptick in type 2 diabetes? Let’s break it down.
1. Fat cells produce hormones
Fat cells act as their own endocrine gland, producing hormones that can disrupt many functions throughout the body. Increased fat mass has been linked to dysregulated levels of hormones that regulate metabolism, hunger, satiety, reproduction, and more. Sometimes excess fat cells produce so much of their hormones that the body downregulates its ability to “hear” the hormone, resulting in a loss of function. This is often the case with insulin production, and it can lead to insulin resistance.
2. Fat cells produce inflammatory molecules
Fat cells, especially around the midsection, produce inflammatory chemicals that can increase tissue damage. This domino effect can lead to insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and type 2 diabetes. Having type 2 diabetes increases inflammation, and the cycle continues. Therefore, obesity is one of the primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
3. Obesity makes it harder to exercise
Obesity is linked to decreased mobility, which means a lower quality of life.
It is not only harder to get around but also more difficult to exercise. Regular exercise has been shown to improve glucose control and can even prevent and reverse a glucose imbalance in newly diagnosed people. Exercise also combats the damage that excess fat can cause by lowering inflammation and oxidative stress.
4. Excess fat affects sleep, which drives up hunger
Poor sleep and obesity have a bidirectional relationship. Poor sleep can cause obesity, and obesity can cause poor sleep. Obesity can obstruct breathing during sleep and lead to sleep apnea. Inadequate sleep causes metabolic changes that lead to poor glucose control and insulin resistance.
Finding a healthy weight for your body is a powerful step in turning type 2 diabetes around. By reducing fat mass, your body has a better opportunity to regulate and operate optimally. However, whether you’re tackling weight loss or other diabetes-related goals, effectively treating and reversing type 2 diabetes means tailoring your treatment plan to your unique body including fitness, diet, and other therapies. Innovative and comprehensive diagnostic tests can help you identify the root of your diabetes and design the best road back to health.