Even if you’re not overweight or obese and have type 2 diabetes, losing weight can help.
Here’s proof: 70% of healthy-weight type 2 diabetics who lost 10% of their body weight went into remission.
Although type 2 diabetes is the type most strongly associated with obesity, only 15% of individuals are overweight or obese. However, they can be exceeding their own “fat threshold.”
Dr. Roy Taylor, the studies author, said that everyone has a point at which they can no longer store fat safely inside the body.
If you can’t store additional fat under your skin, it “spills over” into the liver, he said. The pancreas and the rest of the body receive too much fat when this occurs. Diabetes results from the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells ceasing to function properly.
Taylor said that type 2 diabetes only affects people who have gained too much weight for their bodies.
Some blood indications of stress in fat may be able to detect that threshold, he noted. No test can say “you’ve reached your fat limit.”
For the study, 20 diabetics who were not overweight or obese consumed 800 calories per day from non-starchy vegetables and low-calorie soups and smoothies. They repeated this process three times, with a four to six week weight maintenance period in between each cycle.
They lost a total of roughly 10.7% of their body weight and maintained it off for six to twelve months.
Based on their HbA1c readings, 14 persons had their diabetes remit. This gives a picture of the typical blood sugar readings over a number of weeks. People with diabetes who were in remission did not need to take medication.
According to Taylor, this is similar to what is observed in type 2 diabetics who are overweight or obese and lose weight.
MRI scans show a decrease in liver and pancreas fat in those without diabetes. Diabetics’ pancreatic fat fell from 5.8% to 4.3%, and insulin-producing cells’ function normalized.
It doesn’t take much additional fat to prevent the pancreatic cells that make insulin from functioning. Taylor explained that normal insulin production can be stopped by just one additional half gram of fat in the pancreas.
People with type 2 diabetes have more body fat than they can handle, regardless of body mass index (BMI), he claimed. If they can reduce around 10% of their initial weight, they have a decent chance of going into remission.
The study was presented at this week’s EASD meeting in Stockholm. Medical symposium findings are preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed publication.
Dr. Scott Kahan, the executive director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C., asserted that there is a constant and significant link between diabetes and obesity.
Even in relatively slim individuals, Kahan remarked, “even tiny amounts of weight gain or excess weight can greatly increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.”
The good news is that even modest weight loss—often just a few pounds—can reduce diabetes risk and blood sugar instability.
“This study strongly suggests that weight management guidance, support, and intervention will likely be valuable even in persons with only small amounts of excess weight,” according to Kahan. The doctor also says “further supports the importance of weight management for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.”
If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association offers advice on how to lose weight.