Can Weight Loss Reverse Diabetes?
Across the United States, approximately 34.2 million people have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is believed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction, and is often diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. By comparison, type 2 diabetes is most often diagnosed in older adults, and is often caused by a variety of factors, including being overweight.
Type 1 diabetes can only be managed or treated, not cured. However, people with type 2 diabetes or its precursor, prediabetes, may be able to reverse their diabetes through weight loss. Studies show that losing as little as 10% of your body weight can actually help you achieve remission from type 2 diabetes.
At Ideal You, we know that carrying excess weight is associated with a number of health conditions – like knee pain and type 2 diabetes. Our goal is to help our clients lose weight quickly and to keep it off over time. In this way, we can help you achieve optimal health and wellness.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a medical condition in which the body has difficulty regulating and using sugar (glucose) as fuel. Over time, this leads to too much glucose in the bloodstream, which can damage the heart, blood vessels, nerves, kidneys, eyes, skin, and other body systems.
With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, which is the hormone that regulates the movement of glucose into the cells. At the same time, cells in the body respond poorly to insulin and take in less glucose to use as fuel.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Excessive thirst
- Unintentional weight loss
- Increased hunger
- Excessive urination
- Infections that heal slowly
- Blurry vision
- Dark colored patches of skin
If you notice these symptoms or are otherwise concerned that you may have type 2 diabetes, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Type 2 diabetes is caused when two things occur: (1) the cells in muscle, fat, and the liver become resident to insulin; and (2) the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to manage blood sugar levels. While there are a number of factors that may cause these issues, certain factors increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes:
- Being overweight or obese (the leading risk factor)
- The distribution of fat on your body, with fat storage in the abdomen increasing your risk
- Lack of physical activity
- Family history
- Having low levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
- Age, with the risk increasing as you get older
- Race and ethnicity, with Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian and Pacific Island people more likely to develop type 2 diabetes
- Having a history of gestational diabetes
- A diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Being diagnosed with prediabetes, which is a condition of having higher than normal levels of blood sugar
While there is treatment for type 2 diabetes, including blood sugar monitoring and medication, it can also be treated through exercise, a healthy diet, and weight loss. In fact, you may even be able to go into remission from type 2 diabetes by losing weight.
Can Losing Weight Help Me Reverse My Type 2 Diabetes?
If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you can reverse the condition by losing weight. Your weight loss doesn’t have to be drastic to accomplish this goal. In fact, the more important factor is your ability to maintain this weight loss through a sustainable plan.
According to a 2019 study from the University of Cambridge, 30% of participants were able to reverse their diabetes diagnosis by losing 10% of their body weight. The study followed 867 people aged 40 to 69 who were recently diagnosed with diabetes. Of those participants, 257 people were in remission from diabetes within 5 years of their diagnosis.
90% of study participants who lost at least 10% of their body weight were able to reverse their diabetes diagnosis. In addition, people who lost 10% of their body weight were more than two times as likely to be in remission from diabetes at the 5 year mark, compared to people who did not lose this amount of weight.
For most people, 10% is a very attainable weight loss goal. For example, if you currently weigh 300 pounds, then a 10% weight loss is 30 pounds (to 270 pounds).
This study is notable because participants were not required to undergo extreme calorie cutting measures. It also examined outcomes over time, checking in to see how patients fared 5 years after their diagnosis.
Other research shows that weight loss is the primary method by which people with type 2 diabetes can reverse their diagnosis. For example, in a 2011 study, people with type 2 diabetes were able to go into remission from diabetes by losing weight.
More recently, researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that moderate weight loss of just 10 to 15% can help a patient reverse type 2 diabetes. In this small study, 23 participants followed a diet until they lost 10 to 15% of their body weight. ⅔ of the participants were able to stop taking medication to manage their diabetes.
Importantly, the participants in this study had an average body mass index (BMI) of 24.5, which is not considered overweight or obese. However, losing visceral fat – the type of fat that is stored around the abdomen – seemed to help them reverse their diabetes. According to the study’s authors, losing weight around the midsection might be even more important than overall weight when it comes to reversing diabetes.
The science is clear: the best way to reverse diabetes is to drop extra pounds. This should be accomplished by changing your diet to focus more on healthy fats, lean protein, and fewer carbohydrates. At the same time, you should consider increasing your physical activity, which can help to reverse some of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
How Ideal You Can Help You Achieve Your Health Goals
Ideal You is different from most weight loss programs. We understand that weight loss is complicated, and is rarely as simple as calories in versus calories out. Many of our clients have tried all kinds of diets, and given up hope of ever losing a significant amount of weight – until they joined our program.
One of the biggest factors that influences your ability to lose weight is your metabolism. No matter how little you eat or how much you exercise, if you have a “slow” metabolism, it will be incredibly difficult to lose weight. That is why we focus on changing our clients’ metabolisms from fat storing to fat burning.
When you train your body to use fat as fuel, it can supercharge your ability to lose weight. As your body begins to burn fat instead of sugar, you won’t feel hungry – and you’ll lose weight more quickly than you ever have before.
Our program helps you get to your goal weight through a combination of all natural, food-based supplements, a structured food list and food diary, weigh-ins and a meeting with a weight loss coach every 10 days, and support from our team of weight loss experts. We will support you through every step of the way, and will help you lose a life-changing amount of weight faster than you ever thought possible.
While we cannot guarantee that you will reverse your diabetes or any other condition, we can promise that if you follow our program, you will lose weight. Studies show that dropping extra pounds can and often does lead to diabetes going into remission. Signing up with Ideal You is the first step in a journey of regaining control over your life and your health.
Improve Your Health with Ideal You
Type 2 diabetes does not have to be a chronic condition. It is possible to reverse your diabetes – and get off of diabetes medication – through losing a moderate amount of weight. Ideal You can help.
At Ideal You Weight Loss, we won’t ever ask you to slash your calories drastically or to exercise for hours a day. Instead, we focus on ways to rev up your metabolism so that you can lose weight quickly and sustainably. On our program, you can eat real food (not shakes or protein bars) and reach your goal weight.