Can Diabetes Cause Weight Loss
Yes, it can. Diabetes mellitus reduces the bodys production and/or its response to insulina hormone that regulates blood sugar levels by helping the body convert glucose into energy. If cells cant create or use enough insulin to perform this conversion, they may think the body is starving and begin consuming muscle and body fat for energy instead, causing sudden weight decreases. Most of the time, this occurs in cases of Type 1 diabetes, although Type 2 diabetes can cause unexplained weight loss, too.
Anyone who isnt making a concerted effort to lose weight but still sees consistent drops when standing on the scale should take note. This type of unexplained weight loss could be a sign of undiagnosed diabetes. It could also stem from a host of other conditions, including thyroid issues, celiac disease, Crohns disease, cancer, and more. The only way to know for sure is to visit a healthcare provider.
Studies have shown that certain diabetes medications, like metformin, can also cause and help maintain weight loss over multiple years. Other diabetes drugs that may decrease appetite and cause weight loss include Byetta and Victoza.
Benefits Of Losing Extra Weight
There are so many benefits to losing extra weight both physically and emotionally.
Extra weight around your waist means fat can build up around your organs, like your liver and pancreas. This can cause something called insulin resistance. So losing this weight could help the insulin you produce or the insulin you inject work properly.
And as you start to lose weight and get more active, you and your healthcare team may need to look at your medication, especially if you treat your diabetes with insulin or sulphonylurea. This might mean reducing the dose or making other adjustments, but talk to your healthcare team about it. For some people, needing fewer diabetes medications is a great motivation for losing weight.
Although getting type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with weight, losing any extra weight will help you reduce your risk of complications and could mean injecting less insulin.
And if you have type 2 diabetes, losing around 15kg could even put you into diabetes remission. This could mean coming off your diabetes medication completely a life-changing possibility. This is even more likely if you lose the weight nearer to your diagnosis and quickly it’s a myth that losing weight slowly is better for you.
Most people say they also feel better in their mood, have more energy and sleep better.
Douglas Twenefour, our Deputy Head of Care and dietitian
Why Does Diabetes Cause Weight Loss
Diabetes is a chronic disease that is destructive if left untreated. Symptoms are often so subtle and sometimes gradual that people don’t realize they have the condition. There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational.
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy tissues of the body and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. The damage from these attacks causes the pancreas to stop making insulin. Type 1 diabetes can appear at any age but usually develops during childhood or adolescence.
- Type 2 diabetesoccurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it properly. People usually acquire type 2 diabetes later in life, however, with a rise in childhood obesity, children are developing type 2 diabetes at an increasing rate. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes. This is the most common form.
- Gestational diabetes is pregnancy related and usually subsides after the baby is born.
In all forms, diabetes functions similarly. Most of the food we eat is broken down into a sugar called glucose, which is then released into the bloodstream. When blood sugar rises, it prompts the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to deliver the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body.
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Managing Weight Loss With Diabetes
Managing weight loss with diabetes begins with getting blood sugar under control, so it’s critical to involve a doctor to activate a treatment plan.
Some people’s diabetes can be managed through lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. People with type 1 diabetesand some with type 2will require supplemental insulin or other drugs to ensure their bodies get back on track.
Typically, once someone is treated for diabetes and their blood sugar normalizes, their weight loss will stabilize. It is critical to continue to monitor diabetes under a doctor’s care at home because it is a lifelong condition.
Avoiding Or Limiting Certain Foods
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Food List For A Keto Diet
A keto diet has carb-free and low-carb foods. It is likely to be high in fat and/or protein.
These foods are free from carbs. They form the bulk of a keto diet.
- Meat, fish, most shellfish, and poultry
- Butter, oils, margarine, and lard
A keto diet may have small amounts of these low-carb foods.
- Lettuce, greens, other non-starchy vegetables
A keto diet does not have much room for these types of foods.
- Whole grains
Which Diet Will Help Me To Lose Weight
The diet industry is huge, but how do you pick a sensible diet?
Many diets involve reducing or restricting certain foods which makes some diets more or less appropriate for certain types of people.
If you need help choosing which diet to pick, a dietitian will be able to assist you in making a suitable choice.
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Not Enough Physical Activity
Increasing the amount of physical activity you do can get stalled weight loss going again. The American Heart Association recommends that people with Type 2 diabetes perform a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week or at least 90 minutes of vigorous activity a week. Doing resistance-training exercises three times per week is also encouraged.
Keep in mind that if you dont currently do this much, you will need to build up to it gradually. Its also a good idea to get your doctors OK before increasing the amount or intensity of physical activity you do. Certain activities may not be advised for people who have diabetes complications such as eye or kidney disease. Also, because physical activity usually lowers blood glucose, you may need to take steps to prevent hypoglycemia while exercising. Some of the ways to do this include cutting back on insulin or oral medicines before exercising, having a snack before or during exercise, or changing your meal schedule to accommodate your exercise schedule. Checking your blood glucose before, during, and after physical activity will help you determine which of these steps may be most effective.
Vegetarian And Vegan Diets
Some people with diabetes focus on eating vegetarian or vegan diets. Vegetarian diets typically refer to diets where no meat is eaten, but animal products like milk, eggs, or butter can be consumed. Vegans will not eat meat or any other type of animal product, including honey, milk, or gelatin.
Foods that are healthy for vegetarians and vegans with diabetes include:
- whole grains
While vegetarian and vegan diets can be healthy diets to follow, those who follow them may be missing out on vital nutrients if they arenât careful.
Some nutrients vegetarians or vegans may need to obtain through supplements include:
- Calcium. Found largely in animal products like dairy, calcium is an important nutrient that contributes to the health of bones and teeth. Broccoli and kale can help provide necessary calcium, but supplements may be needed in a vegan diet.
- Iodine. Required for metabolizing food into energy, iodine is predominantly found in seafood. Without these animal products in their diets, vegetarians and vegans may have trouble getting enough of the necessary iodine. Supplements can be beneficial.
- B-12: Since only animal products have vitamin B-12, a supplement may be necessary for those following a strict vegetarian diet.
- Zinc: The main source of zinc comes from high protein animal products, and a supplement may be advised for those on a vegetarian diet.
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Weight Loss Options For Diabetes
For many people with diabetes, exercise and dietary changes arent enough to lose significant weight. Here are some other weight-loss approaches that work:
Medically managed weight loss. This approach involves a team of health care providers, including physicians, nutritionists and more, who create a weight-loss program uniquely suited to you. Support includes a reduced calorie diet that may feature meal-replacement products such as OPTIFAST®, an exercise plan, behavioral counseling and medication.
Weight loss medications. There are many types of weight loss medicationssome work by making you feel less hungry, others by making it harder for the body to absorb fat. Its important that you follow your doctors advice, as some diabetes and weight loss medications have serious side effects. Weight loss medications are typically prescribed and monitored through a medical weight loss program.
Bariatric surgery. Also known as weight loss surgery, this approach permanently alters the digestive tract to limit the amount of food you can eat at one time. It has proven to be an effective option, particularly for people with diabetes. Like any significant surgery, there are risks that you should weigh. There are also some lifestyle changes that go along with this type of surgery. Consult your doctor to see if bariatric surgery is right for you.
Will Having Diabetes Make It Hard For Me To Lose Weight
Some medications used to treat diabetes often result in weight gain. But the good news is, they dont have to. Our weight loss specialists will work to design a diabetes regimen that minimizes the use of medications that can lead to weight gain, while achieving good glycemic control. We will also design a healthy eating and exercise plan that will help control your diabetes, and help you lose weight.
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How Can Diabetes Cause Weight Loss
Unexpected or unintended weight loss is often a symptom of unmanaged diabetes, both type 1 and type 2.
With type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks cells of the pancreas that make insulin. Since theres no insulin available to move glucose into the bodys cells, glucose builds up in the bloodstream. The kidneys then work to remove this unused sugar through urination. The sugar isnt used as energy, so the body starts burning fat and muscle for energy, resulting in weight loss.
Weight loss in type 1 diabetes may be unintentional. If people with type 1 diabetes need to lose weight, this can be done safely by reducing calorie intake. Some people may under-treat their diabetes to lose weight, but this is highly dangerous. Skipping insulin can lead to very high blood sugar levels, a serious complication known as diabetic ketoacidosis, and potentially death.
Under-treating diabetes to lose weight can be a symptom of an eating disorder. If you think you have an eating disorder, reach out to your doctor or a mental health professional to get specialized support and treatment.
Reason #: Typically Recommended Eating Patterns Often Backfire By Keeping You Hungry And Keeping Your Blood Sugar High
If youâre like most people with type 2 diabetes, youâve been told to eat carbohydrates but eat fewer overall calories, and to eat small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar steady youâve probably been advised to count your carbs and eat enough of them to keep your blood sugar up after taking medication to lower itâconfusing, right?
What many find as a result is that theyâre always hungry, always thinking about food and facing cravings. Whatâs at work is a survival instinct that even the strongest-willed person canât withstand for long. This is a situation where your physiology is fighting against you. Even worse, those frequent small meals with carbohydrates create spikes in your blood sugar followed by drops in your blood sugarâa blood sugar roller-coaster that stimulates frequent hunger.
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Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Perhaps you have learned that you have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes. You might be overweight or have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes. Maybe you had gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. These are just a few examples of factors that can raise your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and eye and foot problems. Prediabetes also can cause health problems. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop health problems, so delaying diabetes by even a few years will benefit your health. You can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing a modest amount of weight by following a reduced-calorie eating plan and being physically active most days of the week. Ask your doctor if you should take the diabetes drug metformin to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.1
The Only Thing You Need To Do Is Reduce Your Bodys Insulin Release
Insulin is your bodys chief fat accumulation, fat storage, fat lockdown hormone. Each weight loss attempt described above, in its own way, reduced insulin.
Picture a winter scene.
Looking out your Pennsylvania window you see the first snowflakes of the season.
Environmental conditions must be just right for the snowflakes to form and then further right for them to land on the grass and trees. and stick. If the weather supports the snow laying on hardscape like driveways and streets, accumulation ensues.
At first the laying snow is barely noticeable. We get distracted. We walk away from the window. We dont pay attention.
When we look again, the view is quite different. Where, just moments before there was merely a covering, now the snow on the ground is gathering, piling even, in certain places where it sticks more easily. Conditions are ripe for accumulation. And the more consistently it snows, the more accumulation grows.
Weight gain is subtle. Imperceptible at first. We get distracted. And even if we are eating by the rules, whichever ones were drawn to or have created for ourselves, when our internal conditions are just right, fat accumulates.
That condition is insulin. And our snow is glucose.
accumulate : to gather or pile up especially little by little, to amass
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How About Protein Carbs And Fat
Im not going to stand here and tell you that there is only one way to lose weight with type 1 diabetes. Ive had experience losing weight on a high carb diet, low carb diet, and moderate carb diet.
Theyre all predicated on the aforementioned calories in, calories out equation.
But, a couple of tips to consider as you plan your diet:
Protein is helpful in satiety AND retaining muscle mass
In other words, protein will help keep you fuller for longer after meals, which is key in a situation where you are eating less than you may be accustomed to normally.
Additionally, when people lose weight, the composition is typically 75% fat and 25% muscle1. However, a higher protein diet has been linked to a reduction in the amount of muscle lost during a caloric deficit.2
I could go on and on all day, but Ill leave you with this:
Recommendation: Aim to eat 0.5-0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight per day. It will help you keep your hard-earned muscles while losing weight. So if you weight 200 pounds , you should aim for 100-160 grams of protein per day.
Note: If you suffer from kidney disease or have any history of kidney problems, increasing your protein intake may not be recommended.3 Always consult your medical team before making major dietary changes.
Weight Loss Can Protect Your Health In Many Ways
If youve recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and have been advised to lose weight, you’re probably saying to yourself: “easier said then done,” or more likely, “don’t you think I’ve tried everything to do that already?!”
Understanding how to achieve lasting weight loss starts with a focused assessment of how you are currently eating so you can pinpoint habits that may be holding you back from succeeding.
For many, the best way to do this may be to work with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator to help you design a plan that will work for youa healthy meal plan, physical activity, and to set realistic goals to help you reach a healthy weight.
Eating to beat diabetes is much more about making wise food adjustments than it is about denial and deprivation. A better way to look at a diet when you have diabetes is one that helps you establish a new normal when it comes to your eating habits and food choices.
There are many advantages to losing weight :
- You will feel a boost in energy
- Your blood cholesterol levels will drop
- You’ll gain protect against heart disease
- Controlling your blood sugar will be much easier, and will reduce the need for medication
- It will lead to improved hemoglobin A1c levels
- You will likely sleep better since it will reduce your risk for sleep apnea
There are 3 food-related factors that lead to weight gain:
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