Weight loss and diabetes type 2: why is it important?

Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance, a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively.

Excess body weight is a cause of insulin resistance and often gives rise to metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is a group of medical conditions that puts people at risk for both CVD and type 2 diabetes.

Losing excess body weight,therefore helps people with diabetes and prediabetes in several ways

  1. Weight loss results in less insulin resistance in the body so that blood sugar is better controlled
  2. Weight loss also results in decreased blood pressure and better blood lipid profile thus reducing the heart risk
  3. Weight loss results in positive changes in mood and behavior and gives a sense of control over the disease

What should be the plan for weight loss in diabetes?

  1. Overweight people should try to lose weight and get their BMI< 23; this target is suitable for people with less burden of excess weight
  2. For Indian people who have BMI>27.5 , initial target is to lose 5-10% of body weight within six months to a year
  3. Gradual weight loss is better. For this, a moderate calorie restriction of 500 calories is advised, but in severely obese people a calorie restriction of up to 1000 calories is OK
  4. The radically restrictive diets such as low carb, low fat, Atkins etc. have not been found to be superior for either weight loss or sugar/cholesterol control over other diets
  5. Adherence to the calorie restriction is the most important factor for weight loss
  6. Recommended level of exercise is at least 150 minutes/week of moderate intensity exercise and 2-3 sessions of resistance exercise/week. It help in greater weight loss when combined with dietary calorie restriction of 500 calorie/day. But if you go for extreme calorie restriction, exercise will not add to your weight loss much!
  7. Drugs or surgery for weight loss may help in people with higher BMI (> 27.5 for drugs and >32.5 for weight loss surgery for Indians). If you fall in these groups, you should discuss the use of these measures with your doctor


Thus, if you are an overweight diabetic or prediabetic, you should give losing weight a serious thought.

Read also: ‘Weight loss motivation: how to keep it up

Weight loss is just a part of diabetic care, find out what good control of diabetes means in totality and manage your disease better!

CHECK OUT: Our references for diabetes mellitus