According to the CDC, in 2020 13% of adults in the U.S. were living with Type II Diabetes (DMII), and even scarier, 34.5% were diagnosed with prediabetes. These are high numbers!
If you’re living with Type II Diabetes, chances are your doctor has already told you the best way to combat this disease is to lose weight. Easier said than done, right?
Here’s the catch 22, Type II diabetes affects the ability to lose weight, on the other hand, obesity can lead to the development of Type II Diabetes. It’s a double-edged sword.
I also talk about this on a podcast episode. Listen to the podcast.
How does Type II Diabetes or prediabetes make it harder to lose weight?
You develop DMII or prediabetes when your blood sugar levels are consistently high. This is caused, in most part, by ingesting highly processed foods, such as flour and sugar thus causing consistently elevated insulin levels. It is harder for people with prediabetes or Type II diabetes to lose weight because their insulin is always elevated.
In order to fully understand why Type II diabetes makes it so difficult to lose weight, first, we need to understand what happens in our bodies when we eat processed foods.
Let’s break down how our bodies create fat:
Step 1: You ingest foods that are highly processed (foods that contain flour and/or sugar). For example, we’ll say a big plate of spaghetti with garlic bread. These processed foods are broken down to glucose, then absorbed into the bloodstream, increasing your blood sugar (glucose) levels. Some glucose in our blood is necessary. Our bodies need it for energy. Too much, too fast is harmful though.
Step 2: The rise in glucose causes your pancreas to produce the hormone insulin. Insulin plays an important part. Think of insulin as a key used to open up cells to let in the glucose. Remember, we need that to happen to have energy.
Step 3: Once our cells have enough glucose for the energy our body needs, the rest of the glucose is stored for later use. One of these storage forms is fat. The insulin goes to the fat cells, unlocks them, and stores the glucose to plump up those fat cells. Remember, insulin is a key to open the cells, so if insulin is consistently elevated, you will always be storing fat.
*If eating processed foods was a once in a while treat, your blood sugar would eventually go back down to a normal level. However, when you consistently eat these foods that’s when you’re faced with a problem.
Screening for Type II Diabetes
There is a new recommendation by the United States Preventive Services Task Force to get screened for Type II Diabetes if you are over the age of 35 and overweight. “Overweight” is defined as a body mass index higher than 25. This recommendation was initially for people aged 40 and older, but we are now finding that patients are being diagnosed with DMII earlier. Screening also allows for earlier detection of prediabetes which gives time for early intervention and treatment.
If you have struggled with weight loss and are unsure about your blood sugar levels, you should be screened either with a fasting glucose level or a hemoglobin A1c, which is a 3-month average of your blood sugar. Talk to your doctor about these labs, or when you sign up to become my patient, these are part of the initial lab panel.
What are the benefits of increasing insulin sensitivity?
Improving insulin sensitivity means that your body responds better to the insulin it is producing and will need to produce less of it. There are many benefits to increasing insulin sensitivity.
- Weight loss! They go hand in hand. Weight loss improves insulin sensitivity and improved insulin sensitivity leads to more weight loss.
- Decrease or stop medications. I have gotten some of my patients off of medications completely or greatly reduced the number of medications taken, simply by teaching them to be mindful of when and what they eat. At a certain point, the pancreas gets burned out from making too much insulin and can’t produce it anymore, and there are disease processes that harm the cells that make insulin. However, in most cases, Type II diabetes can be controlled with nutrition, timed eating, and physical activity.
What can you do?
- Decrease highly refined foods such as bread, pasta, white rice, cereals, chips, crackers, and sugars.
- Intermittent fast under the guidance of a physician. This is not safe to do independently on many of the DMII medications, such as insulin. I have a free workshop coming up on September 15th at 4 pm ET where I will teach you how to create a personalized IF plan that works for your lifestyle.
You are not helpless when it comes to Type II diabetes and prediabetes. You can take control. In most cases, this disease can be managed, prevented, and even reversed. With knowledge and determination, you can completely change your life.
If you’ve been diagnosed with DMII or prediabetes, a medical weight loss program may be right for you. LaRocca Medical Weight Loss is now enrolling. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.
Till next time, stay healthy.
Dr. Kristine LaRocca
Disclaimer: Although I am a medical doctor, I am not YOUR doctor. So the things I teach are not to be used as medical advice. You should consult your physician to discuss what is best for you personally.
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