Being overweight is tied to many conditions that can bring your health down.
So it’s no surprise that losing weight can be the answer to improving your health. What may be surprising is just how little you can lose to turn disease around.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious enough condition on its own, but long term can lead to heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, vision loss and even Alzheimer’s.
And even though doctors will suggest weight loss to their patients, researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, say weight loss should become a central focus of managing type 2 diabetes.
Why? Because they say it has the potential to not only slow the disease’s progress and reduce its complications — it can potentially reverse it.
The difference 15 percent of your weight can make
So, how much weight loss do they suggest can make these big improvements?
15 percent or more of your current body weight. And while that might sound like a lot, there’s a lot of data that goes into that number…
The researchers combed through data from multiple studies in order to arrive at their recommendations. They delved into data on weight loss and diabetes from the DiRECT trial which found 70 percent of patients who were overweight or obese but lost 15 kg (33 pounds) or more showed full remission of their diabetes.
Additionally, the team reviewed research that found obese patients who underwent bariatric surgery gain both immediate and long-term benefits to managing their blood sugar problems. These include reducing their need for glucose-lowering drugs within days of surgery and improving multiple indicators of health for years to come.
And finally, the researchers point out that studies show the majority of patients (40-70 percent) with type 2 diabetes have one or more features of insulin resistance. This demonstrates the fact that their blood sugar problems are driven by high levels of body fat.
“Key features that identify people in whom increasing body fat is a key mechanistic contributor to type 2 diabetes are the presence of central adiposity (fat around the waist), increased waist circumference, multiple skin tags, high blood pressure, and fatty liver disease,” explains paper co-author Dr. Ildiko Lingvay.
Disrupting diabetes and preventing complications
Because of this, they say that weight loss is hands-down the most effective means to manage diabetes. And they point out that losing that recommended 15 percent of your body weight could be the key to:
- Improving blood sugar control
- Disrupting the core pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes to change its course long-term
- Preventing its associated metabolic complications.
They also point out that as an added benefit, this weight loss could address other obesity-related health problems including:
- Fatty liver
- Sleep apnea
- High blood pressure
- Elevated cholesterol
Overall, this approach could have far-reaching positive impacts on health beyond diabetes.
Achieving sustained weight loss for better health
But how do you finally take off those extra pounds that have been weighing you down and weighing on your health?
By taking a whole-body approach.
It’s not enough to say, “I’m only going to exercise,” and expect to lose the weight. It’s not enough to just add in one supplement and think it’s a magic bullet that will speed your weight loss in a vacuum (although there are supplements that can work with your other interventions).
Instead, you need to look at your weight holistically and work from there.
That’s why I love my colleague Dr. Michael Cutler’s 22 weight loss tips, which start with being accountable and include everything from exercise to blood tests to check your hormonal balance.
Additionally, going old school still works. In fact, one study found that simply trimming 300 calories a day resulted in a 16-pound weight loss.
Finally, if you want to lose weight, there’s one thing that you absolutely must do every single morning without fail.
The key is to consider all the factors that led to your weight gain and then knock them out one by one until you’ve reached your goal.
Editor’s note: Are you feeling unusually tired? You may think this is normal aging, but the problem could be your master hormone. When it’s not working, your risk of age-related diseases skyrockets. To reset what many call “the trigger for all disease” and live better, longer, click here to discover The Insulin Factor: How to Repair Your Body’s Master Controller and Conquer Chronic Disease!