Ok. Let’s get something absolutely clear. If you are overweight or obese, it does NOT mean that you will develop Type 2 Diabetes. If you are of a ‘healthy weight’, it does not mean that you WON’T develop Type 2 Diabetes.
Carrying excessive weight increases risk of Type 2 Diabetes – significantly – but the two conditions are not inseparably linked. You can be overweight with perfectly normal blood sugar levels, or be at your ideal weight and be Type 2 Diabetic (so if you are of a healthy weight, please don’t be fooled in to thinking “I will never be a Type 2 Diabetic”.
Now that myth is out of the way, let’s take a deeper dive in to the associative increased risk of becoming Type 2 Diabetic if you are carrying too much weight.
It is a fact that obesity is one of the major risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterised by high blood glucose levels due to the body’s inability to produce enough insulin or use it effectively (click here for more info). Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels by helping glucose move from the bloodstream into the cells where it can be used for energy.
What is ‘obesity’?
Obesity is a condition in which a person has an excessive amount of body fat, often measured by body mass index (BMI – calculated by dividing a person’s weight (in kilograms) by their height (in meters) squared).
It is characterised by having an excess amount of body fat that can have negative effects on health. A BMI greater than or equal to 30 is classified as obese. However, BMI is not always a perfect indicator of obesity, as it does not take into account factors such as muscle mass, bone density, or body shape.
The excess fat tissue and specifically excessive visceral fat in the liver and pancreas can cause the body to become resistant to Insulin, leading to a condition known as Insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when the cells in the body become resistant to the effects of insulin, which makes it difficult for glucose to enter the cells and results in high blood glucose levels.
When a person is obese, their body produces more Insulin to try to regulate blood sugar levels. However, over time, the pancreas may not be able to keep up with the demand for Insulin production, leading to insulin deficiency and Type 2 Diabetes. Additionally, excess body fat, particularly in the abdomen, can release hormones and other substances that can cause insulin resistance and inflammation, further increasing the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Obesity is associated with a range of other health problems aside from Type 2 Diabetes including heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and certain types of cancer. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise to reduce the risk of developing these health problems.