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Can You Get Type 2 Diabetes Without Being Overweight


People With Diabetes Cant Eat Sweets

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Theres no reason people with type 2 diabetes cant eat sweets, as long as they fit into a normal meal plan. However, try to eat small portions and include them with other foods. This can help slow down digestion. Highly sugared drinks and desserts are digested more quickly and can cause a quick spike in blood sugar level. When eaten in large quantities or by themselves, sweets can wreck havoc on your blood sugar.

Obesity And Insulin Resistance

Insulin sensitivity fluctuation occurs across the natural life cycle. For example, insulin resistance is noticed during puberty, in pregnancy, and during the aging process.25 In addition, lifestyle variations, such as increased carbohydrate intake and increased physical activity, are associated with insulin sensitivity fluctuations.10 Obesity is considered the most important factor in the development of metabolic diseases. Adipose tissue affects metabolism by secreting hormones, glycerol, and other substances including leptin, cytokines, adiponectin, and proinflammatory substances, and by releasing NEFAs. In obese individuals, the secretion of these substances will be increased.25

The cornerstone factor affecting insulin insensitivity is the release of NEFAs. Increased release of NEFAs is observed in type 2 diabetes and in obesity, and it is associated with insulin resistance in both conditions.26 Shortly after an acute increase of plasma NEFA levels in humans, insulin resistance starts to develop. Conversely, when the level of plasma NEFA decreases, as in the case with antilipolytic agent use, peripheral insulin uptake and glucose monitoring will be improved.27

Furthermore, abdominal fat is considered more lipolytic than subcutaneous fat, and it also does not respond easily to the antilipolytic action of insulin, which makes intra-abdominal fat more important in causing insulin resistance, and thus diabetes.27,28


Can I Get Type 2 Diabetes From Being Overweight

What is Type 2 Diabetes? It is when the pancreas is unable to release enough insulin in the blood to eliminate the glucose levels. The disease affects about 27 million people in the United States. There are another 86 million people living with Prediabetes, meaning blood sugar levels are high, but not quite in the range thats considered diabetic.

Overweight people have a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Having excess fat and being inactive cause insulin resistance, which is when the body does not use insulin efficiently to remove sugar from the blood. If not reversed through diet and exercise, Prediabetes becomes Diabetes. Due to these factors, over 90% of overweight people have the disease.

While Type 2 Diabetes is associated with overweight individuals, dont think you are not at risk if youre not overweight. People that have a healthy bodyweight can also suffer from Type 2 Diabetes for reasons such as genetics and Fatty Liver Disease. If you are the child of someone who has Type 2 Diabetes, then, your chances of acquiring the disease increases significantly.

Poor diets are another factor in developing the disease. Eating too much sugar or high carbohydrate foods can aid the development of insulin resistance. For example, when high fructose corn syrup was introduced to diets in the 1980s , cases of Diabetes increased by 90%.

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The Skinny Fat Person

Many of us have heard of the term “skinny fat” it is used commonly to describe people who want to add bulk, or muscle mass, to their frame. What may be surprising to hear is that “skinny fat” is actually a medical condition referred to as metabolically obese normal weight, or MONW.2 A person with MONW has a normal weight and body mass index however, are classified as metabolically obese. These people may have more visceral fat, which is the fat stored deep into the abdomen. Visceral fat is often more dangerous because it can secrete substances that impair how well insulin works.

It is impossible to determine that someone is skinny fat just by appearance alone. Medically, diagnosing MONW is difficult as there are no clear diagnostic measures.

What If I Already Have Diabetes

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Talk to your healthcare team. They will work with you to create a treatment plan to manage your diabetes. Your treatment plan may include diet, exercise, and medication. By keeping your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control, you can stop or slow down other health problems caused by diabetes. Learn all you can and take an active role in your healthcare.

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How Does Excess Weight Impact Type 2 Diabetes

Excess weight can greatly affect your health in many ways, with type 2 diabetes being one of the most serious. There are many forms of measurement used to evaluate someone’s excess weight however, the most commonly-used method is calculating your body mass index .


BMI is a number calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by his or her height in meters squared. BMI is a useful tool used in determining the degree of an individual’s excess weight. There are five weight status categories that you may fit into:

  • Underweight

  • Obese

  • Morbidly obese

When an individual predisposed to diabetes has excess weight, the cells in the body become less sensitive to the insulin that is released from the pancreas. There is some evidence that fat cells are more resistant to insulin than muscle cells. Individuals affected by type 2 diabetes who exercise appear to reduce the severity of insulin-resistance because the exercising muscles use the extra sugar found in the blood therefore, the body does not secrete insulin and the sugar is no longer diverted to excess fat cells.

It’s not just how much an individual weighs, but also where they carry the weight that puts them at greater risk for health problems. Individuals carrying more weight around their waist are more likely to suffer from obesity-related conditions than someone who carries more weight in their hips and thighs .

Risks Of Metabolically Obese Normal Weight

Despite having a normal body mass index, studies have determined that people who fall into the MONW category have insulin resistance and/or high blood insulin levels, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure.1 These individuals have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, people with MONW who also have central fat distribution, are inactive, and have a low VO2 maximum , are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.3

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Losing Weight With Type 2 Diabetes: 3 Reasons People Struggle

Approximately 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.¹ While obesity often contributes to the development of diabetes, the bigger driver of weight gain is the high insulin levels that are found well before the diagnosis of diabetes.There are some good reasons why the standard advice of âeat less, exercise moreâ doesnât deliver results for people living with type 2 diabetes.

What Are The Complications Of High Blood Sugar Levels

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Excess sugar in the blood causes many health-related problems. The cells cannot get enough of the sugar they need, and when sugar levels in the blood become too high, it causes damage to nerves and blood vessels, usually in the heart, feet, hands, kidneys and eyes. Other complications of high sugar and insulin resistance include:

  • Increased risk of heart disease and stroke

  • Neuropathy

  • Nephropathy

  • Retinopathy

  • Amputation

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What Is Skinny Fat

Your body mass index is a measure of your height and weight. Doctors often use this number to find out if youâre obese. But it doesnât tell you anything about your body makeup. You may be less healthy if you have a lot of weight in your middle. âWhen fat is in the waist area, it tends to secrete more hormones that are bad for your blood vessels,â says Carnethon.

âCentral obesityâ can lead to high blood sugar because âthe fat in the belly is able to produce substances that interfere with the action of insulin,â says Fogelfeld.


Not All Obese People Get Diabetes

At one point it was assumed that all obese people were at higher risk for developing T2DM. But in recent years, research has proven that assumption to be untrue. We now know that a subset of obese people are metabolically healthy, which means that their fasting glucose, triglycerides, and other metabolic markers are normal. This population, referred to as the metabolically healthy obese are at no higher risk for type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease than their metabolically healthy lean counterparts.

Early studies suggested that up to 1 in 3 obese people were metabolically healthy. But these studies used either insulin resistance or the presence of metabolic syndrome alone to determine metabolic health. But a newer study that used a stricter definition of metabolic health found that the percentage of metabolically healthy obese is much lower: only 6%.

Though the number of MHO is much lower than was once assumed, its still true that a small subset of obese people 1) does not develop type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, and 2) is not at higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

How might that be possible?

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Understanding Obesity And Type 2 Diabetes

  • Contact Us
  • This educational brochure is made to help you gain knowledge about type 2 diabetes and obesity. Excess weight, obesity and severe obesity are all risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Often times, people are not aware of the health risk of excess weight until they are diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

    In this brochure, we will cover various topics, such as:

    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Defining excess weight and how it impacts the body
    • Managing diabetes and excess weight through diet, exercise and medications
    • The impact of excess weight on type 2 diabetes

    What is Excess Weight?

    Excess weight and obesity can affect a persons health in many ways. Many methods of measurement can be used to evaluate how much excess weight a person has. One of these methods is calculating body mass index . BMI is a number calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. There are four weight status categories .

    Obesity increases a persons risk of developing:

    • Hypertension
    • Dyslipidemia

    What is Type 2 Diabetes?

    Difficulties of high blood sugar and insulin resistance include:


    • Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
    • Neuropathy
    • Nephropathy
    • Retinopathy
    • Amputation

    How does Excess Weight Impact Type 2 Diabetes?

    People affected by excess weight, especially obesity and severe obesity, are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as a related condition of their excess weight.

    Obesity and severe obesity greatly increase your risk of having:

    Inactive Lifestyles:

    You Aren’t Celiac But You Ditched Gluten

    Can You Have Type 2 Diabetes Without Being Overweight

    We will shout it from the rooftops as many times as we have to-cutting out gluten doesn’t make you healthier, and there’s no need to avoid if you do not have to! Research from the American Heart Association adds even more fuel to the fire, by saying those who follow low-gluten diets may be at greater risk for diabetes.

    Researchers analyzed data from almost 200,000 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study to discover those participants in the highest gluten-consumption percentile were 13 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who consumed the lowest amount. Now, that’s not a license to eat all the pastries and biscuits your heart desires-opt for more nutritious gluten sources, like whole-wheat pasta and sourdough bread.


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    Keep Track Of Your Goals And Progress

    Writing down the details of your weight loss journey helps you set healthy targets and notice patterns. Youll be able to appreciate your progress over time, as well as notice when your diet might have gotten a bit off track.

    Try jotting down all of the foods you eat, including the serving sizes, in a journal every day. Not a fan of pen and paper? Try one of the many free apps. Its a good idea to weigh yourself at least once a week, per your doctors or diabetes educators recommendation, to keep track of your progress. You might also want to write down when you exercised, what you did, and how you felt after.

    You Could Have Diabetes While At A Healthy Weight: Heres How

    with Yeyi Zhu, PhD, Assiamira Ferrara, MD, PhD, and Unjali Gujral, MPH, PhD


    Most often we associate having diabetes with overweight or obesity however, theres a surprising twist to the diabetes storyyou may at risk even if you are at a healthy weight, or even underweight. Although hard to believe, it appears particularly true if you are in a racial or ethnic group other than Caucasian.¹²

    Diabetes ranks as one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States, with at least 12% of the population likely to develop diabetes.² The numbers do not give a full picture of the rising rate of diabetes. What does this mean for you?

    According to data gathered by Kaiser Permanente, a California-based managed care medical organization, a startling new discovery has been made regarding risk of diabeteseven if you are at a healthy weight but you are biracial or fall into one of four racial/ethnic categories other than White, you may have a higher risk of developing T2D.³

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    Having Diabetes Means Your Body Isnt Producing Enough Insulin

    People with type 2 diabetes typically have enough insulin when theyre first diagnosed. The insulin just isnt working properly. This means the insulin doesnt cause their cells to absorb glucose from food. Eventually the pancreas may stop producing enough insulin, so they will need injections.

    Those with prediabetes often produce enough insulin, but the cells of the body are resistant to it. This means the sugar cant move from the blood into the cells. Over time, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range. This can cause you to progress from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.

    Other Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes

    How Do You Get Type 2 Diabetes

    Are you familiar with other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, beyond body weight? Here are some established by science:

    • Having close relatives with diabetes
    • Not meeting the physical activity guidelines
    • Sitting over 6 hours per day
    • Being over the age of 45
    • Having elevated blood sugars during pregnancy
    • Giving birth to a baby that weighed over 9 pounds
    • Have high blood pressure
    • Have a low HDL-cholesterol or a high LDL-cholesterol

    As you can see from the risk factors, lifestyle changes can lower the odds of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Move more by doing structured workouts but also by sitting less. Break up time spent at your desk by stretching, walking around, and doing bodyweight exercises. Even short periods of physical activity improve insulin sensitivity. Reevaluate your diet, sleep habits, and stress management strategies, as these all impact body weight. Losing weight, especially belly fat, is the most important thing you can do to lower your risk.

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    Older Adults With Metabolically Obese Normal Weight

    A study analyzed 39,201 men and 88,012 women aged 4079 years for 8 years to determine if there was an association between weight and developing type 2 diabetes. The study showed that there was an association with being underweight and developing type 2 diabetes. People in the study who had a BMI less than 18.5 kg/m2, which is classified as underweight, and were between the ages of 60-79 had a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those in the same age group but of normal weight. However, there was no association found between being underweight and developing type 2 diabetes in people between the ages of 40-59.4

    Why is this the case? Well, we know that insulin secretion declines in older adults. In addition, people who have protein-calorie malnutrition and magnesium deficiency are more likely to have low insulin secretion.5 Low dietary magnesium, which has been seen in older, underweight adults, is associated with type 2 diabetes.

    Why Don’t All Obese People Develop Type 2 Diabetes Here’s What Research Says

    • Type 2 diabetes is a serious metabolic disease. Formerly known as adult-onset diabetes, it is a chronic condition affecting the way the body metabolizes glucose, a sugar that’s a key source of energy.

    Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a new analytical method that answers a long-standing question about type 2 diabetes: why do some obese patients develop the condition while others do not. The research has been published in the journal, “Journal of Experimental Medicine” Type 2 diabetes is a serious metabolic disease that affects roughly one in 10 Americans. Formerly known as adult-onset diabetes, it is a chronic condition affecting the way the body metabolizes glucose, a sugar that’s a key source of energy. This type of diabetes is frequently associated with obesity.

    For some patients, that means their body does not properly respond to insulin – it resists the effects of insulin, the hormone produced by the pancreas that opens the door for sugar to enter cells. In the later disease stages, when the pancreas is exhausted, patients don’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.

    In either case, sugar builds up in the bloodstream and, if left untreated, the effect impairs many major organs, sometimes to disabling or life-threatening degrees. A key risk factor for type 2 diabetes is being overweight, often a result of eating too much fat and sugar in combination with low physical activity.


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