Why is it difficult to lose weight with diabetes? Expert REVEALS

Updated on Sep 19, 2021 12:21 PM IST  |  86.6K
Why is it difficult to lose weight with diabetes? Expert REVEALS
Why is it difficult to lose weight with diabetes? Expert REVEALS

Most people with diabetes are given the advice to lose weight. A lot of articles also say the same, and many even mention that it is just a matter of a person’s willpower. However, that is not true. There are specific reasons why people with Type 2 diabetes find it difficult to lose weight. Read on to know some reasons for this difficulty.


Insulin resistance

When one has a meal containing carbohydrates, the blood sugar rises. Insulin is also secreted simultaneously by the pancreas to help get glucose out of the blood and into cells where it can be used to produce energy. In people with type 2 diabetes, however, this process doesn’t work well anymore. Their body has become resistant to the action of insulin, so the insulin is not as effective at moving the glucose out of the blood. That’s how one ends up with high blood sugar levels after eating carbohydrates.


To reduce this high blood glucose, the body makes more insulin. But insulin has one more function, which is to help store fat and to block the release of fat from fat storage. Therefore, instead of losing weight, people with diabetes just keep gaining weight. 


Hungry all the time


People with diabetes are often given varied advice about eating. “Control calories, reduce carbs, eat small meals” etc. In the process, they often stay hungry, resulting in cravings. Frequent small meals with carbohydrates create spikes in the blood sugar followed by drops- a kind of blood sugar roller-coaster that stimulates frequent hunger. A hungry person will eat more, resulting in weight gain.




Some Diabetes medications can induce weight gain


As we discussed earlier, insulin helps store fat, so taking insulin for the treatment of diabetes itself can cause some weight gain. Some diabetes oral medications work by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin, so these can cause weight gain too.


As we saw, people with type 2 diabetes are insulin resistant, meaning their tissues are not responding to insulin as they should. If the body does not respond to its own insulin, then the blood sugar will remain elevated, and the body will produce more insulin. Hence, the easiest solution is to decrease the cause of high blood sugar, which is carbohydrate consumption. One can take the advice of a nutritionist to plan a proper daily diet.

Thus, in conclusion, in people with diabetes, weight loss may be more difficult than in people without diabetes. Understanding the reasons and taking steps to control carbohydrate consumption can help manage weight.

About the author: Dr V Ashwin Karuppan, MBBS, M.D. (General Medicine), Consultant Internal Medicine & Diabetology, Tambaram Medical Centre, Chennai

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