Weight loss has always been the mantra for treating type 2 diabetes and this treatment protocol has worked magically. But what about people in normal weight ranges? Firstly, are they victimized by diabetes and secondly, if the answer is yes, would we suggest the same weight loss treatment method for such people to achieve diabetes remission or control? Let’s unravel the mystery.
Obesity/overweight does increase the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) but 5-15% (the numbers are still climbing) of individuals with T2D are in the normal weight ranges. Researchers feel that rather than blaming obesity for the cause of T2D it is, in fact, because the individual is too heavy for his/her body irrespective of the BMI number. Every person has a ‘personal fat threshold’ above which the chances of developing T2D increases.
While there have been various contemplations about the cause of T2D in normal people, an ongoing research program called Reversal of Type 2 Diabetes upon Normalization of Energy Intake in the Non-obese (ReTUNE) trial is looking into whether weight loss in normal weight people can help with diabetes remission.
In this study, the normal-weight participants were given a low-calorie diet (800 calories/day) for two weeks after which they were supported with maintaining the weight. The same procedure was conducted thrice and the results were amazing:
The results undeniably show that excess fat has a debilitating role in controlling the occurrence and remission of diabetes. Fat accumulation around the liver prevents normal insulin functioning while in the pancreas, it stops insulin production by beta cells both of which pave way for T2D.
A JAMA study showed that slightly obese/overweight people with reasonable weight sizes (in turn, reasonable belly fat) had better diagnosis compared to normal weight individuals suffering from bigger waists and at a greater risk of death.
Besides body fat and waistline, another important factor triggering T2D is muscle mass. Muscles help in burning sugar and hence, higher the muscle mass lesser the quantity of sugar that’s converted to fat. Let’s get this straight—a BMI of 30 and above needs immediate action irrespective of waistline but when the BMI range is between 18.5 and 29.9, waist size plays a key role in elevating the risk of diabetes. Increased waist size means increased belly fat (visceral fat) and this in turn means increased risk of T2D.
The height of a person has an impact on waist size. The maximum waist size permissible for a person is the number got when we divide the height by 2. For example, the maximum waist size permitted for a 5 feet (60 inches) tall person is 30 inches. Generally, women should have a waist size below 32 inches and men 35 inches or below.
It is clearly understood that the cause behind T2D in normal weight people is beta-cell dysfunction or fat deposition around the liver and pancreas due to which insulin secretion becomes a problem. Some effective ways to control or put diabetes into remission in such individuals include:
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