The heart skips a beat at the sight of yummy frozen treats submerged in your favorite strawberry sauce and topped with nuts, cheesy pizzas or a chilled can of soft drink. The mind relishes the food and the heart feels content but what is missed in this process is the extra fat that gets tucked away inside our cells. Diabetes is not new to us and remains as one of the prevailing problems of our century in terms of health. Its mostly type 2 diabetes that strikes us and people with diabetes cannot use insulin effectively, the hormone that helps the body convert blood sugar into energy. This failure to use insulin effectively called as insulin resistance increases blood sugar levels in the body which has the potential to invoke debilitating health consequences such as kidney problems, blindness, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
Obesity remains as a serious risk factor for type 2 diabetes. 1 of every three overweight/obese individuals suffer from diabetes. Dietitians, nutritionists and health experts have always recommended going for a healthy lifestyle change that includes eating a healthy diet and doing physical activity daily to keep diabetes under control but it is easier said than done, isn’t it? Statistics show that most people find it difficult to cope up with these demands and fail miserably. What we need are alternative therapies to control diabetes and obesity that can coexist with the current ways on highlighting the needs of a healthy diet and exercise routines. Diabetics who are interested in correcting your blood sugar levels with the proper meal plan or those in prediabetes stage who would love to correct their problem only with a change to their eating habits are always welcome to get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com.
Subcutaneous White Fat Versus Belly Fat
All obese people are not diabetics and almost 30% of them show no signs of insulin resistance nor do they develop type 2 diabetes. Subcutaneous white fat that represent 80% of fat tissues in mice and people is stored in the hips, arms and legs. Excess food consumption makes it difficult for the fat cells to store calories in subcutaneous white fat and excess fat spills into other organs such as the liver, pancreas and muscles that are not meant for such fat storage. It is usually seen that people with diabetes have more fat stored around their abdomen and researchers are now trying to find out ways in which subcutaneous white fat deposits can be expanded so that fat is not stored in the liver or abdomen.
Obesity also has the capacity to kickstart a low-grade inflammatory response which in turn has the potential to disrupt the metabolic functions of subcutaneous white fat tissue. The presence of an inflammatory response disturbs the subcutaneous tissue’s ability to respond to insulin thereby increasing the likeliness of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. So, the immune system seems to play a key role in the obesity and diabetes game play. But what is different in those obese individuals who remain unharmed by insulin resistance and diabetes?
When a team of researchers started on a project with the intention of understanding fat metabolism and helping people lose weight. they found a microRNA called as miR-30a (non-coding RNA that regulates gene expression) that could stimulate pathways important for fat metabolism. While they expected this RNA to be associated with staying lean it was in fact associated with a form of obesity in which the individuals maintained their insulin sensitivity.
Reduced miR-30a expression in fat tissues was associated with insulin resistance in obese mice and obese humans and overexpressing miR-30a expression in both obese mice and humans improved insulin sensitivity, reduced blood lipid levels and minimized fat accumulation in the liver. Also, increased mRNA expression reduced inflammation in subcutaneous white fat tissue. This shows that diabetes is not only linked to obesity but also opens the gates to other forms of their entry as well. Hence, disentangling obesity from insulin resistance or other problems such as heart diseases is possible. We also come to realize that obesity doesn’t mean that your next stop is at diabetes. What we need now is to find a way out become metabolically healthy by expanding the subcutaneous white fat deposits.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.