“Diabesity” is a term to encompass the huge global burden of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Of course not everyone who has Type 2 Diabetes is obese and vice versa, but often the two go together and the way to help reduce the impact of both is similar.
If you have either of these conditions, you should always visit your GP before you embark on any lifestyle changes to discuss with them what your options are and to get a good baseline measurement of where you are, in terms of weight, BMI and blood sugar levels. A common blood test is the HbA1c, which gives a really good indication of what your baseline blood sugar levels are and is a great place to start to take charge of your own health and understand what these measurement tell you. Generally, if your HbA1c, is higher that 40 mmol/L you might have Diabetes. As the number increases, so does your inability to control your blood sugar.
It is all very well to be told to lose weight because you have Type-2 Diabetes or obesity, but in reality it is very hard. Not because of lack of will power or the inability to reduce your food consumption. Based on the Hormonal Theory of Energy Balance, your body has lost the ability to tell you when you are full, or allow the burning of body fat while you are still eating a high carbohydrate diet. Your hormones are basically in control of your fat-burning ability and this ability has been turned off. You may be able to lose weight, by severely restricting your food consumption, but you still cannot control your blood sugar effectively.
Insulin is the key metabolic hormone that controls your blood sugar, and being in a continuous state of high insulin in the blood, mainly due to a high-carbohydrate diet, increases your risk of weight gain, Type-2 Diabetes, chronic inflammation and the associated chronic diseases that affect so much of the population. This is known as the carbohydrate-insulin model of obesity.
This is where a low-carbohydrate diet comes in and is so effective for weight loss and controlling blood sugar. It literally tells your body to burn fat because you cannot burn sugar if you are not eating it. And by sugar, we mean most processed carbohydrates (white sugar, potatoes, flour, pasta, rice, biscuits, sugary drinks, crackers, or more or less anything in a packet, jar, tin, box etc) . Also there is a need to reduce fruit as it affects the blood sugar just that same way as white sugar does. If you reduce your carbohydrate levels enough and start to consume good fats (olive oil, butter, coconut oil) your body will start to burn your stored fat and your weight will reduce. Now, of course you also have to watch how much you are eating because fat has more calories than protein and carbs, but it is surprisingly easy because fat is so satisfying and makes you feel full for longer and hunger is reduced.
So, what causes us to become insulin-resistant in the first place? Highly processed food consumption, high sugar intake, alcohol abuse, chronic stress, lack of exercise, smoking, pollution, lack of sunlight and Vitamin D deficiency, to name just a few. As we age, we may also become more prone to visceral fat (fat around the tummy) which is a risk factor for chronic disease.
If you are insulin-resistant and have continuously high blood sugar you hugely increase your risk of Metabolic Disorders such as Heart disease, Neurological disorders such as Alzheimers and Dementia, Cancer and Stroke. The picture below indicates some of the problems associated with hyperinsulinaemia (continuously high insulin in the blood)
How low do you go ?
Food consumption guidelines in most countries of the World recommend a daily intake of 45-65 % of your diet as Carbohydrate. Could this be why there is so much Diabesity in the World? A moderately low carbohydrate diet would suggest under 100 grams of carbohydrate a day, a low carbohydrate diet under 50g, and a very low carbohydrate diet under 30g. A ketogenic diet would sit at around at 20g carbohydrates a day.
If you are wanting to try a Low Carb lifestyle, it is important to understand where your carbohydrates are coming from. A great way to do this is to have a play with an app such as <easydietdiary> that shows you exactly the nutrients to be found in food. It is quite eye opening .
The Carbohydrate-Insulin model of Obesityhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6082688/