The Link Between Obesity and Diabetes

Have you heard the term “diabesity?” It was coined to describe the link between type 2 diabetes and obesity, a major risk factor in developing the disease. The expert physicians at Nova Physician Wellness Center in Fairfax, Virginia, can help you manage “diabesity” and help you understand the connection between what you eat and how you feel.

What is diabetes?

Did you know that about 415 million people worldwide suffered from diabetes in 2015, and the number is expected to grow to a whopping 642 million by 2040?

Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects the way your body uses blood sugar, which your cells and organs need to create energy and keep you alive. Insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas, helps regulate and use blood sugar from food for energy. If your pancreas is working correctly, the insulin it produces keeps your blood sugar levels from climbing too high or falling too low. 

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is a condition where you don’t make enough insulin. Type 2 is a condition where your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it efficiently. If type 2 diabetes continues unchecked, your body may stop making enough insulin.

Diabetes can cause you many problems.

Does food affect diabetes?

Of course. Food has the most influence on your blood sugar levels, although other factors affect blood sugar like medication, stress, exercise, illness, menstruation, and alcohol.

Molecularly simple foods, like carbohydrates, break down quickly into glucose and can remain in your bloodstream (rather than your organs and tissues) if there’s not enough insulin to transport it into cells. More complex foods, like proteins and fat, take longer to break down and don’t produce the glucose spikes that carbs do.

The link between obesity and diabetes

About 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are obese, although only a fraction of obese people develop the disease, according to research.  The link has been widely studied but is still poorly understood on a molecular level.

Three main hypotheses exist that attempt to explain the way obesity affects diabetes. 

Inflammation hypothesis

This asserts that an obese body is in a state of chronic inflammation, which creates pathological changes that affect insulin uptake.

Lipid overflow hypothesis

The lipid overflow hypothesis, aka “adipose tissue expandability hypotheses,” posits that obesity results when lipids (fat) are stored in out-of-the-ordinary places in the body, like the liver and pancreas, because adipose tissue, the normal fat storage place, has limited capacity. This lipid overflow can affect the amount of insulin your body produces.

Adipokine hypothesis

This posits that white adipose tissue (fat), which secretes hormones and other substances, dysfunctions in obese people, which affects insulin production.

The best foods for diabetes

Nutrient-rich foods that prevent blood sugar spikes and dips are the best foods for diabetics, and just about everyone else, to eat. 

If you suffer from obesity, you can receive personalized treatment by contacting Dr. Suri at Nova Physician Wellness Center. Call 703-424-9676, or click to book online.

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