Prediabetes and obesity are found together too often to be an accident. Ending obesity is often the key to keeping us from becoming diabetic. So why is it that diets are not turning around the epidemic of prediabetes?
There is an obvious link here. Of course, every obese person is not a type 2 diabetic, and many normal weight people are diabetic.
But obesity increases the risk of developing prediabetes. As obesity becomes a world-wide problem the link cannot be ignored.
In 2000 there were over 1.1 billion overweight individuals in the world, and 312 million were estimated to be obese.
The numbers have tripled in areas where the Western diet has recently replaced traditional local foods.
Places like the Middle East, Pacific Islands, India, Southeast Asia and China are seeing this happen. Diabetics are expected to increase from 84 million in 2000 to 228 million in 2030.
The connection between obesity and our Western diet cannot be denied. As fast food chains flooded Australia, type 2 diabetes cases shot up there.
This has happened four times faster among aborigines, whose eating habits have made the most drastic change.
Living on processed foods, plenty of sugar and fast food leads to high triglycerides even in people who are not overweight.
Heart and blood vessel problems as well as inflammatory syndromes have been linked to high triglycerides. It happens in mice who are fed this kind of diet.
It also happens in you. Your pancreas, especially the beta cells that keep your blood sugar levels normal, are thrown out of balance by high triglycerides and inflammation.
One result is fat deposits that lead to abdominal obesity and insulin resistance.
In most cases insulin resistance will become prediabetes even without adding genetic factors. The greater the obesity the faster insulin resistance will push you into type 2 diabetes.
When insulin resistant cells send out a message that they need glucose, your liver responds by releasing more. That only makes matters worse.
Beta cells are already under attack from an inflammatory diet. As the sick beta cells try to restore order by making more insulin, they become weaker and weaker.
Since the progression from prediabetes and obesity to full-blown type 2 diabetes is slow, there is time to do something about it. But do not waste your time doing what will not work.
When you think about prediabetes and obesity, is your first thought to go on a diet? Next you have to decide which one.
Every man-made diet has success stories, so how do you choose?
Maybe this fact will help you decide. Studies have been done for years on end to compare popular diets.
This includes all of them, from calorie counters to exchanges to Atkins, every named diet.
Following dieters for a full year, the studies found that all of the diets performed equally well. Not one of them was better than another for weight loss at the end of the year.
Every dieter succeeded or failed based on one thing - did they stay on the diet or quit?
Success came from picking a diet and sticking with it. Now, turn that statement around.
Diets failed because they ended. This means we have to change what we eat permanently to stop prediabetes and obesity.
I hate dieting. It implies that we can do it for a while and then go back to normal habits.
That is the reason diets do not work.
People who study prediabetes and obesity publish their conclusions in medical journals for the eyes of professionals.
These experts now recommend that doctors stop pushing their type 2 diabetic patients toward a normal BMI (fat to muscle ratio).
But getting to a normal BMI has led to remission in some famous people. Also, the reality show Biggest Loser has proved it works.
So why are they advising doctors not to set this goal for patients? Simply because they are looking at the end results.
Millions of diabetics take a doctor's advice and go on a diet. But studies revealed that most dieters lose 5-10% of their starting weight in the first six months and then level off.
On average dieters manage to keep about
half of their weight loss for another six months. Period.
The problem according to researchers is high expectations.
Your doctor says you need to get to your optimal BMI, so you try.
You start a low calorie or low carb diet, or maybe a portion controlled diet from the frozen foods section of the grocery store.
There seems no limit to the diet plans out there. Every one of them performs well in the first few months.
Then the dieter hits a plateau. On top of that, most type 2 diabetics gain weight from diabetic medications.
Why? Because out of control blood sugar causes weight loss no matter how much you eat.
But as your blood sugar is forced to return to normal by medications, weight gain occurs as a side effect.
Insulin is a life saver, but it also stimulates hunger and stores fat. That is what it was designed to do.
Losing weight becomes a real struggle. Those high weight loss expectations from early success lead to giving up.
So most of us quit. The average length of time for those millions of diets is six months to a year.
The best way to fight obesity is to forget about dieting. Do not fall into the trap of losing weight without changing old habits. Any weight you lose will not stay off.
Even people who go through the pain and expense of gastric surgery often gain back every pound they lose.
Fighting obesity is not about weight loss. It is about changing the things that made us obese.
When we understand this, the pounds we lose will be a way to gauge how we are changing, not a goal we must reach before going back to our old ways.
Your path out of prediabetes and obesity includes choosing to live on fresh whole foods, not processed meals and fast food fare.
It is going to take time, but every permanent change in the way you eat will make you healthier.
Are you a type 2 diabetic? It doesn't matter. These things will work for you too.
Insulin and medications won't prevent you from reaching the milestones you are aiming for. Only one thing will stop you, and that is giving up.
As a 62-year-old type 2 diabetic who is on insulin, I can tell you that you will get results if you try. Go to my weight loss page if you want to see how much weight I have lost.
That weight loss is why I know you can fight prediabetes and obesity.
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