Can weight gain put you at risk of diabetes? An endocrinologist answers

Being overweight is often considered to be a factor when it comes to developing diabetes. But is that true? We’ll let a diabetes doctor answer.
estrogen and weight gain
Gaining weight might have consequences for your health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Grace Bains Updated: 13 Oct 2023, 16:56 pm IST
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There are no two ways about the fact that all of us come in different shapes and sizes. Someone might be skinny while others might be chubby. However, what matters is that we stay healthy.

Weight gain isn’t just a matter of aesthetics, really. The truth is that it often leads to other diseases—diabetes being one of them. The term ‘diabetes’ is a common one in India given that over 30 million have been diagnosed with it. However, not many know the dangers of the disease.

To begin with, it is a metabolic disease that occurs when the body is unable to process the blood glucose which is often called blood sugar. The body is unable to make or use the insulin produced by the pancreas. Glucose is important since it is an important source of energy for your cells. Hence, diabetes leads to fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, slow healing of wounds amongst a host of other problems. Moreover, it is a disease with no cure. You can only work towards its prevention and if you have it, then towards management.

An important part of prevention is controlling your weight
We talked to Dr. Sohail Durani, an associate consultant at the Department of Endocrinology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram to understand how weight gain can also put you at risk of developing diabetes.

“Basically, being overweight is a state of chronic and low-grade inflammation. Obesity or weight gain causes aggravated insulin resistance. Hence, weight gain can cause prediabetes which is a condition in which the blood sugar level is high. It is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes,” he explains. 

So, what exactly is the definition of “being overweight”?
Dr Durani says anyone who has a BMI of more than 25 is overweight and someone with a BMI of over 28 is obese.

If you find yourself fitting the definition of “overweight” or obese, then you need to make some lifestyle changes and reach a healthier weight to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

Here are two important changes he advises one should start with:

1. Physical activity
It has been proven time and again that working out on a regular basis promotes good health. In this case, it will make your health better by aiding weight loss. According to Dr Durani, your workout needs to include an aerobic activity that can prove to be extremely helpful and that too for at least 30 to 45 minutes daily.

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Aerobics is for everyone. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Cut down on carbs and refined sugar
If you’re looking at losing weight and getting healthy, you need to consider making changes to your diet. The first step to it is reducing your intake of carbohydrates. In addition, you should reduce the consumption of refined sugar. Both these, when taken in excess, contribute to unhealthy weight gain. Hence, reducing their portion will help you achieve a healthy weight as well as keep diseases such as diabetes away from you.

If you are overweight or obese, you might want to check your blood sugar level with a simple blood test. And if it is above the prescribed limit, it is best to contact a medical professional who can give the best advice on what you should be doing next, suggests Dr Durani.

Diabetes is a lifelong disease but you can definitely reduce your risk of it by maintaining a healthy weight.

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Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book. ...Read More

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