Redecue the Risk of Diabetes by Losing Weight

Copyright 2006 Adam Waxler

Is it possible to reduce the risks of diabetes through by losing weight? How about actually reversing the effects of diabetes? The answers to these questions may surprise you.

In March, 2005, the American Diabetes Association published the results of the comprehensive Diabetes Prevention Program. The Diabetes Prevention Program was conducted at over 25 medical centers nationwide and involved thousands of participants. The participants volunteered to have their habits monitored while they followed dietary and exercise recommendations. All participants had been diagnosed with ‘pre-diabetes’, a condition where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet in diabetic ranges. Untreated, more than half of those people diagnosed with pre-diabetes will develop full-blown type 2 diabetes within a decade.

For the purposes of the study, the participants were divided into two groups. Both groups were given the same dietary recommendations to follow. However, the second group added exercise of at least 30 minutes per day, five days per week.

The results of the Diabetes Prevention Program were impressive. The group that followed the diet recommendations and also included daily exercise in their routines cut their risk of developing diabetes by a whopping 58%.

However, even more significant, researchers of the Diabetes Prevention Program found something that they didn’t expect. The group that had added exercise to their daily routine actually had a substantial chance of reducing their blood sugar level to normal. This is something that many diabetes experts had previously thought was impossible.

Apparently, weight loss not only prevents a worsening of diabetes, it actually reverses the damage that obesity causes the insulin producing cells.

So, how much weight loss does it take to have an effect on the progression of diabetes? That depends a lot on your own body weight. Most experts agree that 5-7% of your body weight is considered “moderate weight loss”. Therefore, depending on your body weight, a loss of as little as 7-10 pounds can make a difference in the progression of diabetes.

Of course, the best diets for weight loss are those that recommend steady, gradual weight loss. This type of weight loss plan usually calls for losing 1-2 pounds per week and is much more effective at keeping the weight off than any fad diet that calls for fast weight loss. The American Diabetes Society recommendations for a healthy diet to prevent diabetes is a perfect diet for steady, gradual weight loss. The diet includes the following suggested allowances:

*Grain – 6-11 servings per day (Bread, Cereal, Rice, Pasta)
*Vegetables – 3-5 servings per day
*Fruits – 2-4 servings per day Milk – 2-3 servings per day
*Meat – 4-6 ounces per day (Meat, eggs, fish, dried beans, nuts and peanut butter)
*Fats, Sweets, Alcohol – Occasional treats

Does this diet look familiar?

It’s also the recommended diet for the Heart Healthy diet from the American Heart Association, and the recommendations from the USDA’s new MyPyramid.

The findings on weight loss are quite clear. Losing weight through moderate exercise and eating a balanced, healthy diet not only prevents the risk of diabetes, but most other major health problems.