What is the relationship between obesity and diabetes?

While diabetes already affects about 350 million people worldwide, according to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is considered a worldwide epidemic. According to data released by WHO - World Health Organization in November 2014, the forecast was that in 2015, around 700 million people in the world would be considered obese.

According to nutritionist Talita Pigato, there is. And this is because the conditions that lead to overweight are also responsible for causing type 2 diabetes, in addition to the body's own functioning being transformed when there is excess body fat. “Poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle are associated with the development of obesity. This causes insulin requirements to increase, as insulin receptors themselves decrease. In this way, we realize that obesity is one of the main risk factors for the development of diabetes ”, he explains.

Diabetes happens when the body cannot produce enough insulin to carry sugar into cells, causing hyperglycemia. Nutritionist Talita explains that type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's defense attacks the cells of the pancreas responsible for insulin production. Type 2 is acquired over time, due to the abuse of fast-absorbing carbohydrates (refined ones) and sweets. "In this type of diabetes, the person becomes resistant to insulin or still does not produce an adequate amount", he says.

What is obesity?

A chronic disease characterized by excess accumulation of body fat in an individual, obesity is diagnosed when the calculation of BMI - Body Mass Index, suggested by WHO - World Health Organization, shows a result equal to or greater than 30, indicating that the accumulation of body fat is far above the ideal.

In addition to the discomforts caused by being overweight, obesity also offers an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, respiratory diseases and depression. As a consequence, the life expectancy of people who suffer from obesity is also reduced compared to people who are adequately weighted. In fact the index of therapeutic failure (when the body does not respond to treatment), in obesity, is much higher than in cases of cancer. 

But why do we get fat and become obese?

The main factors related to weight gain are sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy or unhealthy eating habits, which include the consumption of foods rich in fats, sugars and refined products. But, contrary to what one might think, obesity is not only developed due to issues related to bad eating habits and physical inactivity. It can also be the result of situations that include genetic factors, such as hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, depression and some neurological problems.

As the factors that can lead to obesity are diverse, consulting an endocrinologist and, also, a nutritionist becomes indispensable. Both experts will be responsible for investigating and identifying the causes of weight gain and thus treating it correctly.

Relationship between diabetes and obesity

When we come to understand the way diabetes acts in the body, it becomes easier to understand the relationship with obesity. Unruly food with excess refined carbohydrates and physical inactivity cause the accumulation of fat and can also lead the body to become resistant to insulin.

The good news, according to nutritionist Talita, is that diabetes can often be controlled by “increasing physical activity and reducing weight through an adequate diet with the help of a nutritionist”, she stresses.

How to prevent diabetes and obesity

Talita explains that to keep diabetes away, it is recommended to adopt a balanced and well-distributed diet throughout the day, based on natural foods, with slow-absorbing carbohydrates and rich in fibers, lean proteins and good fats. “It is important to avoid refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, sugar, sweets, candies, soda, etc. If you feel like it, the secret is to consume these foods very sporadically ”, he comments.

She also points out that the practice of physical activity also helps to reduce the chances of developing these pathologies.

Food for those with diabetes

According to nutritionist Talita, the diet for those who already have diabetes is not much different from that used for prevention. “Of course, it is necessary to learn how to count carbohydrates to control blood glucose. A clinical nutritionist can help a lot at this time! And it is extremely recommended to reduce body weight and body fat, for those who are overweight ”, he recommends.


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