Diabesity: How Obesity and Diabetes are Linked?

Last updated on February 2nd, 2023

Diabesity is a new epidemic that is affecting millions of individuals. It is a health condition that involves obesity and diabetes. Diabesity can increase the risks of many health complications. Reversing diabesity is a need of the hour. Let’s understand what is diabesity, its causes, and how to reverse it in this blog. 


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder affecting 422 million people across the globe. It is becoming one of the major health concerns as it leads to 1.5 million deaths yearly. Diabetes is a root cause of various health complications including heart diseases, kidney problems, nerve damage, eye diseases, high blood pressure, etc. There is one more lethal factor that is associated with diabetes is Obesity. 

How diabetes is related to obesity?

Obesity contributes 80-85% towards the development of type 2 diabetes. A higher BMI in obese people can cause higher risks of type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus compared to those individuals who have a BMI of less than 22. 

There can be more than one reason why obesity triggers diabetes in people. Diabetes is a condition of high blood glucose in the bloodstream. When food breaks down after digestion, it gets converted into glucose. This glucose is used by cells to convert it into energy and the remaining is stored in the liver. When your body gets glucose, the pancreas secretes a hormone called “insulin” to transfer this glucose to the cells and take it out of the bloodstream. In diabetic conditions, the pancreas either produces very little to no insulin or the body cells resist using this glucose. Resulting in glucose remaining in the bloodstream and increasing blood sugar levels. 

There are many reasons that cause insulin resistance in the body. This insulin resistance elevates sugar levels. Some causes of insulin resistance are:

  • Increased weight, obesity, or excess fat around the belly 
  • Inactive or sedentary lifestyle 
  • Family history of diabetes
  • High carb diet 
  • Low HDL (good cholesterol) level
  • High triglycerides 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Unhealthy food
  • Disturbed routine for food and exercise
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Condition of prediabetes
  • History of stroke
  • Ethnicity or age
  • Sleep problems like sleep apnea
  • Certain medications like steroids or antipsychotic 
  • Mothers who delivered a baby over 9 pounds in weight 
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver conditions

These are some risk factors that increase insulin resistance that can develop into type 2 diabetes. As you have read, obesity is one of the causes of diabetes mellitus. 

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What is Diabesity?

This is a new term in the endocrinology world that is becoming an epidemic. It is the condition of the presence of diabetes and obesity both. These two health conditions affect a person’s health adversely. 

The combined negative health effects of obesity and diabetes mellitus are referred to as diabesity. 

As per the current scenario, today diabesity is increased 6 times more in the last 40 years. It is an asymptomatic condition where one can feel healthy but it impacts organs and overall well-being negatively. 

Also Read: Is Cranberry Juice Good For Diabetes?

Why does obesity cause diabetes?

Obese people are more prone to type 2 diabetes due to various reasons:

  1. When you are obese or overweight, you have excess abdominal fat. This excess abdominal fat affects insulin sensitivity. The fat cells work as pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body, thus the body refuses to act against insulin resistance. That is how having excess fat around your waistline can cause insulin resistance which leads to diabetes. 
  2. Your liver works as a storage house for excess glucose for future use. But when you are obese, fat accumulates in the liver. Thus, it cannot store the excess glucose from the bloodstream and it remains in the blood. This condition leads to diabetes. 
  3. Obesity or excess weight also affects your metabolism greatly. When body metabolism changes, it also causes fat metabolism changes. It triggers fat tissues to release fat molecules in the blood and disables the insulin-responsive cells. This increases insulin resistance and increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 
  4. One more reason for diabesity is the presence of the prediabetic condition. Excess weight results in prediabetes that eventually develops into type 2 diabetes if not taken care of. 

These are a few factors that cause diabesity. 

Also Read: Health Benefits of Blueberries

Reversing Diabesity

Diabesity is a combination of diabetes and obesity altogether. It has many health risks that majorly come with diabetes. To prevent these fatal health conditions, one needs to keep a check on weight. It is very important to shed a few kilograms for a better life. 

Diabetes Complications 

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Atherosclerosis
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol 
  • High Triglycerides
  • Neuropathy or Nerve Damage
  • Nephropathy or Kidney Diseases
  • Foot Damage 
  • Retinopathy 
  • Depression 
  • Dental Condition
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Poor or Slow Healing
  • Amputation
  • Loss of Hearing
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Dementia 
  • Alzheimer’s 
  • Skin Infection 

These are a few health complications that can lead to chronic conditions. So, to avoid these health problems, losing weight and managing diabesity can be the best way to live a healthy life.

The most effective way to reverse diabesity is weight loss. Obesity makes diabetes even worse and leads to diabesity so it is essential to shed a few kilograms. 

According to healthcare professionals, it is not necessary to go on a fad diet or to lose multiple kilograms. Losing 5-10% of your existing weight can bring significant changes in your diabesity. If you’re 100kg, losing 10kgs of your current weight will bring enormous health benefits including controlled sugar levels. 

This weight loss can be attained through a healthy diet and exercise regime. Weight loss is not an easy task but it is worth doing as it can save you from various life-threatening conditions like heart failure, kidney problems, and nerve damage.

Reducing weight can reduce insulin resistance, thus helping to manage sugar levels. Not just one-time weight loss helps but regular exercise and diet plans are also important to maintain these positive outcomes. 

According to the National Health Service, losing 5% of weight and including regular exercise in your routine can reduce 50% chances of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Obesity is an alarming situation as every year 2.8 million people die because of this condition. It also aggravates various health diseases and diabesity tops this list. 

Also Read: Is Grapefruit Safe for People with Diabetes?

Ways to reverse diabesity

Diet Modification

It is one of the important factors to reverse diabesity. People are living an unhealthy lifestyle by adding foods that deteriorate their health. You need to change your food habits first. That will help to increase your insulin sensitivity and will reduce your weight. A healthy diet should include:

  • Low-carb diet 
  • Less flour, bread, pancakes, etc.
  • Fruits & Vegetables 
  • Lean Protein 
  • Lean Meat 
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans 
  • Whole Grain 
  • Fiber-rich food
  • Low-fat food 

Get Active

Sedentary lifestyle not only increases your weight but also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. It eventually can lead to diabesity. So including an exercise regime with moderate to intense workouts can help you to reduce weight & sugar levels both. 

Add Supplements

There are many nutrients that are absent in our diet and essential to prevent diabesity. To serve this objective, add supplements to your diet. These supplements provide you with a wide range of nutrients like multivitamins, minerals, alpha lipoic acid, fish oil, biotin, glucomannan, chromium polynicotinate, green tea extract, and cinnamon. It gives you a variety of nutrients. 

Don’t Stress Out

You do not realize, but stress is one of the key factors that affect your sugar levels and insulin resistance. It is true that stress is unavoidable in today’s world but try to take out some time for your mental health. Practice meditation, relaxing techniques, and yoga to reduce the ill effects of stress. Calming your mind can bring a positive outcome to your physiological health as well as mental health. 

Go Organic

Generally, people tend to ignore this factor that also adds to diabesity. Environmental toxins like food grown with excess pesticides, processed food, plastic, etc. contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance both. So try to stay away from plastic and always have organic food with no toxins. 

Go for Diabesity Test

Checking fasting blood sugar is not the right indicator for diabesity. So always go for an insulin response test to identify the severity of insulin resistance and diabesity. 

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Effects of weight loss on diabesity

It is evident that losing even a few kilograms can improve your diabesity to multiple folds. Weight loss positively affects diabesity and brings down sugar levels. 

  • Weight loss reduces insulin resistance which allows cells to use body glucose properly. Thus, it removes extra sugar from the bloodstream and controls sugar spikes. 
  • Weight loss increases the insulin sensitivity of the cells which helps the pancreas to work better. It helps the pancreas from overwork and to secrete enough insulin to manage sugar levels. It helps to reduce diabesity. 
  • Weight loss decreases the fat from the liver. Accumulated fat in the liver blocks glucose storage in the liver. It leaves this excess glucose in the blood and causes blood sugar to rise.
  • When you lose weight, it removes fat cells to cause insulin resistance from the abdomen area especially. 
  • Losing weight also enables insulin-responsive cells to work properly and maintain sugar levels.
  • Weight loss improves fat metabolism. It stops fat molecules from being released in the blood which can cause insulin resistance. So when you shed some weight, it increases insulin sensitivity and finally prevents diabesity.   

These reasons explain how weight loss affects diabesity and helps to prevent it. 

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Diabesity is spreading its wings and affecting all age groups. The combined health complications of diabetes and obesity are termed diabesity. Obese people are more prone to get type 2 diabetes. Excess weight increases the chances of insulin resistance in the body which can develop into type 2 diabetes further. These health conditions put a lot of risk on health and can increase the risk of various complications like heart diseases, kidney diseases, eye problems, nerve damage, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. Although these health complications are life-threatening, they are preventable. By losing significant weight, one can reverse diabesity and can live a healthy life. To reduce insulin resistance one should follow a healthy diet and exercise routine. A healthy diet and physical activities help to reduce weight and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. 

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What are the health complications of diabesity?

Diabesity health complications include health complications of diabetes and obesity both. It includes heart disease, hypertension, stroke, neuropathy, retinopathy, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, kidney problems, joint pains, etc. That’s why it is so important to treat diabesity by modifying lifestyle, diet, and physical activities.

Is it possible to reverse diabesity?

Diabesity can be reversed by losing a significant amount of weight. According to the NHS, reducing 5-10% of your body weight can bring positive results to your health and can reduce insulin resistance. To reverse diabetes, work on various factors like reducing weight, having a healthy diet, exercising more, living a stress-free life, avoiding toxins, and including supplements in your daily routine. 


How do I know if I have diabesity?

Basic fasting blood sugar level tests do not determine the diabesity. To diagnose diabesity, you should go for an insulin response test in two states. One in fasting and the other one after 2 hours of drinking a sugary drink. It determines the insulin response of your body. It is essential for you to recognize your diabesity if you are overweight and are at risk of diabetes due to various reasons like obesity, family history, age, ethnicity, etc. 

What are the causes of diabesity?

Diabesity is the outcome of the combined causes of diabetes and obesity. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where either the pancreas stops producing insulin or produces very little. Also, the body cells resist the insulin to reach the cells in the form of energy and let it flow into the bloodstream. These conditions are the result of insulin resistance which eventually elevates sugar levels in the body. This insulin resistance is strongly supported and increased by obesity or excess weight. So excess weight and insulin resistance are the major causes of diabesity. 

what you mean by diabetes?

A combined health condition of diabetes and obesity is termed diabesity. It is a lifestyle-causing epidemic that takes a toll on health. This related condition increases the risk of various health complications including heart disease, kidney problems, and neuropathy. Diabesity is asymptomatic but a life-threatening condition so treating it with weight loss and lifestyle modification helps to lead a healthy life. Diabesity has significant diagnostic and therapeutic implications because it is connected by a variety of pathophysiological mechanisms centered on insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia.





https://drhyman.com/blog/2011/11/17/8-steps-to-reversing-diabesity/Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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