How Do Weight & BMI Impact Diabetes?

how does bmi impact diabetes

It is a fallacy that obesity causes diabetes although weight does play a role in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. There are two ways in which weight gain can be associated with diabetes – the disease can result in weight gain or contribute to the development of the disease.

The Role Weight Gain Plays

a guy with diabetes deciding if he needs to lose weight

Weight gain as a result of the condition is most commonly seen in type 1 diabetes.

This type of diabetes is caused by the destruction of beta cells in the pancreas which is necessary for insulin production which assists with the absorption of sugar or carbohydrates in the body.

The condition is permanent and cannot be cured although it can be controlled through the use of insulin injections.

Although weight gain can be the result of type 2 diabetes, it is more often than not the other way around. The higher the weight of a a genetically predisposed individual, the more likely it will be that they will develop diabetes.

How it Impacts Type 2 Diabetes

supplies for checking blood sugar

The development of type 2 diabetes as a result of weight gain can be related to 2 factors. The first and most significant is the number of carbohydrates that are consumed by a person.

The more carbohydrates that are eaten, the greater the amount of insulin that is needed to metabolize the sugar and maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

This increased insulin production may contribute to the body’s inability to absorb or use insulin to break down and absorb sugar.

In addition, obesity results in fat molecules being released into the bloodstream. These fat molecules reduce the effectiveness of insulin-sensitive cells which results in the lowered absorbency. No matter how much insulin the pancreas is able to produce, if the body is unable to absorb it and use it, sugar cannot be metabolized therefore resulting in high blood sugar levels.

What About Metabolism?

controlling diabetes

This inability to metabolize sugar may also result in low blood sugar which is just as dangerous to diabetics.

The sugar that has not has been metabolized will be stored as fat by the body if it cannot be used effectively as energy. Exercise can increase the body’s ability to metabolize sugar resulting in higher insulin production which contributes to controlling blood sugar levels.


Weight can also impact the symptoms and side effects of diabetes. Diabetics notoriously suffer from bad or low blood circulation which presents in tingling or a numb sensation in the extremities (hands and feet).

Weight gain also results in poor blood circulation as the area through which blood needs to be pumped increases meaning that the heart and cardiovascular system needs to work much harder in order to maintain optimal circulation.

Increased Appetite

Another symptom of diabetes is increased appetite as your body craves more sugar due to the inability to metabolize carbohydrates that are being consumed.

This almost insatiable hunger can contribute to weight gain but can be controlled by eating low GI (Glycemic Index) foods.

These foods contain fewer carbohydrates that are digested and metabolized by the body much slower, therefore, reducing food cravings.

a person has her blood pressure checked


High blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and blood vessel or artery disease may all develop as a result of diabetes. These are also high-risk factors for increased weight. An overweight diabetic, therefore, has an increased risk of developing these types of complications and the symptoms may be much more severe, extreme and could even be fatal.

It is very important to have blood pressure and other risk factors checked and monitored on a regular basis. Due to the risks that both diabetes and increased weight present, it is not recommended to perform any strenuous activities or exercise without the express permission of a doctor.

Weight Loss Can Help

Weight loss, on the other hand, can be very beneficial for diabetics and can help control blood sugar, and in some type 2 diabetes cases, even cure the disease. Weight loss will also help reduce the dangerous symptoms, side effects, and complications associated with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Weight loss can be achieved through diet and exercise which is normally recommended as part of a treatment plan. In fact, insulin is rarely prescribed when type 2 diabetes is first diagnosed to first attempt to control the disease through these lifestyle changes.

Finding the Right Diet for Diabetics

If you decide it’s time to lose weight, then you’ll need to find an option that works for people with diabetes. Luckily for you, there are plenty of diets out there with plans that are specifically designed for diabetics.

Here are just a few that come to mind:

a diabetic friendly snack

  • Nutrisystem D
  • Diet to Go
  • Medifast
  • BistroMD
  • Weight Watchers
  • Trim Down Club

Of course, there are probably other diets out there too, but these are just a few that might work for you.

It’s important to find an option that’s diabetic-friendly, though, for reasons we probably don’t need to mention here.

If I had to pick one of these diets to recommend as my top choice?

I’d go with Nutrisystem D, and here’s why.

  • It’s Pretty Cheap: That doesn’t mean the food isn’t it good, though! Get started with Nutrisystem D for about $300 per month!
  • Fast Weight Loss: Drop up to 13 pounds or more during your first month, and then about 1 to 2 pounds per week after that.
  • Plans Just for Diabetics: Their Nutrisystem D plan is made just for people with Diabetes, and it has been shown to be a safe and effective way to lose weight.
  • Easy to Follow: One of the best parts about Nutrisystem is how easy they making losing weight. They send you the food, you eat and lose weight. It really doesn’t get much easier than that!

Of course, you may decide that Nutrisystem doesn’t work for you, in which case you can go with a different diet on our list, or something else altogether.

It the important this is this: If you need to lose weight to help with your diabetes, then come up with a plan, stick with it, and stay strong!

Bottom Line:

Always consult your medical doctor if you have any questions about diabetes or your weight and BMII – they’re going to be your best and most trusted resource!


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