Written by Mita Majumdar, M.Sc. | 
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Jun 27, 2018

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent and Reverse Diabesity

Reducing your risk of developing diabesity or even reversing diabesity is not something very difficult to accomplish. Intensive lifestyle changes aided by medication if required can do the trick. According to many clinical trials, lifestyle modification involving dietary changes, weight loss and increased physical activity can effectively decrease the progression from impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) to type-2 diabetes. In other words, to overcome diabesity you need to lose weight and keep it off, be physically active and modify your diet. Following are the important steps to take if you want to keep diabesity off:

Lose weight: Avoid gaining weight in the first place. But if you are overweight make a conscious effort to try and lose weight. Experts say that when obese people lose even small amounts of weight, there is a tremendous improvement in their blood sugar levels. This is because, when you lose weight, the first fat to be mobilized is the fat that is deposited in the liver and this to large extent is responsible for insulin resistance.

Modify your diet: A shift toward healthy diet can work wonders for your diabesity. For example:

  • Consume whole grain foods instead of refined or processed foods. Studies have shown that refined carbohydrates have a high glycemic load that may cause insulin resistance. A Nurses’ Health Study revealed that women with the highest dietary glycemic load were 37 percent more at risk for developing type-2 diabetes as compared to women with low dietary glycemic load. So, avoid white rice, white bread, baked potato and carbonated beverages.
  • Increase fiber intake. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and lowers glycemic index. For example, the soluble fiber in oats and beans slows the absorption of monosaccharides and lowers glycemic index. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans are rich in fiber. Increase your fiber intake to 30 to 50 g per day.
  • Consume small portions every 4 hours throughout the day. This will help you keep your insulin and glucose levels normal.
  • Have your last meal at least 2 to 3 hours before going to bed.
  • Go for detox diet once in a while. Detoxifying diets improve digestion and aid in weight loss.Include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green tea, garlic, artichokes, pomegranate and cilantro in your diet.
  • Use curcumin. It enhances blood glucose control and increases insulin sensitivity. Curcumin boosts levels of primary anti-oxidants and suppresses inflammation causing cytokines.

Exercise regularly: Weight training and aerobic exercises are a great way to boost your metabolism and burn calories. This will help improve blood glucose control and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 4 hours per week of vigorous aerobic exercises and resistance exercise. To maintain weight loss, you need to exercise at least 7 hours per week.

Reduce stress: Whenever you are under stress, the body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Longer the stress, the more cortisol is produced. Excess cortisol is associated with weight gain and diabetes. This is because too much cortisol makes you crave for snacks or something to munch as it suppresses the hormone that controls your appetite. These extra calories accumulate as fat in your belly. And then you know what happens! Apart from diabesity, cortisol is also associated with other conditions such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, dementia and depressed immunity.

Get a good night’s sleep: Sleep for at least 8 to 9 hours at night. If you are not sleeping enough or you are not getting quality sleep, then it is almost impossible to lose weight. People who don’t sleep well are more insulin resistant. In people who don’t sleep well the hormones cortisol and ghrelin that trigger hunger are elevated and the hormone leptin that controls your hunger is reduced. This results in unnecessary snacking and you pile up the extra calories and end up with abdominal obesity. Sleep deprivation also causes reduced production of anti-oxidant hormone melatonin. Melatonin eliminates free radicals in your body and also helps suppress cancer.

Take the right steps on your journey toward restored health. Lose weight, eat healthy food, exercise and sleep well. Avoid diabesity but if you are a victim, learn the right way to live and become healthy.


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  4. Salmeron J, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Wing AL, Willett WC. Dietary fiber, glycemic load, and risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in women. JAMA. 1997;277(6):472-477.
  5. Dietary curcumin significantly improves obesity-associated inflammation and diabetes in mouse models of diabesity. - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18403477)

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