Why should I lose weight if I have type 2 diabetes?

You should lose weight if you have type 2 diabetes, because being overweight or obese increases your risk of insulin resistance. Having insulin resistance means your cells don't react as well to insulin.

Losing weight with type 2 diabetes follows the same principles as weight loss without diabetes: primarily limiting calories and increasing physical activity. In fact, weight loss can become even more important in type 2 diabetes as it allows for better control of blood sugar, and in some cases, decreased need for medications.

More than 85 percent of people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Losing even a little of the extra weight can help improve insulin sensitivity. (In people who have prediabetes—a state in which blood glucose is elevated but not high enough to be diabetes—losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight with diet and exercise helps reduce the risk of progressing to full-blown diabetes.) Ask your doctor for specific weight-loss programs that have helped other diabetes patients. "People know intuitively what they need to do to lose weight," says Melinda Maryniuk, RD, CDE, director of clinical education programs for the Joslin Center in Boston. "But they're often more successful if they have support from a program like Weight Watchers, or just having your doctor check in."

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.