Obesity And Type 2 Diabetes

| August 27, 2016

As I mentioned in my last blog post, a new study of identical twins – while showing no link between BMI and heart disease – confirms the long-held view that being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But the relationship between diabetes and body weight is more complex than that. Not all overweight or obese people get type 2 diabetes, and there are plenty of normal weight people who do.

More important than BMI, where type 2 diabetes is concerned, is the concept of metabolic health. Metabolism is the sum total of all the processes that go on in our bodies to keep us alive. A central aspect of metabolism is the way we process our food and convert it into energy. When things go wrong here, body-wide chronic disease starts to develop.

A study carried out among 3,257 Mexican Americans in Texas has confirmed that metabolic health is more important than body weight or BMI as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.1 Participants were regarded as metabolically unhealthy if they had two or more of the following indicators: high blood pressure, a high blood triglyceride level, a low HDL-cholesterol level, and insulin resistance (calculated from insulin and fasting glucose levels).

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes among participants broke down like this:

  • Normal weight and metabolically healthy – 12 per cent
  • Overweight/obese and metabolically healthy – 22 per cent
  • Normal weight and metabolically unhealthy – 36 per cent
  • Overweight/obese and metabolically unhealthy – 40 per cent

So, while being overweight or obese certainly increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, being metabolically unhealthy increases it a great deal more, even for people of normal weight. The message from this study, and from the one I reported on in my last blog post, is that the overwhelming emphasis put on weight loss as a means of avoiding heart disease and diabetes may be misplaced.

Don’t think that just because you’re thin, you must be OK. If you have a sedentary lifestyle and you eat a poor diet or rely on sugary snacks, the odds are still potentially stacking up against you, as I explained here.

In my next blog post, I shall be looking at a remarkable new technology that could offer a solution for type 1 diabetes.

Here’s to healthy living,

Martin Hum PhD DHD
for Real Diabetes Truth

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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


1. Wu S, Fisher-Hoch SP, Reninger B, Vatcheva K, McCormick JB. Metabolic health has greater impact on diabetes than simple overweight/obesity in Mexican Americans. J Diabetes Res. 2016; 2016:4094876.


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Category: Diabetes, Diabetes Risks

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