Diabesity is a new term referring to the insulin resistance and pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction underlying obesity and type 2 diabetes and the resulting health conditions. Thus, obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes and vice versa. Many articles and “experts” define diabesity as the combination or coexistence of obesity and diabetes. But you need not have full-blown diabetes to be diagnosed with diabesity. Rather, the symptoms of diabesity range from mild insulin resistance to full-blown type 2 diabetes.
Diabesity is a serious disease affecting hundreds of millions of people globally. Approximately 100 million Americans have diabesity, many of whom don’t know they have it either because they do not know the symptoms of diabesity, or the symptoms are so subtle they have not noticed them. Or, they may not have experienced any symptoms yet.
There are usually few symptoms in the beginning, but regardless of the type or severity of the symptoms of diabesity, they all involve the body’s inability to properly make or use insulin.
Obesity fits into this category because studies show that obesity is caused by and causes insulin resistance, which is why it is the main risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Being overweight and obese are more obvious symptoms of insulin resistance, but the same can’t be said for type 2 diabetes. In fact, one in four people who have diabetes is not aware they have it. And a whopping 86 million adults who have prediabetes also don’t know they have it. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)
Symptoms of diabesity
It is important, therefore, to catch the symptoms early so that you can take steps to treat and reverse this disease. Here are the most common symptoms of diabesity:
- Increased hunger
- Increased thirst
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
- Intense cravings for sugars and carbs
- Abdominal obesity
- Difficulty losing weight
- Tingling or numbness in the extremities
- Vision problems
- Gum disease
- Frequent urination
- Sexual dysfunction
- Trouble concentrating
If these symptoms aren’t recognized, and efforts at treating the cause of the disease are not taken, they can eventually contribute to many health problems.
Health complications of diabesity
Below are the most common health complications of diabesity:
- Neuropathy (nerve disease)
- Heart disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- High cholesterol/triglycerides
- Kidney disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Skin problems
- Sleep apnea
Treating symptoms of diabesity
Have you experienced any of the above symptoms or health complications of diabesity? Do you know anybody who has experienced these symptoms or health complications? If so, you probably know that doctors tend to treat the symptoms as they arise.
For instance, if their patient has high blood pressure, they may prescribe medication to bring their blood pressure down. If a patient has high cholesterol levels, the doctor may prescribe statin drugs to lower serum cholesterol. Oh, they may prescribe lifestyle modifications first, such as dietary changes. But many doctors quickly write prescriptions to treat the symptoms of diabesity and those of other diseases.
This is NOT a good thing. In fact, many of these medications make the problem worse. Many of them can cause serious side effects and can even harm other organs in your body. These risks might be worth taking if they treated and healed the cause of diabesity — but they don’t. The only thing these drugs do is put a band-aid on the problem. By treating the symptoms of diabesity and not the cause, these drugs allow the condition to worsen.
We need a new way to treat diabesity, one that treats the causes instead of just the symptoms. After all, addressing the causes of diabesity will heal the symptoms as well.
Treating the causes of diabesity
There are many ways to treat diabesity and its symptoms. We’ll start with one that addresses and heals the dietary causes of diabesity. We will then move on to solutions for some of the other causes.
Healing the causes and symptoms of diabesity by lowering setpoint weight
As previously mentioned, obesity is the number one risk factor for type 2 diabetes. However, both obesity and diabetes are symptoms of the body’s inability to properly use insulin. You can correct this problem by making nutritional choices that lower your setpoint weight.
By focusing on whole foods and reducing or eliminating processed foods and sugars, you can regulate your blood sugar levels, heal your hormones, and lower your setpoint weight. This will result in weight loss that reduces or eliminates the symptoms of diabesity and the disease itself.
The setpoint weight is the weight your body naturally maintains within a range of about 10 to 15 pounds. It’s the level of fat your body “thinks” you should have based on continual communication between your brain, digestive system, and hormones. These three systems work together to synchronize the activities that automatically maintain body fat at a specified level, known as setpoint weight.
How the setpoint weight works
The body uses many methods to keep you at your setpoint weight. For instance, if you eat too many calories, it can suppress your appetite, speed your metabolism, and cause you to “fidget” more so that you subconsciously use more energy to burn more calories. If you eat less food, it can do the opposite; ie, stimulate your appetite, slow your metabolism, and make you tired or lethargic so that you subconsciously use less energy to burn fewer calories. This system should ensure you always maintain a healthy weight.
The only way this system doesn’t work to maintain a healthy weight is if the hormones become dysregulated, the brain becomes inflamed, and/or the good and bad gut bacteria become imbalanced. This is a hormonal clog that prevents your hormones from sending and receiving correct signals.
When there is a hormonal clog, the body doesn’t know how much fat you need, so it gives you more fat just in case. Your setpoint weight rises, and so does your actual weight. This new weight is the one your body defends at all costs, and it doesn’t matter how little you eat or how much you exercise.
Why starvation dieting doesn’t work
One of the reasons diabesity has become an epidemic is that we have been given incorrect information about how the body maintains weight — and what it takes to lose weight long term. We’ve been following the calorie deficit theory of weight loss which says that if you starve your body, you’ll force it to lose weight.
This is incorrect. Your cells need a certain amount of nutrients to survive and thrive. The minute you go on a starvation diet, your body thinks you are actually starving. It does everything it can to prevent that from happening. It makes you hungry, weak, grouchy, cold…anything to make you eat more food. The brain and hormones also slow your metabolism, direct your body to send more calories to your fat stores, and prevent it from burning stored fat.
So, while you think you’re making progress on a starvation diet because you’ve lost 10 or 20 pounds in a couple of months, it’s an illusion. The starvation diet is hurting your body. In fact, research shows crash dieting slows the metabolism, which is one of the reasons you’ll start gaining weight back as soon as you go off the diet. And it does something even worse — it raises your setpoint weight even more.
The only thing starvation dieting is good for, then, is short-term weight loss. The only way to lose weight long-term is to lower your setpoint weight. When you lower your setpoint weight, your body will work to keep you thin just like it once worked to keep you heavy.
The most important way to lower setpoint weight is with diet and eccentric exercise. There are also a couple of other lifestyle tweaks that help lower setpoint weight. We’ll discuss each of these, starting with the setpoint diet.
Treating the cause and symptoms of diabesity with the setpoint diet
The setpoint diet contains foods clinically proven to lower setpoint weight, regulate blood sugar levels, trigger fat-burning hormones, and lower setpoint weight. There are no calories to count, no hunger, and no deprivation.
On the setpoint diet, you’ll simply select foods from the following four food groups.
Tip: Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, or use them to make delicious green smoothies.
3-5 servings per day, 30-55 grams per meal.
Tip: Fill one-third of your plate with nutrient-dense proteins. Try to make sure meats are sourced from humanely raised, grass-fed animals.
- Cottage Cheese
- Egg Whites
- Grass-Fed Beef
- Nonfat Greek Yogurt
3-6 servings per day
Tip: Fill the remainder of your plate with whole-food fats. Be sure to consume the whole food and not just their oils, as the whole food contains the nutrients that help lower setpoint weight.
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
0-3 servings per day
Tip: If you desire a tasty treat, feel free to enjoy an occasional serving of low-fructose fruits, most of which will come from the berry and citrus families.
- Goji Berries
Try to eat the first three food groups at every main meal, as these foods work together to clear your hormonal clog, thus healing the symptoms of diabesity.
Treating the cause and symptoms of diabesity with eccentric exercise
Staying physically active is important for your health and for your weight. However, a traditional prolonged exercise that causes your heartbeat to increase for an extended period of time can actually cause an elevated setpoint weight. That’s because this causes a release of cortisol, a hormone known to promote weight gain. Chronically high cortisol levels have been proven to lead to increased belly fat, the most dangerous kind.
Eccentric exercise does just the opposite. Eccentric exercise focuses on the lowering part of the resistance. If you are performing a dumbbell curl with your arms, for instance, the eccentric part of the movement is when you lower the dumbbell away from your chest. Research shows eccentric exercise increases resistance by up to 40%, and if you do it slowly, it activates deep muscle fibers that clear the hormonal clog and lower setpoint weight.
Though eccentric exercise is intense, it is also brief, meaning it has little effect on your cortisol levels. Because eccentric exercise activates all your muscle fibers, your muscles take longer to heal than they do with traditional exercise. This means you should only perform eccentric exercises for 10-20 minutes once per week (per body part).
You can make any exercise an eccentric one by lowering any resistance slowly for a count of 10 and then repeating it 6 times.
Treating the cause and symptoms of diabesity by reducing stress
Research shows stress contributes to weight gain. We live in a high-stress society, which is not helping the diabesity epidemic. Chronic stress leads to chronically elevated cortisol levels, eventually leading to weight gain.
To prevent this from happening, make a point to participate in a stress-reducing activity each day. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Formal seated meditation
- Walking meditation
- Mindfulness meditation
- Practicing deep breathing exercises
- Being in nature
- Visiting a park
- Watching a comedy movie
- Taking up a new hobby
- Going out with friends
Get more sleep
Just as we are in a highly stressed society, we are also a sleep-deprived one. Many studies link sleep deprivation to weight gain, though the explanations for this effect differ. For instance, some studies show sleep deprivation causes elevated cortisol levels that lead to weight gain. Other studies show sleep deprivation affects hormones that make us hungry or that make us crave starchy carbs.
Regardless of the exact reason, however, it is clear sleep deprivation elevates setpoint weight leading directly to diabesity. To treat diabesity and its symptoms, then, it is important that you get more shut-eye.
Here are a few suggestions to help you get more sleep.
- Go to bed at the same time every night, as this conditions the body to consistently be tired at that time.
- Avoid eating or drinking anything with caffeine a few hours before bedtime.
- Turn off your smartphone and computer an hour before bed. The light from these screens prevents your brain from producing melatonin, the sleep hormone.
- Keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Any light creeping into your bedroom can disrupt your brain’s production of melatonin.
- Avoid drinking anything three hours before bedtime, as resulting bathroom calls during the night can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
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