What is Diabesity? Symptoms, Causes, and Solutions

An image of an obese man inserting a syringe of insulin into his belly.What is diabesity? Many people are asking this question these days. The word sounds vaguely familiar, but they can’t quite place it.

So, they ask themselves, what is diabesity? When their minds can’t come up with an answer, they ask SANE!

There, they will find many articles that answer their question, what is this disease, and what can be done about it? Perhaps that is how you found this article.

What is diabesity?

Whatever method you used to find this article, we’re glad you’re here. We can answer all your questions concerning what it is — and much more.

Let’s start with the most basic of answers for what is diabesity.

Diabesity is, strictly speaking, a medical term for the state of insulin resistance and/or pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction that underlies obesity and diabetes, leading to several serious health complications.  Diabesity is a public health crisis that could grow to be the biggest epidemic the world has ever faced. More than 100 million Americans have diabesity, half of them over the age of 65.

So, if you’ve been asking about…

Diabesity and the state of disease today:

You now know the definition, but that really doesn’t tell you much. You are probably still unclear as to exactly what it is. To obtain those answers means delving a little deeper into the question of what is diabesity.

As you’ll soon learn, obesity is the main risk factor for type 2 diabetes. (Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot properly use insulin.) The Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly 90% of those who are obese will develop type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives. Statistics also show roughly 90% of those with diabetes are also obese.

The link between obesity and type 2 diabetes is well known, but it is actually more than a mere link. Obesity and type 2 diabetes are interrelated. You’ll rarely find one without the other. Researchers did not discover this interrelationship until the early ‘90s, and it took a few years after that to convince the medical community that obesity really does have a major effect on one’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers discover why obesity increases the risk for type 2 diabetes

But it still took a decade or so after that for researchers to discover the reason obesity increases the risk for type 2 diabetes — and vice versa. Many studies show excess fat, especially in the abdominal area and around the waist, promotes insulin resistance causing elevated blood sugar levels. But this is not a one-way street. Studies also show diabetes increases the risk of obesity.

The reason diabetes increases the risk of obesity is also because of insulin. The hormone insulin unlocks the doors of cells so that they can absorb glucose. If you have type 2 diabetes, your cells are resistant to insulin and will not accept much or any glucose. This leaves both excess glucose and insulin circulating in your bloodstream. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone that promotes weight gain.

So, the real link or interrelationship between obesity and type 2 diabetes is that they are both symptoms of the same underlying cause, insulin resistance.

What is diabesity with respect to symptoms?

The symptoms of obesity + diabetes range from mild insulin resistance to full-blown type 2 diabetes. There are many symptoms within this range, and they can be so subtle in the beginning that you can easily overlook them. Below are the most common symptoms of diabesity.

  • Excess belly fat
  • Hunger after meals
  • Intense sugar/carb cravings
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Vision problems, ie, blurry vision
  • Increased appetite
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sexual dysfunction (Erectile dysfunction for men, diminished sexual desire for women.)
  • Tingling hands and/or feet
  • Headaches
  • Trembling
  • Insomnia or other sleep issues

Any of these symptoms by themselves do not necessarily indicate diabesity. However, if you have several of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as possible for an evaluation.

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Causes/risk factors

Though researchers do not know why some people are more susceptible to diabesity than others, they have discovered a few factors that increase your risk of developing this disease. Here are the most common causes/risk factors for diabesity.


As previously mentioned, obesity is the number one risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Many studies prove there is a relationship between weight gain and type 2 diabetes. (The more weight you gain, the higher your risk of diabetes.) Studies have also shown that losing just 5% of your body weight significantly reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Poor-quality diet

A poor-quality diet, most experts agree, is the biggest contributor to diabesity. The convenience of heavily processed packaged foods, fast foods, and processed carbs has made these foods the staple of most Americans’ diets. The result is surging blood sugar levels that cause the pancreas to release excessive amounts of insulin to clear glucose from the bloodstream. Insulin cannot handle a large amount of glucose at once, however, so it sends most of it straight to the fat cells. This causes obesity which leads to insulin resistance.

Sedentary lifestyle

Many Americans also lead sedentary lifestyles. Many of them either have desk jobs or they have jobs that enable them to sit most of the day. Then when they come home, they watch television or play on the computer. Research shows a lack of physical activity increases the risk of diabesity in two ways. The first is that it increases the risk of obesity. The second is that it promotes insulin resistance.

Family history

Your risk of developing diabesity increases if you have a close family member, such as a parent or a sibling, with this disease.


Your risk of developing diabesity increases with age. You are more likely to develop diabesity if you are age 45 or older. In fact, type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult-onset diabetes” because it was almost always an adult disease. However, with an increasing number of children and teens diagnosed with diabesity, it is no longer correct  to say this is an adult disease.


Though researchers do not know why certain ethnic groups are more likely to develop diabesity. These ethnic groups are Hispanic/Latino, African American, Asian American, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander.

Knowing what it helps you prevent or reverse it

Research shows how the Standard American Diet of heavily processed foods and refined sugars/carbs has spurred the diabesity epidemic. It is all about how quickly glucose is absorbed into your bloodstream.

Heavily processed foods and refined sugars/carbs contain no fiber. When you consume these foods, they are quickly digested and turned into glucose because there is no fiber to slow them down. The glucose is then rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream. If you eat a large number of refined carbs — such as a huge serving of pasta with garlic bread and a soda — they are converted into a large amount of glucose that hits your bloodstream all at once.

This causes your blood sugar levels to spike, causing your pancreas to release more insulin to clear the excess glucose from your bloodstream. If you eat large amounts of highly processed foods and refined carbs/sugars often, your pancreas is almost always releasing insulin into your system. After a while, your cells become resistant to insulin. Glucose then accumulates in your bloodstream, eventually leading to type 2 diabetes.

It is an entirely different story if your diet consists of foods high in water, fiber, and protein. These nutrients have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. Fiber and protein slow digestion, ensuring gradual glucose absorption. There won’t be any blood sugar spikes or surges. Your blood sugar levels will be stable, a factor that automatically reduces your risk of diabesity.

So…the best solution for diabesity is to switch to a diabesity diet.

What is a diabesity-specific diet?

The best diabesity diet simply reduces or removes foods that contribute to diabesity, replacing them with foods known to prevent it. These are foods that heal the hormones and metabolic system and stabilize blood sugar levels.

If you want to prevent or heal diabesity, here are some dietary guidelines to follow.

Foods to reduce or eliminate

An image of outdoor  greenery holding an opened bag of potato chips, with chips that have spilled out. Highly processed foods: These foods contain high amounts of added sugar, sodium, processed fats, preservatives, and other chemicals that dysregulate hormones and cause blood sugar spikes, leading to an elevated setpoint weight that increases the risk of diabesity. Examples of highly-processed foods include breakfast cereals, pastries, instant soups, packaged baked goods, and frozen meals.

Refined carbs: Because refined carbs do not contain fiber, they are converted into glucose quickly and then absorbed into the bloodstream. This causes a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of diabesity. Examples of processed carbs include white flour, white rice, pasta, and products made from them.

Refined sugar. Though sugar is a refined carb, it deserves its own category because it has a unique effect on blood sugar levels. Research shows refined sugar can cause a huge spike in blood sugar levels. This is especially true when sugar is added to a beverage because it goes straight into the bloodstream. Studies also show sugar elevates setpoint weight even when consumed within the bounds of a weight-controlled calorie limit. This means that foods with added sugar are one of the worst things you can eat for diabesity. Examples of refined sugars include table sugar (sucrose), high-fructose corn syrup, and agave nectar.

Grains: Though nutrition experts and government health officials say whole grains are a necessary part of a healthy diet, that is not true. Grains not only promote blood sugar surges, but they are also not as nutritious or satiating as non-starchy vegetables. Examples of grains include bread made from wheat flour (white or wheat bread), corn, oats, and cornmeal.

Foods to add to your diet

Whole Foods: Selecting foods as close to their natural states as possible ensures you’ll receive the nutrition — including vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fibers — your body needs to heal your hormones, stabilize blood sugar levels, and lower your setpoint weight. Examples of whole foods include fresh or frozen fruits or vegetables; unprocessed or minimally processed nuts and seeds; humanely raised, grass-fed meats.

Foods with Water, Fiber, and Protein: These foods have little to no effect on your blood sugar levels. They also heal your hormones, lower your setpoint weight, and reduce your risk of diabesity.

The best diabesity diet for you

The best diabesity diet is one that helps you reduce or eliminate foods that increase your risk for diabesity while offering foods that reduce your risk for this disease. It is a diet that is completely satisfying yet eliminates your cravings for sugar and processed carbs. It is a diet that doesn’t allow hunger or deprivation. The only diet that fits those qualifications is the setpoint diet.

The setpoint diet has been scientifically proven to lower setpoint weight, stabilize blood sugar levels, provide the nutrition your body needs to heal your hormones, and much more. The plan is easy to follow and easy to incorporate into your life. There is no point or calorie counting, and no complicated menus to remember.

All you need to remember are these three food groups, along with the daily serving amounts:

Non-starchy vegetables: 10+ servings per day
Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, or put 3-4 servings of (preferably) green non-starchy vegetables in a blender to make a green smoothie.

Nutrient-dense proteins: 3-5 servings per day, 30-55 grams per meal
Fill one-third of your plate with nutrient-dense proteins.

Whole-food fats: 3-6 servings per day.
Fill the remainder of your plate with whole-food fats.

Try to eat foods from each of these three groups at every main meal. These foods are clinically proven to work together to create positive metabolic changes. You can also enjoy up to 3 servings of low-fructose fruits per day.

Follow the setpoint diet, and you’re chances of developing diabesity are slim to none!

Next step: Learn more about what is diabesity and how to end this with SANE

Ready to finally break free from the yo-yo dieting rollercoaster by balancing your hormones and lowering your body’s setpoint weight?

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