If your end goal is preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes, dropping excess pounds is simply not enough. Research published in the September 2014 edition of FASEB Journal has suggested that losing weight without changing one’s eating habits is useless for those attempting to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
“When someone is overweight and at risk for diabetes, the conventional wisdom is to say ‘lose weight,’”1 said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, “and to a degree that recommendation holds true. This report, however, shows that a calorie is not just a calorie as some would contend. Exactly what we eat and drink, and not just the number of calories, may be the most important factor in our health.”1
So, basically, if you have a choice between a 100-calorie snack pack and a medium-sized banana (also approx. 100 calories), one of them is nutritionally beneficial, while the other is just low-cal.
The study compared identical twins (one lean, the other not) and found that after eating the same fast-food meal, their circulating metabolites, including those related to Type 2 Diabetes, were at the same levels, despite the difference in weight. This would suggest that Type 2 Diabetes is largely influenced by genetics and/or the composition of gut microbiota.
What do these findings mean for those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes?
Eat for health. Avoid junk food and processed foods in general. Whether you are slim, overweight or obese, if you are at risk because of family history/genetics or because of lifestyle choices, it is possible to prevent diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
A great example of how a change in diet and lifestyle can avert or reverse diabetes is the research study conducted by Dr. Gabriel Cousens and detailed in the 2009 movie ‘Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days‘. Hopefully, there will be many more studies regarding the effect of lifestyle choices on one’s genetic expression, in the near future.
1 “What you eat, not just number of calories, is a significant factor in diabetes risk”. Science Daily, September 2, 2014. Web. February 13, 2016
Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days. Dir. Aiyana Elliott. Perf. Gabriel Cousens, Michael Beckwith, Fred Bisci, et al. 2009. Documentary