What is diabesity and why is it a leading cause of death


Obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes have reached epidemic proportions. Every person reading this article could be affected by these conditions, directly or indirectly. However, as ubiquitous as the “diabesityand its associated illnesses, few people understand how closely they are linked to each other.

It is now clear that these conditions not only share the same underlying causes and therefore require the same treatment, but are also 100% preventable and in many cases completely reversible.

What you need to know about diabetes

Because of these similarities, many professionals have adopted the term diabesity (diabetes + obesity) to describe them. Diabetes can be defined as a metabolic dysfunction ranging from mild blood sugar imbalances to full-blown type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a constellation of signs that includes:

  • Abdominal obesity (i.e. “spare tire” syndrome)
  • Dyslipidemia (low HDL, high LDL and high triglycerides)
  • high blood pressure
  • High blood sugar (fasting above 100 mg/dL, Hb1Ac above 5.5)
  • systemic inflammation
  • A tendency to form blood clots

Subjective symptoms of diabesity include (but are not limited to):

  • Sugar cravings, especially after meals
  • Eating sweets without relieving sugar cravings
  • Tiredness after meals
  • frequent urination
  • Increased thirst and appetite
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • slow stomach emptying
  • slow healing
  • sexual dysfunction
  • Visual problems
  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities

The term diabesity is misleading in one respect: it suggests that you have to be obese to experience the metabolic problems I just described. It’s not true. Thin people can suffer from the full spectrum of blood sugar imbalances, up to type 2 diabetes. The term sometimes used to refer to thin people but with insulin resistance, hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia is metabolic obesityā€¯. In short, their metabolisms behave as if they are obese even when they are not physically obese.

Diabetes is the leading cause of death in the United States.

It is almost impossible to overstate the seriousness and scale of the diabesity problem:

Over 93 million Americans are obese.
More than 30 million Americans have diabetes.
More than 84 million American adults have prediabetes, which is characterized by mildly elevated blood sugar.

Worldwide, diabetes affects 451 million adults and more than 2.1 billion people are overweight or obese.

Diabetes is the main cause of modern chronic diseases. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of:

  • heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Cancer
  • respiratory disorders
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Renal failure
  • Blindness
  • digestive disorders

Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases have now overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.

In “The Diabetes Solution” by Dr. Bernstein, Dr. Richard Bernstein states that diabetes is now the third leading cause of death. But death certificates do not list diabetes or high blood sugar as the underlying cause of heart attacks, strokes or life-threatening infections. They also fail to account for the role of obesity, insulin resistance, and inflammation in these conditions. If they did, it is entirely possible that the diabesity is not only the leading cause of diseasebut also the leading cause of death.

Children are also affected by the diabetes epidemic

Reports suggest that more than a third of people born in the United States alone in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime. What is particularly frightening about this statistic is that many of those who will develop diabetes will be children. Type 2 diabetes was once a disease of middle-aged and elderly people, but those days are long gone:

  • The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children increased by 30% between 2000 and 2009 and continues to rise.
  • The number of new cases of type 2 diabetes in children is expected to quadruple over the next few decades.

Every year children gain more weight. Childhood obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s:

  • Among American children between the ages of two and five, almost 14% are now obese.
  • From 6 to 11 years old, 18% of children are obese.
  • 20% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 are obese.

Most alarming is increase in obesity in children under five. Research shows obesity rates in young children have doubled since 1980. And it’s not because babies are eating more donuts and cheesy squiggles while reducing their physical activity.

Why we need to change our behaviors and lifestyles

From 1993 to 2017, the number of people with diabetes worldwide increased 12-fold, from 35 million to 450 million, and is expected to reach 690 million by 2045. This is about 18 times the number of people affected by HIV/AIDS around the world. In the United States, the incidence of diabetes is expected to rise to 60 million by 2060.

What explains such an explosion of new cases? One of the reasons is that the standard treatment for diabesity is not only ineffective, but also contributes to the problem.

Once developed, diabetes and obesity are characterized by insulin resistance, which in turn leads to carbohydrate intolerance. However, important organizations such as the American Diabetes Association have been recommending a low-fat, high-carb diet as a treatment for diabetes for decades.

It didn’t work in 1985, and it still doesn’t work today. Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Clearly, we need to move our thinking away from the conventional approach, challenge our current beliefs, and embrace less conventional options, such as:

  • Optimization of intestinal health
  • Adopt a paleo diet
  • Try High Intensity Intermittent Training (HIIT)


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