Did you know most people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight? Unfortunately, being overweight puts you at a higher risk of developing this condition. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body doesn't produce enough insulin and becomes resistant to it. But there's good news - even losing a little bit of weight can help lower your risk or delay the progression from prediabetes. So, if you're at high risk, it's not too late to make a positive change! Learn more about the importance of weight loss in Type 2 diabetes.

Although obesity is a sensitive subject, it’s also now one of the most talked about health issues of our time. In fact, India is experiencing a serious rise in obesity rates. Unfortunately, parallel to the rise in obesity in the country, cases of Type 2 diabetes are also on the rise.

The majority of people living with Type 2 diabetes are overweight, who also have a high risk of developing the condition if they don't already have it. However, losing weight can make a huge difference. This article takes you through the connection between Type 2 diabetes and weight loss, along with diet and exercise tips for shedding some kilos.

Can Type 2 Diabetes Cause Weight Gain?

While being overweight increases the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes, having this condition may further cause weight gain. Here are the two main reasons why this may be:

1. Taking insulin for Type 2 diabetes lowers blood sugar levels by letting sugar enter the cells, but overconsuming calories can cause your cells to be flooded with too much sugar. And when your cells don't need all that sugar, it gets stored as fat, leading to weight gain.

2. Insulin resistance, which is common in Type 2 diabetes, can lead to weight gain because excess blood sugar gets stored in fat cells. When your muscles and liver are full, any extra sugar goes straight to fat cells. Certain risk factors also play a role in obese people acquiring Type 2 diabetes, such as:

  • Age
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet
  • Urbanization
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Hypertension
  • Stress

Benefits of Weight Loss in Type 2 Diabetes

How weight loss helps diabetes patients is a vital question. If you are already overweight, the benefits of losing those extra kgs are many:

Effects on glycemic control:

Weight loss is the first step in the management of Type 2 diabetes as it improves glycemic control. Even a 5% reduction of body weight may result in better glycemic control.

Effects on cardiovascular events:

A reduction in cardiovascular risk is observed among individuals with Type 2 diabetes who manage to lose excess weight.

Effect on other comorbidities:

Diabetes and weight loss go hand in hand when dealing with their management. But losing weight also helps decrease other health issues associated with hyperglycemia. Elevated blood sugar levels often accompany microvascular complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy, all of which are also linked to obesity.

As we now understand how weight loss helps diabetes patients, let’s now explore different diabetes weight loss tips!

Manage Diabetes With These Weight Loss Diet Tips:

Having a well balanced diet is the cornerstone of any Type 2 diabetes weight loss nutrition plan to achieve stable blood glucose levels. A balanced plate should include:

  • Half of the plate: Non-starchy vegetables like carrots, beans, cabbage, etc
  • One fourth of the plate: Complex carbohydrates like wheat, oats, quinoa, etc.
  • One fourth of the plate: Lean protein like eggs, chicken, fish, paneer, dal, etc.

Limit the following foods for the management of diabetes and weight loss:

Type Of Food To Limit In A Type 2 Diabetes Diet Examples
Foods high in salt Salted chips, popcorn, nuts, dishes that use soya sauce (most Chinese dishes)
Sugary food Sweets, ice cream, cookies, Indian sweets (gulab jamun, pedhas) Fruits like banana, mango, pineapple Vegetables like potato and corn
Sugary drinks Soda, energy drinks, fruit-flavoured drinks
Process and packaged food Bacon, hot dogs, deli meat, spam,
Fatty foods Butter, palm oil, deep-fried food like french fries and nuggets, full-fat mayonnaise

Focus on including the following foods in Type 2 diabetes weight loss diets:

Types Of Food To Include in a Type 2 Diabetes Diet Examples
Low glycemic index foods Whole grains, fruits and legumes
Soluble fibres Apples, bananas, quinoa, oats, black beans
Good quality protein Plant-based: Kidney beans, lentils, edamame (young soybean)
Seafood based: Omega 3 fatty acid-rich fish like mackerel, sardines
Meat based: Low-fat chicken, beef, lamb

We’ve outlined a few diet plans below that you can follow, but make sure you consult with a healthcare professional before making any large dietary changes.

Low carbohydrate diet plan:

A low carb diet plan involves meals that are nutritionally balanced but have a lower amount of carbohydrates than ideally taken. A clear vegetable soup with scrambled eggs would be a perfect example of a low carb meal.

Plant-based diet plan:

This includes a lot of fruits and vegetables, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds, wholegrains and olive oil. An oats bean bowl is an ideal option that you can include in this plan.

Low calorie diet plan:

This is a calorie restricted diet that restricts your caloric intake to 1200 kcal but can be altered according to your requirements. Shakes and soups like this nutritionally balanced lemon and coriander soup can be consumed in this plan.

Some Exercises for Weight Loss For People with Diabetes

If you have Type 2 diabetes and weight loss is a goal you’d like to achieve, here are different kinds of exercises that you can incorporate into your routine:

Endurance activities:

Endurance activities are aerobic activities that often increase your breathing and heart rates. Some of them include brisk walking/jogging, dancing, swimming, etc. Make an effort to perform at least 150 minutes of such activities daily, and you’re sure to see amazing results.

Strength exercises:

Strength exercises help in improving muscle strength and may also help in managing diabetes in the long run. You can either start by lifting weights or by using resistance bands. You can start doing this two times a week and proceed from there.

Flexibility exercises:

Flexibility exercises, particularly activities like yoga, can play an important role in weight management and diabetes control. Stretching exercises enhance flexibility, maintain joint health, and help prevent muscle stiffness.


Taking a proactive role in your health through mindful eating and regular exercise is paramount in both preventing and managing Type 2 diabetes. For many individuals, these lifestyle modifications can significantly reduce symptoms or potentially place the condition into remission. As you commence your weight loss journey, the key is consistency. Coupled with routine check-ups and careful monitoring from your healthcare provider and a dietitian, a strong focus on healthy lifestyle changes will do more than just aid in weight loss; it will enhance your overall well-being in numerous, invaluable ways, including helping you manage Type 2 diabetes.