By Denise Reynolds RD for EmaxHealth.com
The single greatest risk factor for Type 2 diabetes is excess body weight. There are many options for losing weight – from self-help books to medical services – but which is best when one also needs to control blood sugar? Commercial weight loss programs, such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, are being studied in a clinical trial based out of UC San Diego School of Medicine to see how effective these are for those who are overweight plus have the co-morbidity of Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes affects the way the body is able to use glucose (sugar) for energy. Biologically, the body breaks down carbohydrates from food into glucose. This is released into the blood stream where insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps shuttle the glucose into the cells where it is used as fuel for metabolic process. For those with Type 2 diabetes, the insulin produced is not effective in getting the glucose to the cells where it needs to be, so the sugar continues to circulate in the blood. Over time, hyperglycemia (the state of having too high a level of blood sugar) damages body systems and leads to complications such as heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure.