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Fat Around the Belly & Diabetes

Fat Around the Belly & Diabetes
Woman holding her belly fat Photo Credit BugTiger/iStock/Getty Images

Diabetes is a medical condition that affects the endocrine system of the body. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 23.6 million people have diabetes in the U.S. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or your cells do not know how to distribute insulin properly. One high risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes is belly fat or fat in the midsection of your body. Losing weight can help tremendously with treatment and preventative care.

Diabetes Types

There are three main types of diabetes -- type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes, explains the American Diabetes Association. Type 1 is often called juvenile diabetes because it is sometimes diagnosed at a young age. With type 1, your body makes very little insulin, which causes sugar to rapidly accumulate in your bloodstream. You may not experience belly fat initially, but if you take insulin, you could gain weight -- especially in the abdominal area. Type 2 diabetics have trouble with their body not making enough insulin or your cells can actually ignore the insulin. Type 2 diabetics may often be overweight or have significant amounts of belly fat before diagnosis. Gestational diabetes occurs only during pregnancy when high amounts of sugar are in the bloodstream. The problem generally goes away after delivery.


Belly fat can be closely related to metabolic syndrome -- a condition that can indicate insulin resistance. Metabolic syndrome can put you at a high risk for developing pre-diabetes or diabetes as well as other serious medical conditions such as heart disease and hypertension, explains the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Insulin resistance is where your body’s cells become resistant to insulin, making it difficult to regulate blood sugar levels caused by carbohydrates, lipids and proteins found in the food that you eat.


If you have elevated blood sugar readings from lab tests, your doctor may diagnose you as being pre-diabetic or insulin-resistant. Fasting blood glucose tests should range between 70 and 120 mg, explains Endocrineweb. If you have a fasting blood glucose reading above 140 more than once, your doctor may diagnose you with diabetes. A test called a hemoglobin A1C helps your doctor detect how your blood sugar has measured and over a period of several weeks or months. Your physician may recommend that you lose weight to help control your blood sugar levels.


Treatment for diabetes depends on the type. Type 1 diabetes is often treated with insulin that is readily injected into the skin to help bring blood glucose levels down. Type 2 requires a diabetic diet in conjunction with weight loss and blood glucose-lowering medications such as glucophage.


If you have a significant amount of belly fat and you are overweight, it can be more difficult for your cells to metabolize sugars correctly, so losing the belly may help insulin work more effectively. Losing the belly weight and bringing your overall weight down will help reduce your risk for diabetic complications such as kidney problems, cardiovascular disease, blindness, amputation and hypertension.

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