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Is Weight Loss in Diabetes Good or Bad? Find Out Here

Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, MD · Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Aug 15, 2022

    Is Weight Loss in Diabetes Good or Bad? Find Out Here

    Is weight loss in diabetes good or bad? For a lot of people, losing weight is a fitness goal, but for diabetics, this might not always be the case.

    Read on to learn more about weight loss in diabetes, its benefits, and when it can be considered a problem.

    Is weight loss in diabetes good or bad?

    For persons with diabetes who are also overweight, weight loss is a good thing. In fact, doctors usually recommend those with type 2 diabetes to maintain a healthy weight. Weight loss can have benefits such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as reduces the risk of diabetes-related complications1. Studies have also found that progressive weight loss in diabetics helps keep their blood sugar levels in check.

    The reason why weight loss is so important in diabetics, especially type 2 diabetics, is that being overweight or obese is a risk factor for acquiring diabetes in the first place.

    In a person who is overweight or obese, the added weight causes the body to require more insulin than the pancreas can produce. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels and allows the body to turn sugar into energy.

    Due to the added weight, the pancreas tries to compensate by producing more insulin. However, the pancreas usually can’t keep up, and being overworked causes insulin-producing cells to die off. This makes the pancreas produce even less insulin, so there won’t be enough to lower a person’s blood sugar to normal levels3.

    By losing just 5% of their current body weight, persons with type 2 diabetes reduce the load on their pancreas and improve the body’s response to insulin. Weight loss might not reverse diabetes, but it can help keep diabetes under control.

    When is weight loss in diabetes bad?

    On the other hand, there are some situations where weight loss in diabetes can be lead to problems. In particular, if a person loses a lot of weight suddenly and without explanation.

    Sudden weight loss can manifest in people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, it is a much more common symptom in people who have type 1 diabetes.

    In persons with type 1 diabetes, their body stops producing insulin altogether. This is a problem because our body needs insulin to process the sugar we get from food and convert it into energy. If the body can’t convert the sugar, it starts to burn fat and muscle very quickly4.

    As the body burns fat and muscle, type 1 diabetics might notice that they’re suddenly losing weight, even if they’re not trying to do so. This is usually a warning sign of diabetes, and is one of the more noticeable symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

    Losing weight because of type 1 diabetes is a serious problem because it puts a lot of strain on the body. So it is important to see a doctor as soon as you notice sudden and unexplained weight loss.

    It is important to know that sudden and unexplained weight loss is different from losing weight intentionally. Persons with type 1 diabetes can also gain a lot of health benefits from losing weight, so long as it is done gradually, and in the right way.

    Key Takeaways

    For diabetics, losing weight provides a lot of benefits. It helps them manage their condition better, and reduces the possibility of diabetes-related complications. In some cases, it can even reduce their dependence on maintenance medication altogether.

    However, if losing weight happens suddenly, and if it’s a significant amount, then it might not be a good thing. If this happens, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem, and it warrants a visit to your physician as soon as possible.

    Learn more about Diabetes Complications here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mia Dacumos, MD

    Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Aug 15, 2022

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