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Type 2 Diabetes Prevention and Treatment with Weight Loss

By Dr. Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA

Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RD

Looking to learn more about Type 2 diabetes and its prevention through weight loss? We sat down with the Chair of Jenny Craig’s Science Advisory Board, Dr. Angela Fitch, to understand how Type 2 diabetes develops and when it is diagnosed, to understand how diet and activity affect the disease, and learn how it may be reversed.  

What causes Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes develops when the human pancreas, the organ in our body that makes insulin, is unable to make enough insulin to control the body's blood sugar. Typically, Type 2 diabetes develops as we get older because our pancreas as an organ ages and wears out. The pancreas is genetically determined to produce a certain amount of insulin in one's lifetime. There is also a genetic predisposition to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when the human body becomes resistant to the insulin that it is making. As a result, the pancreas has to make an even greater amount of insulin to keep the blood sugar under control. When this process goes awry the blood sugar rises and eventually the disease of Type 2 diabetes develops.


Did you know? Type 2 diabetes is developing in younger people at an increasingly alarming rate due to the increase in the disease of obesity.[1] 

When is Type 2 diabetes diagnosed?

Type 2 diabetes is generally diagnosed when the hemoglobin A1c is greater or equal to 6.5%. Hemoglobin A1c is a measurement of how much sugar is attached to the red blood cells and is an average of person’s blood sugar level over a period of three months.  Prediabetes is diagnosed when the hemoglobin A1c is greater or equal to 5.7%. This prediabetes condition signals an early process that if left unchecked will eventually develop into diabetes over time.[2] 


Waist circumference is a predictor of the development of diabetes as well.  A waist circumference of greater than 35 inches for women and greater than 40 inches for men increases the risk of diabetes by 22 times in men and 32 times in women.[3]


Did you know? There is an increasing focus on the diagnosis and treatment of prediabetes in order to attack the disease early and prevent diabetes in the first place.


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How does diet and activity affect Type 2 diabetes?

The more weight you carry and the more simple processed carbohydrates (sugar, juice, processed snacks, crackers, chips, sweets) that are consumed in the diet, the more insulin the body has to make in order to control the blood sugar. Physical activity also has been shown to reduce blood sugar and prevent insulin resistance.  Weight loss with a healthy diet, coupled with physical activity, has been shown to decrease the risk of the development of Type 2 diabetes.


Did you know? If one has prediabetes and loses 5% of their body weight and keeps this weight off over the course of their lifetime, they are able to reduce their risk of the development of diabetes by over 50%.[4]


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Can prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes be reversed?

Both prediabetes and diabetes can be put into remission by dietary changes and weight loss. For most people, a weight loss of greater than 15 to 20% has to be maintained for diabetes to be put into remission.5 The important thing to note is that both prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes are typically reversible by weight loss in people who are overweight or have obesity.  The older you are and the longer you have had diabetes the harder it is to put into remission.


Did you know? Some people with a healthy BMI weight have prediabetes. While direct causes are unclear, it’s been found that a sedentary lifestyle and abdominal obesity may correlate to the diagnosis and onset of Type 2 diabetes.[6]


Some people who have a normal weight have an excess amount of body fat. So it is important to talk to your medical provider about how you may be able to affect change in your prediabetes or diabetes diagnoses by changing your lifestyle and your weight.


Weight loss is challenging for many reasons. Most of which is because weight loss is not a normal function of the human body. Just like it is hard to hold one's breath for a prolonged period of time due to the human body’s need to breathe, it is hard for people to maintain weight loss given the body’s desire to protect its weight even when it's weight may not be at a healthy level.


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I’m looking to prevent or reverse Type 2 diabetes - what should I do now?

Jenny Craig offers multiple plans that provide balanced, healthy, nutritious meals. The all-new, one-stop, most effective weight loss plan, Max Up, can help you to stay on track in a world that is set up to promote the development of diabetes with diets that lack nutrition and lifestyles that lack activity.  Max Up not only has your nutrition covered but it gives you the benefit of a weekly coach to support the changes you are looking to make in living your best life. Having a buddy or a coach has also been shown to improve weight loss outcomes.[5] In addition, Max Up incorporates a personalized activity plan and quality of life assessment to help you evaluate your health, happiness and progress. The Max Up program is Jenny’s most effective and holistic program designed to deliver all the components that are needed for weight loss so you can help prevent diabetes or manage your diabetes by continued weight control.


Jenny Craig also offers a Classic Diabetes plan that is grounded in research demonstrating its effectiveness. The plan is designed to help you lose weight while improving your glycemic control and improving your overall health. Created to specifically reduce calorie and control carbohydrate intake, the Type 2 diabetes plan allows you to take the guesswork out of meal planning to get the right amount of macronutrients, and to enjoy a variety of foods that make weight loss and managing your Type 2 diabetes easier. Talk to your doctor about whether the Jenny Craig weight loss solutions would work for you. Plus, learn why Jenny Craig’s program is one of the best diets for Type 2 diabetes -book your free appointment today! 


Discover Max Up, Jenny Craig's one-stop, most effective weight loss solution now!



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Dr. Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA

By Dr. Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA

Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA specializes in the fastest-growing medical specialty in the country, weight management and obesity medicine, and is the Co-Director of Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center and faculty at the Harvard Medical School. Board-certified in obesity medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics, Dr. Fitch has been practicing for more than 20 years and is passionate about helping people of all ages reach their weight and wellness goals.  Dr. Fitch is the President-Elect of the Obesity Medicine Association.

Briana Rodriquez, RD

Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RD

Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.

Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)


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