ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

No Proven Benefits for Diet and Exercise in Lowering Risk of Diabetes

Updated on November 20, 2016
janderson99 profile image

Dr John uses his Biochemistry & Physiology research background (PhD) to develop authoritative reviews of dieting, weight loss, obesity, food

In a surprising outcome, a major US study of more than 5,000 overweight and obese people over 11 years was terminated because it show a negative outcome.

The study was initiated because following preliminary results the researchers had assumed exercise and calorie controlled diets would help to lower blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. and so help lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease and strokes. The level of prediabetes in children is of special concern.

The researchers hoped to conclusively show that dieting and exercise could help over-weight people from crossing the threshold into diabetes and thereby help to protect people from heart disease.

However, the researcher were quick to stress that dieting and exercise had been shown to have many other benefits if they did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stoke in people with diabetes.

Other recent research has highlighted the link between Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, with many people calling Alzheimer's - Type 3 Diabetes.

This article discusses the study results, which have yet to be published and the implications of the negative outcome.

Losing weight can help some over weight people to stop progressing to Type 2 Diabetes
Losing weight can help some over weight people to stop progressing to Type 2 Diabetes | Source

The Diabetes Epidemic linked to Excessive Weight and Obesity

It is estimated that more than 25 million people in America have Type 2 diabetes. Most of these people are obese or clearly overweight. Studies have shown that people with diabetes have twice to three greater risk of developing heart disease and other diseases such as:

Skin-Related Diseases - affect about 33% of people with diabetes (1 and 2)

High Blood Pressure - About 65% of adults with diabetes have hypertension which increases the risk of heart attack.

Stroke - The risk of stroke is increased four fold, with elevated cholesterol levels a contributing factor.

Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD - This disease occurs when the arteries in the legs become restricted due to narrowing or blocked by fat. Symptoms of PAD may include tingling or numbness or in the calves and feet, sores that only heal very slowly, sores or infections on the feet, as well as pain in the leg muscles during walking, jogging or other exercises.

Coronary Artery Disease - This is likely to develop among diabetics with high levels of fat and/ or cholesterol in the blood stream, which build up and block the flow to blood vessels supplying the heart muscles with oxygen.

Eye Damage - Diabetes can damage the eyes and cause damage to the retina due to restrictions in the blood vessels supplying the retina at the back of the eyes. Diabetics have a 40% higher risk of developing glaucoma, and 60% higher risk of developing cataracts.

Other Diseases are Ketoacidosis which causes a lack of insulin or an inability to use insulin, kidney failure and damage to the nerves.

For more details see information provided by the American Diabetes Association.

Why Doesn't Dieting and Exercise in Overweight and Obese People Reduce the Rates of Heart Disease

The study randomly assigned 5,145 obese or overweight people suffering from Type 2 diabetes to two groups:

  • One group undertook a strict diet and exercise regimen. The diet involved calorie restrictions to about 1,200 -1,500 calories a day depending on the subjects initial weight. The exercise program was moderate exercise for about 3 hours.
  • The other group were given session of general health information about Diabetes.

After eleven years the average weight loss for the group on the exercise and diet program lost about 5 % of their body weight and keep it off for the duration of the study. However this was not enough to reduce cardiovascular risk factors. The data showed that the two groups had virtually identical rates of strokes, heart attacks and cardiovascular related deaths. The benefits of the small but significant weight loss and the benefits of regular exercise could not be proven.

The reason for the negative outcome may be because the amount of weight loss was insufficient. The other general finding was that the dieters used fewer medications on average, than the control group. It appears that drug treatments including, blood pressure medications and statins to reduce blood cholesterol are so powerful that they masked the modest effects of exercising, dieting and weight loss on cardiovascular risk.

One positive aspect to the study was that people with diabetes may have a choice. Either to use diet and exercise to reduce the risks or to take drugs over long periods of time and to suffer the side effects of these drugs.

It remains to be seen whether higher rates of weight loss are more effective in controlling Type 2 Diabetes of reducing the risks of heart disease and stroke.

Share with Friends

© 2012 Dr. John Anderson


Submit a Comment

  • janderson99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Dr. John Anderson 

    6 years ago from Australia on Planet Water

    thanks for your comments

  • Angela Blair profile image

    Angela Blair 

    6 years ago from Central Texas

    Very interesting Hub -- and particularly to me as I am a Type II Diabetic and have been for some years. I am, however, not overweight, control my diabetes with diet, exercise and herbals. I've always had fear of the medications given for diabetes as it's my understanding they are tremendously hard on the kidneys -- thus my taking herbals. I've had several diabetic lady friends over the years who were obese and on diabetic medication. Sadly, they've passed away and I attribute their deaths to their obesity although I'm sure the medications played a part. It's very difficult for the morbidly obese to exercise. None of my friends made much attempt to diet at all -- even when heart problems became evident and their doctors said weight was a huge problem. I, personally, believe there's lots of information pertaining to Type II Diabetes yet to be discovered but in the interim -- it appears the morbidly obese are unable to deal with the disease and it's side effects as well as those of a more normal body size. Excellent Hub and thanks so much for the information. Best/Sis


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)