What's Really Causing Diabetes (and how you can fix it)

Some studies have suggested that the increase of certain fat, namely visceral fat, may be one of the biggest contributing factors in relation to your risk for developing diabetes.

A new study published in JAMA (Journals of the American Medical Association) could show a direct association between higher visceral fat stores and an increased risk for developing diabetes, regardless of subcutaneous fat mass stores.

Let me explain…

Visceral Fat and Diabetes Risk

Visceral fat is a toxic fat found below your subcutaneous fat, and is often times wrapped around your vital organs.

Research has shown that visceral fat is very toxic and may release cytokines (pro-inflammatory molecules), which may increase inflammation and exacerbate your risk for chronic disease development.

Visceral fat has been linked to an increased risk for metabolic syndrome, heart disease, some cancers, pre-diabetes, and Type 2 Diabetes.

Diabetes, which is a disease that affects your insulin levels and your ability to shuttle sugar from your blood into your working muscles, has been shown to be increased in overweight, but especially in obese individuals.

This study pointed out that dysfunctional fat cells, mainly visceral fat, could increase insulin resistance, therefore increasing your chance for developing diabetes.

The authors investigated whether there was an association between different fat cell types, and risk for the development of pre-diabetes or Type 2 Diabetes.

They recruited 732 obese participants between the ages of 30 ad 65, who were all part of the 2000-2002 Dallas Heart Study, and were free from diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

They measured body composition, circulating adipokines and biomarkers of insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and inflammation.

Their data showed that out of the 732 people, 84 of them developed diabetes.

They showed that higher visceral fat baseline levels, as well as high fructosamine, fasting glucose levels, family history of diabetes, high systolic blood pressure, and weight gain over follow-up, all resulted in a higher risk for diabetes development.

They also noted that there was no association between diabetes and BMI, total body fat, and subcutaneous fat levels.

In a subgroup analysis, out of 512 individuals, 39.1 percent of diabetes cases were independently associated with many factors, including higher levels of visceral fat, insulin levels, and levels of fasting glucose.

From their data, they concluded that excess visceral fat and insulin resistance, and not subcutaneous fat mass, could be independent risk factors for the development of diabetes in obese adults.

Although this research is exciting, more research needs to be completed in order to verify their findings.

However, it does strengthen the argument regarding the toxicity of visceral fat and how it may contribute to chronic disease development.

Visceral Fat and Your Health

Visceral fat, according to many clinical studies, may be a toxic fat in your body, which could lead to the development of many different chronic diseases.

Many people that are overweight or obese, may have higher levels of visceral fat which could increase their risk for developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes.

In fact, according to this study, visceral fat and insulin resistance levels could be independent risk factors for diabetes, than just looking at fat mass alone.

A well-rounded diet that focuses on sprouted-grain breads, essential fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins in combination with a well-designed exercise program, could lead to weight loss, especially your visceral fat stores.



Neeland IJ, Turer ATG, Atyers CR, Powell-Wiley TM, Vega GL, Farzaneh-Far R, Grundy SM, Khera A, McGuire DK, de Lemos JA.  Dysfunctional Adiposity and the Risk of Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes in Obese Adults.  JAMA.  2012 Sep;308(11):1150-1159.  doi: 10.1001/2012.jama.11132.


About Jayson Hunter & Jaylab Pro

Jaylab Pro was founded by Registered Dietitian Jayson Hunter. Jayson has been recognized as one of America's foremost weight loss experts by America's Premier Experts™. He has also been featured in USA Today for this accomplishment. Jayson is also a best-selling author having co-authored multiple books in health & fitness and business growth. Jayson and the Jaylab Pro team are proud to create content that helps improve the lives of millions of people around the world. We hope you enjoy it just as much as others have.

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