Man using glucometer to check blood sugar levels while wondering about blood sugar and weight loss

Blood sugar and weight loss: key points to know

Written on April 14, 2023 by Theresa Vuskovich, DMD. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Your blood sugar (blood glucose) levels can impact your ability to lose weight. The hormone insulin controls how blood sugar is metabolized and stored. If you have Type 2 diabetes (T2DM), your body becomes resistant to insulin, leading to potential weight gain. However, blood sugar levels can interfere with weight loss even if you don't have T2DM. This article explains the relationship between blood sugar and weight loss.

How is blood sugar measured?

Multiple tests are used to measure blood sugar. The following are common blood sugar tests [1]:

  • Hemoglobin A1C test (A1C or HbA1c) determines your average blood glucose level over the past two or three months. An A1C level below 5.7% indicates normal, a level between 5.7% and 6.4% indicates prediabetes, and a level above 6.5% indicates diabetes. When your A1C is between 5.7% and 6.4%, you are at a greater risk of developing T2DM.
  • Fasting blood sugar test measures your blood glucose level after fasting. Fasting blood sugar levels of 99 mg/dL or less are considered normal, whereas 126 mg/dL or higher are considered diabetic. People with prediabetes have a fasting blood sugar level of 100 to 125 mg/dL.
  • Glucose Tolerance Test: measures sugar levels in your blood before and after you consume a sugary beverage. To determine your fasting blood sugar level, you will have to fast overnight before the test. In the morning, you will drink the liquid and have your blood sugar level tested after 1 hour, 2 hours, and possibly 3 hours later. A blood sugar level of 140 mg/dL or lower at 2 hours indicates normal blood sugar, 140 to 199 mg/dL suggests prediabetes, and 200 mg/dL or higher signifies diabetes.
  • Random Blood Sugar Test checks your blood sugar at the time of the test. There is no need to fast before taking this test, so you can take it at any time of the day. Having a blood sugar level over 200 mg/dL indicates diabetes.

How is blood sugar regulated?

Insulin and glucagon are responsible for regulating your blood sugar [2]. Glucagon and insulin are endocrine hormones produced by the pancreas. As blood sugar rises, the pancreas secretes insulin. In response to insulin, muscle and fat cells absorb glucose from the blood, lowering blood sugar levels [2].

Insulin has the following functions [3]:

  • Prevents uptake and use of sugar
  • Prevents the breakdown of glycogen in liver cells
  • Boosts storage of glucose in the form of glycogen
  • Encourages fat storage
  • Inhibits the breakdown of fat
  • Increases protein synthesis
  • Prevents protein breakdown
  • Enhances DNA synthesis
  • Blocks gluconeogenesis (the production of sugars from non-carbohydrate sources)

In addition to insulin, incretins, hormones in the small intestine, regulate blood sugar. Incretins respond to increased blood sugar levels by decreasing gastric emptying, increasing fullness, and slowing nutrient absorption [3].

If you have T2DM, you have lower levels of incretin. Medications called GLP-1s increase the levels of incretin in your body [4]. As a result, you may feel satisfied with less food and lose weight [4].

High blood sugar increases insulin levels, resulting in fat storage. Having high blood sugar may prevent you from losing weight. As a result, blood sugar control is essential forweight management.

How do you manage your blood sugar levels and weight?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the key to managing your blood sugar levels and weight. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) provides the following tips for managing blood sugar for weight loss [5]:

  • Exercise at moderate intensity for 150 min/week (e.g., brisk walking)
  • Incorporate short periods of movement throughout your day
  • Eat a Mediterranean-style and/or low-carbohydrate diet
  • Consult a healthcare provider to create an individualized care plan

Everlywell Weight Loss Support

Weight Care+ program with Everlywell

Everlywell's Weight Care+ program can help you achieve your weight loss goals. The program involves ongoing virtual care visits with a healthcare provider. You will receive a complete medical history assessment and any appropriate lab testing needed during your first visit to determine whether weight loss medication is right for you. Your healthcare provider will be a board-certified nurse practitioner who can prescribe medications, order lab tests, and assess your symptoms to create a customized care plan.

During your second visit, your healthcare provider will evaluate your test results, discuss your health and weight goals, and design a plan tailored to your needs. You may also receive prescription weight loss medication as part of your care plan. However, medication is not guaranteed when you join the program. Your healthcare provider will prescribe weight loss medications based on their clinical judgment and your health history.

During regular check-ins with your provider, you'll discuss your weight loss progress, assess your medication tolerance, order follow-up lab tests or prescription refills as needed, and adjust your care plan accordingly.

For more information about weight management with Everlywell, learn more about our online weight loss telehealth option.

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  1. Diabetes tests. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published March 1, 2023. URL. Accessed April 14, 2023.
  2. What to Know About Insulin, Glucagon, and Regulation of Blood Glucose. URL. Accessed April 14, 2023.
  3. Regulation of blood glucose. URL. Accessed April 14, 2023.
  4. Nauck MA, Quast DR, Wefers J, Pfeiffer AFH. The evolving story of incretins (GIPandGLP‐1) in metabolic and cardiovascular disease: A pathophysiological update. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. 2021;23(S3):5-29. doi:10.1111/dom.14496. URL
  5. ElSayed NA, Aleppo G, Aroda VR, et al. 3. Prevention or delay of type 2 diabetes and associated comorbidities: Standards of care in diabetes-2023. Diabetes Care. 2023;46(Suppl 1):S41-S48. doi:10.2337/dc23-S003. URL
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