Reversing Prediabetes in Thin Person

Reversing Prediabetes in Thin Person

Obese people with diabetes and prediabetes can normalize their sugars when they lose 5 to 10% of their body weight. However, reversing diabetes and prediabetes in a thin person can be much more difficult.

A thin person who has prediabetes or diabetes and concomitant insulin resistance might be due to the genetic makeup of the person which one can not change.

In addition, losing weight in a thin person is also not advisable. Thus, eating foods with low glycemic index while not restricting calories and maintaining weight is one of the best strategies to reverse prediabetes in a thin person.

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Do skinny people develop diabetes and prediabetes?

It’s a common misconception that only people who are overweight will have prediabetes or diabetes.

While it is true that obesity can increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes, it is only one component of the larger picture.

Diabetes can affect people of all shapes, sizes, and weights. Other factors, in addition to weight, can have a significant impact on your risk of developing the condition, including:

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Why Do Thin People Get Prediabetes?

The prevalence of prediabetes is high among the overweight population but skinny or normal-weight individuals can also be diagnosed with such conditions.

It can actually be very confusing, people wonder why despite normal body weight or regular exercise they still fall in the prediabetic range.

Body fat distribution and total body fat are thought to be the main culprit in most cases. Some skinny people tend to have more fat however others can have a normal total body fat but they might have a greater amount of fat in the abdominal region or around the liver and pancreas.

This fat causes a disturbance in metabolism and disrupts insulin effectiveness.

Another reason can be your genes. Research suggests that some people have a very strong genetic predisposition toward type 2 diabetes.

If one of your parents has diabetes your risk increases to 40 % and if both parents have diabetes, then the risk rises to 70%. [Ref]

An excessive amount of cholesterol in your body can also put you in the prediabetic range. Research suggests that a high prevalence of normal-weight individuals with metabolic abnormalities is found among the US population. [Ref]

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Being Thin with Prediabetes – A Dangerous Combination

Prediabetes in thin people is more dangerous as compared to overweight people.

This is mainly because most of the blood sugar control is attained by weight loss in overweight people however, underweight or normal-weight people have to try harder to achieve stable glucose levels.

Reversing Prediabetes in Thin Person:

Having prediabetes with a normal weight is one thing and reverting it to normal is another. A great amount of consistency is required in the latter.

As we have discussed the causes, the main among them is body fat distribution so, you can actually get rid of this condition if you opt for a healthy diet and do some other lifestyle amendments.

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1. Healthy Diet to reverse prediabetes in a thin person:

A diet high in processed foods, which contain added fats, calories, and sugar with no nutritional value and empty calories, is one risk factor for prediabetes.

A diet high in red meat also increases your risk. So, to treat your prediabetes you need to opt for a clean and healthy diet.

Adding plenty of these foods to your daily diet helps you with blood sugar control and the management of prediabetes.

a. High Fiber Foods:

Fiber-rich foods help to slow digestion and keep you full for longer. Fiber also has cholesterol-lowering properties so it helps you with excessive body fat too.

Some high-fiber foods include:

  • Whole wheat cereals such as steel-cut oats, stone-ground whole wheat bread, and quinoa
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fruits and vegetables

b. Lean Proteins:

Lean proteins contain less fat and more protein. Including lean proteins in your diet cuts the excessive saturated fat intake and ultimately reduces excess body fat.

Some lean proteins include:

  • Eggs
  • Skinless chicken and turkey
  • Fatty fish
  • Nuts

c. Low GI (glycemic index) Foods:

A food Glycemic index tells you how much food with raise your blood glucose levels. Low GI foods do not increase blood sugar to dangerous levels.

Including these in your daily diet leads to better control of glucose levels.

Low GI foods include:

  • Non-starchy vegetables, such as carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Leafy greens
  • Corn
  • Whole wheat pasta

d. Functional foods:

Functional foods are natural foods that have medicinal properties. Some of the functional foods that help to maintain blood glucose levels include:

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2.   Carbohydrate Choices

Even if you’re committed to eating healthy, special attention is still needed on carbohydrates. Firstly, the carb intake should be slightly less in prediabetic people. It can range from 200-225 g of daily carbs.

Processed and refined carbs should be avoided completely because these foods have no nutritional value and tend to increase blood sugar levels.

These foods also have a high glycemic index. That’s why whole grains should be used instead of refined grains.

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3.   Proper Sleep:

A proper 8-10 hours of sleep is recommended because lack of sleep increase stress which has a great impact on your body’s metabolism.

If you have sleep apnea, get early treatment because sleep apnea has been linked to insulin resistance.

4.   Quit Smoking:

Smoking can cause insulin resistance and it is also a risk factor for prediabetes, diabetes, and heart disease.

So, if you are a smoker you must try to stop smoking. Nicotine gums can be a helpful alternative.

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5.   Exercise:

Exercise is not required only if you are overweight. It is a part of a healthy lifestyle that leads to better mental and physical health.

Exercise has been known to maintain blood sugar levels. It also helps in balancing the metabolism and increasing insulin sensitivity.

Even if you are thin or skinny you can do the following exercises

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Can Thin People Use Medications for Prediabetes?

Although the best way is to manage prediabetes through lifestyle changes not everyone can keep up with those recommendations.

Some medications such as metformin (Glucophage), Semaglutide (Ozempic, Rybelsus), Liraglutide (Victoza, Saxenda), and other similar drugs can be used to treat prediabetes.

However, thin and lean people may further lose weight and feel weakness after starting these medications to improve insulin resistance.

Ask your healthcare provider for medications and their possible risks.


Prediabetes is an early condition that warns about the occurrence of type 2 diabetes. Thin people with prediabetes might not be able to reverse it by losing weight.

However, it can be managed by making some diet and lifestyle changes. With consistency in these changes, it is also possible to reverse prediabetes and diabetes.

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What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

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