Blog/Does Glucose Affect Your Ability to Lose Weight?
Jennie Stanford, MD | 5/30/2024 | 3 min read

Does Glucose Affect Your Ability to Lose Weight?

The effect of glucose on weight loss and strategies to prevent insulin resistance

woman wearing yellow choosing between a health apple or a sugary donut

Losing weight and maintaining weight loss requires significant effort and long-term commitment, so it’s important to address and understand all factors that may affect weight loss success. 

If you’re looking to lose weight, it’s important to understand how elevated glucose (blood sugar) can affect your ability to lose weight and how maintaining normal glucose levels can lead to greater weight loss. We’ll dive into and help you understand how glucose interacts with your body on a cellular level so you can set yourself up for long-term weight loss success. 


What does glucose do in the body?

Glucose is a simple sugar and the primary energy source for organ functioning throughout the body. After you consume carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which then enters the bloodstream. The pancreas then releases insulin, which does two main things:

  • It directs the body on what to do with the glucose.

  • It facilitates glucose uptake into the liver, muscles and fat tissue, thus lowering glucose levels in the blood.

Glucose is stored in the liver and muscle as glycogen, and it is stored as fat within adipose (fat) tissue. Glycogen stores from the liver and muscles are broken down first when your body needs energy.

What is elevated blood glucose?

Hyperglycemia is the term that describes a high level of glucose in the blood. There are many reasons blood glucose may be high:

  • Not enough insulin production

  • Insulin resistance (the body is not able to use the insulin that is there)

  • Physiologic stress or illness

  • Certain medications like steroids

  • Consuming an excess of high-carbohydrate foods

The effect of glucose on your weight


Insulin resistance and weight gain

Elevated blood sugar over time leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance negatively impacts many hormones involved in appetite and metabolism regulation, often causing weight gain and making it harder to lose weight.

Insulin is a hormone that promotes energy storage in the forms of stored glucose (glycogen) and adipose tissue (fat). When insulin resistance occurs and the body’s response to the effects of insulin are blunted, the pancreas produces more and more insulin to try to lower blood glucose. When insulin levels are in excess, it promotes weight gain with the increased storage of glycogen and fat  

Hyperglycemia and metabolism

High levels of insulin cause dysregulations in neuroendocrine hormones, such as glucagon-like-peptide 1 (GLP-1), gastric insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), somatostatin, ghrelin and others; decreasing the calories burned in metabolism and increasing appetite and cravings for high-carbohydrate foods. Excess insulin levels in the blood also promotes adiposopathy (sick fat disease). Adiposopathy is the term for fat that has negative effects on the endocrine and immune systems, fueling the proinflammatory state of obesity and inhibiting weight loss.

Benefits of normalizing glucose levels to improve weight loss

Normalizing glucose levels helps improve insulin sensitivity and can have a huge impact on weight loss. Maintaining normal blood glucose can have these benefits:

  • Lower appetite and less cravings for sugary foods: Stable blood sugar levels without spikes and lows helps maintain fullness, prevent intense hunger, and lessen cravings for high-sugar foods.

  • Improved lipolysis (fat burning): Improved insulin sensitivity means that less excess glucose is stored as fat, and it allows the body to break down fat stores for energy.

  • Higher energy levels: Effective use of blood glucose improves overall energy levels and metabolic processes.

  • Better sleep: Having fewer sugars spikes and crashes promotes more restful sleep.

Lifestyle strategies to balance blood glucose levels

Many lifestyle strategies can help maintain normal glucose levels and improve weight loss.

1. Modify your diet

Prioritize a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet full of whole, real foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats to control glucose and improve insulin sensitivity. Minimize refined carbohydrates, added sugars, and processed foods, which cause spikes in blood glucose and promote inflammation.

2. Participate in regular physical activity.


Exercise helps improve insulin sensitivity and promotes glucose uptake by muscles. A blend of cardiovascular and strength training exercises offers full-body benefits.

3. Get adequate sleep 

Poor sleep leads to increased levels of ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone that impairs glucose metabolism and promotes insulin resistance. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.

4. Control stress

Chronic stress can lead to high blood glucose levels. Engage in stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises as part of a regular routine.

5. Monitor glucose levels

If you have risk factors for high blood sugar, like insulin resistance, personal or family history of diabetes, obesity or metabolic syndrome, tracking blood glucose levels can demonstrate how certain foods affect your glucose levels, helping you to modify your diet on a more personal level to promote weight loss.

Semaglutide to control glucose levels

When lifestyle modifications do not result in sufficient weight loss, you may qualify for medication that will lower blood glucose, improve insulin resistance and help you lose weight.

 GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide improve insulin sensitivity, regulate insulin release from the pancreas, and slow the rate of gastric emptying, promoting fullness, lower appetite and weight loss by up to 15% in some patients. By addressing the underlying effects of glucose and insulin on weight loss, semaglutide can help treat the problem and promote lasting weight loss success, with current studies showing weight loss maintenance continuing at four years and counting. 

Ready to make a lasting impact on your health?

If you’ve already tried making lifestyle changes like going to the gym and eating a balanced diet, but aren’t seeing any results, it could be time to consider medication. And no, taking weight loss medication is not cheating. For many, it was that extra push they needed to get their health back on track.

At Agile, we make it a priority to meet with our patients first, at no-cost, before ever prescribing a medication. Ready to make a change? Speak to one of Agile’s licensed physicians to see if you qualify for our semaglutide program. We offer trusted weight loss solutions from real doctors. At just $349/mo, your medication, visits and labs are all included in the subscription. No added costs or hidden fees. Ever!

See If You Qualify