Insulin & Weight Gain: Does Tighter Control Make You Loosen Your Belt?

By MAYS Latest Reply 2012-12-29 14:04:46 -0600
Started 2012-12-22 08:21:23 -0600

Insulin is the most potent and effective treatment for elevated blood glucose levels.

Everyone with Type-1 diabetes needs insulin to stay alive, and millions people diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes in the United States require insulin to control their blood glucose levels.

However, even insulin is not without its side effects.
One of the most common concerns expressed by people who use insulin is that it tends to cause weight gain. In fact, research from the United Kindgom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) showed that the average person with Type-2 diabetes gained about nine pounds in their first three years of insulin use.

Since achieving and maintaining a healthy weight are important for everyone with diabetes, let’s discuss why this happens and what can be done about it.

13 replies

Type1Lou 2012-12-23 13:26:57 -0600 Report

It's all a balancing act. Insulin is taken to maintain reasonable blood sugar levels and is generally tied to the food that is eaten as well as considering activity levels and body type. (More insulin is usually needed during illness or highly stressful times.) If more food is ingested than one needs to maintain body weight, and insulin is dosed according to the food eaten, then the outcome will be weight gain. Insulin permits the body to convert the food that we eat to usable energy with any excess stored as fat. I would say that it is not the insulin that causes the weight gain but the amount and type of food eaten. As diabetics, we need to determine how much food will allow us to maintain a proper body weight for our build and activity level. For me, that means no more than 120 grams of carbohydrate per day, but everyone is different. I am highly sensitive to insulin and use an insulin pump with my average daily dose of Novolog at around 18 units per day.

Armourer 2012-12-27 20:43:05 -0600 Report

18 units a day, wow, I have a a baseline of 22 units plus sliding scale, plus carb count for every meal. If I eat three meals a day the average is 80 units a day, plus 110 units of Lantus. Lucky you!

Type1Lou 2012-12-28 13:55:44 -0600 Report

That's what makes this disease so difficult…there is no "One-size fits all" solution. With the help of a good health team, and willingness on our part to record data and make the right food and exercise decisions, we can find what works well for us, individually. Armourer, I also have a small frame and am barely 5" 3" high…I get the sense that you have considerably more mass than I. All of these things are factors in addition to our individual sensitivity to insulin. Happy New Year to you! Hugs,

jigsaw 2012-12-22 18:13:25 -0600 Report

When I first started insulin, I started to gain weight very rapidly. I gained about 15 pounds or so in a matter of months ! As a result, I spoke with a dietician that discussed portion control along with protien. I lost all of the weight gain and have managed to keepit off. Once again, I'm my thin good looking self !!! (-; LOL

MAYS 2012-12-23 15:29:30 -0600 Report


jayabee52 2012-12-22 15:32:34 -0600 Report

I learned that experientially when I was on insulin. Fortunately I was able to discontinue its use.

jayabee52 2012-12-22 17:35:31 -0600 Report

on further reflection it was not the tighter control which put on the fat, it was the MISUSE of my insulin.

I didn't follow a very low carb meal plan. During that time in my life I was with my (late) wife "Jem" who was a "foodie". She loved nothing more than to eat foods which were loaded with high carbohydrates and as I didn't know as much about nutrition then as I do now, I followed her example. (after all didn't want to get "left out" of anything.) Being by myself sucks, but it does have an advantage for me in that I can follow a better meal plan for me.

My recent relationship with SuzyQ showed me that I was too easily diverted from the way I know was healthier for me to eat, even though she was Dx'd with diabetes not long after I took up residence there. My meal planning slipped during my sojourn there. (It wasn't her fault, but mine).