Is it true that you gain weight when taking insulin? I have been watching what I eat, but I eneded up gaining four pounds?

Amy Campbell


It’s certainly possible to gain some weight after starting insulin. This can happen for several reasons. First, if your blood glucose levels were consistently high before going on insulin, you were losing calories in your urine by excreting extra glucose. Once you started on insulin, you stopped spilling glucose in your urine, and calories from glucose likely ended up being stored as fat. Also, insulin is a storage hormone, meaning that it moves glucose, protein and fat into cells to be used right away for fuel or stored for later use. Finally, some people experience low blood glucose levels when taking insulin. The treatment for low blood glucose is to eat or drink something that contains carbohydrate in order to bring glucose levels back up into a safe range. If “lows” happen often and/or if you end up “overtreating” those lows by eating or drinking too much carbohydrate, you can gain weight. While I’m sure you’re not happy about gaining weight, the good news is that it’s just a few pounds. You can take steps now to prevent further weight gain by controlling your food portions, choosing lower-calorie, lower-fat foods, and by making sure to be physically active most days of the week. If you need further guidance, consider meeting with a dietitian for an eating plan aimed at helping you lose or maintain your weight.

February 28, 2013 at 7:45 am

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