One of the symptoms of having diabetes is sudden and unexplained weight loss. This happens because your body is unable to process the sugar in your blood stream. As a result your body burns its fat cells for energy.
Once you begin to treat your diabetes with insulin you will find that you will gain weight very quickly as your body begins the process of normalizing and using the food you eat for nutrients. With this in mind we can answer does insulin make you gain weight with a categoric yes.
How does insulin make you gain weight?
Insulin is a hormone created in the pancreas. It allows sugar to be absorbed into the cells of the body to be used as fuel or energy. If your body does not produce enough insulin the sugar stays in your bloodstream and can lead to diabetes.
If this is the case you may have to inject insulin into your body. If you have shown typical symptoms of having untreated diabetes you may have lost a lot of weight as the body burns fat as an alternative energy source.
After taking insulin you should see an initial rebound in your weight. You will not see a continued increase in your weight unless you are eating too many calories. Weight management via diet and exercise is the cornerstone of any ongoing diabetes plan over the long term.
I knew a woman who stopped taking insulin…
I knew a young woman who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. After taking insulin for a little while, she was shocked to see herself gain so much weight so quickly. She asked her doctor, does insulin make you gain weight? Of course the answer was yes. This was enough for her to stop taking her medication in hope of losing the weight she had put back on. Of course this is a very silly and extremely dangerous idea to put into practise. There are means and ways to manage your weight while also managing your blood sugar levels.
As is the case in the above story, some people are terrified of taking insulin because of the short term effects of putting on some weight. Any medical doctor will tell you that the short term effects of putting on a few pounds is nowhere near as bad as continuing to let your diabetes go untreated. In short untreated diabetes can kill you, while short term weight gain can be managed with proper diet and exercise.
A quick statistic
A study published in a medical journal of diabetes recently focused on 100 people (both men and women) with type 2 diabetes who had started taking insulin to treat their condition. In the first year of taking insulin the surveyed people had gained an average of 2.5% of their body weight.
Tips to help you lose weight
See a nutritionist whose job it is to help you manage your diet and your weight to get you in optimal shape to manage your diabetes. I saw a nutritionist shortly after getting type 1 diabetes and the tips that they gave me about the best foods to eat was invaluable.
Eat less food than you did when your diabetes was undiagnosed. The chances are you won’t be as hungry as you were before your diabetes was treated with insulin. The food you now eat will be properly absorbed by your body. It should just be a matter of your body getting used to this.
More exercise. This is an obvious one. Additional exercise is a great way to burn off those extra calories, although it will not be as important as your diet. Keep in mind that rigorous exercise will lower your blood sugar levels making hypoglycemia a danger. Your diabetes councillor should give you detailed information about this but be aware.
Ask your doctor about different or alternative medications to insulin especially if you are struggling with weight gain. Your doctor will inform you if there are some alternative options available to you. Unfortunately if you have type 1 diabetes this will not be possible.
Insulin weight gain is a side effect that you should be made aware of. That does not mean insulin should be avoided. You may have to manage your weight levels through proper diet and exercise as everyone does. There maybe alternatives to insulin therapy if you are really struggling with weight gain however this will be a matter for your diabetes healthcare professional.
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