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Does Insulin Affect losing weight

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by Ian From Orford, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Ian From Orford

    Ian From Orford Member

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    Hi

    I am a 26 year old Type 1 diabetic who has had the condition for 23 years. Recently, Ive been trying to lose a little bit of weight, just to tone up a little. Im not overweight as such, at 12 stone 8 lbs, but I have a classic beer gut and love handles.

    So, over the past month, I have given up beer totally(and am doing till March 1st), and eat healthily virtually all week( probably with the exception of Friday nights when I allow myself a treat with a takeaway, Chinese/ Indian etc)> Im also going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. However, despite all of this, I dont seem to be losing weight, and my "beer belly" and love handles havent moved an inch.

    Is this down to eating habits/and or insulin? I have read elsewhere that insulin stops you losing weight, and am wondering if there are others on this board who have succesfully lost weight through execrcise/healthy eating, and if you could offer any tips.

    Cheers

    Ian
  2. Debloubed

    Debloubed Active Member

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    Hi ya, insulin can totally hinder weight loss attempts, but obviously you have to be careful and not use too little in order to drop the pounds :? I'll PM you some top tips :D
  3. hanadr

    hanadr Well-Known Member

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    Yes insulin does cause weight gain in most people.
    It's one thing the medics don't usually tell you. They prefer to blame the patient for weight gain.
    One of the best ways to avoid its getting any worse, is to use the minimum amount and match your carbs to it, as advised by Dr. Bernstein. This might even help you lose a bit.
    Exercise alone doesn't really take weight off
    Hana
  4. CarbsRok

    CarbsRok Well-Known Member

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  5. fergus

    fergus Well-Known Member

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    Yes, insulin is the fat building hormone. It sounds as if you were too young at diagnosis to remember the effects of a chronic lack of endogenous insulin, but the body is incapable of building or maintaining fat stores in the absence of it. That's why type 1's like us tend to shed weight very quickly when our in-house insulin production fails, regardless of how much we eat.
    So, keeping insulin needs to a minimum, while keeping blood glucose at a safe level is vital if you are to lose weight safely. Calorie restriction is notoriously unsuccessful because it tends to restrict higher calorie fats, which require little or no insulin, and replace them with lower calorie carbohydrates, which require very much more. Self defeating.

    All the best,

    fergus
  6. noblehead

    noblehead Forum Regular

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    Agree with Fergus on keeping insulin to a minimum helps you to lose weight. Far from joining the debate about what to eat or diet to follow when trying to lose weight, there are far to many ego's on this forum as it is, what is important is to correctly match insulin to the carbs you consume.

    Many type 1's, including myself up until only a few month's back, don't match the two together correctly, therefore you were either running your blood sugars to high, or to low whereby you would end up eating more food than you originally intended. Learning to work out insulin to carb ratio's is the most helpful tool in weight reduction, most of us have a different ratio throughout the day, you may need 1 unit of insulin to match 10g of carbs in the morning, but on a evening you may need 1.5-2 units of insulin per 10g of carbs, all depends on the individual, my insulin needs are less on a morning than they are on a evening.

    I found before I knew about insulin to carb ratio's, I would eat my food with what I thought was the correct insulin, be quite full and content but 2 hours later go low, eat quick acting glucose and something carby, and curse myself for not giving the correct dose of insulin in the first place, thinking that I was not ready to eat again, but had to to stop the hypo. Now, I don't have as many hypo's, so I don't eat between meals much now! A small, but very effective way to cut back on the carbs/calories consumed.

    Therefore Ian, if this is the case with yourself, especially as you like to use the gym a lot, it may be worth you learning how to do this for yourself. Ask your DSN about any DAFNE courses in your area, on this course you will learn how to dose adjust insulin to match food, and also how to take into account exrcise when injecting insulin, there is some very useful information to be learned. So, as I've said and others have posted, too much insulin does cause weight gain, by cutting back slightly does improve weight lose.

    Feel free to pm me should you require any more info.

    Nigel
  7. Debloubed

    Debloubed Active Member

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    bad idea to match your carbs to the minimum amount!! Better to count your carbs, then match your insulin, you will find you are using less insulin that way, even if you choose not to low carb.....
  8. docarhamilton

    docarhamilton Member

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    Losing weight isn't a magical process, but a simple matter of arithmetic. If you consume more calories than your body is using, you gain weight and if you want to lose weight you have to consume less calories than you use.
    Insulin affects the way the body uses calories fron carohydrate, so yes it may cause problems if you want to lose weight. The problem is, how do you lose weight safely, while keeping your Diabetes under good control? Eat less and you increase the risk of going hypo. I know most Diabetics really hate the sensation of running with a low blood sugar, so the temptation is to get some extra carbs in whenever they feel this way. There goes your chance of losing weight!
    I know I'm going to excite a lot of controversy here, but what I've sometimes advised patients to do in the past is to reduce their Insulin dose - just a little - then reduce food intake to keep their blood sugar levels down to normal. As long as you're testing regularly and making sure the blood sugar levels don't rise, then you're OK. You may have to test more often for a few days, but you'll soon re-stabilise at a lower calorie intake. Eating less will then make you lose weight - QED!
  9. Debloubed

    Debloubed Active Member

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    that's not controversial advice, it's just a bit daft to reduce insulin first and THEN reduce carbs, you shouldn't be injecting more than you are eating anyway?! But not everyone has had the opportunity to go on a carb counting course so I wouldn't recommend anyone started reducing insulin from their recommended dose without assistance from their DN or GP.
  10. phoenix

    phoenix Forum Regular

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    agreed and if you then hypo as a result . It would be counterproductive as you may end up eating more empty carbs to treat the hypo, with the risk of overtreating and then having to take more insulin....vicious circle
  11. noblehead

    noblehead Forum Regular

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    Precisely Pheonix........... that is what I was saying in my reply! :)

    Nigel
  12. hanadr

    hanadr Well-Known Member

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    One of the biggest myths, which research has de-bunked many times, is "Calories in = Calories Out"
    that simply DOES NOT WORK. It matters more what you eat than how much.
    Also you need to match carbs to insulin pretty carefully. Loads of testing to be safe. If you reduce carbs First, you will hypo.
    Hana
  13. borderter

    borderter Active Member

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    Been on insulin for five weeks now and my weight is very slowly going down which bucks the trend but maybe the tablets for diabetes actually put on more weight than insulin itself.
  14. JohnFox

    JohnFox Member

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    There is only one mechanism by which the body accesses and uses stored
    fat as fuel, that is one called 'Ketosis'. This is completely natural and
    very healthy.

    There are only two fuels that the body can use, Glucose and Ketone Bodies.

    If you are using glucose as fuel, then you can stay the same weight, or
    you can add fat and go up in weight.

    If you are using ketone bodies as fuel, you can stay as you are, or you can
    loose fat and reduce your weight...

    Glucose and the resulting Insulin will always trump Ketone bodies...

    Good Luck,

    John Fox.
  15. fergus

    fergus Well-Known Member

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    Hi John,

    I think, strictly speaking, the body and brain will use a number of different fuels in the absence of glucose. Free fatty acid is one, and ketone bodies are a derivative of fatty acids, and also on glycerol. The brain tends to use ketone bodies (up to 70-80% of it's energy needs?) when glucose is absent because it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier whereas fatty acid molecules can't.
    You're right that the body will use glucose primarily when it's available. Unfortunately, that seems to have lead to the lazy assumption that glucose is the only source of fuel when the Institute of Medicine (the original source of the 130g carbohydrates per day for brain function) actually says it isn't.

    All the best,

    fergus

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