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Does insulin make you put on weight?

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by Daver, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. Daver

    Daver Member

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    Good morning all,

    Just a very quick one - does insulin make you put on weight?

    I saw the news this morning and there was an "expert" who said it does yet one of the diabetic nurses told me it doesn't, however, if you don't take insulin you'd loose weight as your glucose levels rise etc etc - (needless to say, highly dangerous and not the right way to shed pounds) - off to hospital you go!

    Anyway - a bit of a contradiction from one expert to the next so if anyone can give a definitive explanation that'd be ace but not urgent, just curious.

    Many thanks

    Dave
  2. Dillinger

    Dillinger Well-Known Member

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    This is a very good, but long article on just this point.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magaz ... gewanted=1

    Insulin is the key hormone in the 'laying down' of fat; that is why pretreatment Type 1's (with less and less serum insulin) get thinner and thinner and pretreatment Type 2's (with more and more serum insulin) get fatter and fatter.

    Dillinger
  3. phoenix

    phoenix Forum Regular

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    The right amount of insulin is not going to make you gain weight. (Theres a lot I would argue against in the NY times article quoted above but perhaps not here.)
    Many people have lost weight before they went onto insulin, if they continue to eat as they did when the body was desparately trying to make enough energy to survive, then they will put on weight. If you eat enough for your activity levels and take the appropriate amount of insulin then you shoul be fine.

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/insuli ... in/DA00139
    Personally I put on all the weight I lost prior to diabetes very quickly but have remained about the same weight since then. I think that testing before and after meals makes me very aware of what I'm eating and helps curb any desire to overeat.
  4. HLW

    HLW Active Member

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    I've put on loads of weight since starting insulin, but I think it's because I'm eating to much like Phoenix said:
  5. the_anticarb

    the_anticarb Active Member

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    I think it does, but you've got to remember that if you're on an insulin regime there may be times when you eat more because you are on insulin ie to either treat or prevent a hypo, when if you weren't diabetic you wouldn't be eating at this time. Particularly snacking to prevent a hypo - many a time I am not hungry but eat because I am worried I will go hypo if I don't. Or, for example when taking exercise I might eat a bit more to tide me over, whereas a non diabetic may not need to do this. Then again maybe there are many times when the non diabetic stuffs his face when I wouldn't (although this kind of person more likely to be fat!)
    When I wanted to lose weight I cut out all starchy carbs in order to reduce my insulin intake, on a reduced carb and insulin regime lost 2 stone in 4 months but then I was eating less overall as well so it's difficult to say exactly what role the insulin played.
    But anecdotally I associate times of weight gain with use of a lot of insulin and times of weight loss with reduction in insulin. I wonder if there's diabetics out there who have lost weight whilst maintaining an existing insulin regime though - using a calorie based approach for example.
  6. Paul J

    Paul J Member

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    hi,
    Im still trying to stop loosing weight, my waist has gone from 38" to 33" since november and lost approx half a stone, BMI is about 24, Diagnosed in november treated as T1, now having o buy a new wardrobe,

    Paul
  7. Geoff

    Geoff Member

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    Dillinger is correct in his statement that “insulin is the key hormone in the laying down of fat” but what is also true is that insulin is an appetite stimulant, so the more you eat, the more insulin you need, and the greater your appetite for more food becomes, the more insulin you will take. That is the reason that you believe insulin makes you fat.

    The best way to control weight gain wile on insulin is to get your basal part of your M.D.I. regimen spot on, and then work out your bolus insulin (rapid insulin) to carb ratio, so that you will only use the minimum amount of insulin to cover the amount of carbs that you are eating.
  8. Daver

    Daver Member

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    Great info here people - thanks
  9. the_anticarb

    the_anticarb Active Member

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    Anecdotally since I have become insulin resistant during my pregnancy and now injecting 4-5 times as much as before I have piled on the weight not just where you'd expect (my bump!) but all over especially bottom, thighs. I know it is common for women to gain weight in pregnancy, and my doc told me that a non diabetic woman will also become insulin resistant (due to the pregnancy hormones) but their pancreas will cope with this by pumping out more insulin to compensate (when this doesn't happen efficiently they may get gestational diabetes)
    I have long wondered whether this is mother nature's way of enabling women to gain weight in pregnancy which in caveman times would have provided a survival advantage by ensuring the woman had enough energy stored for breastfeeding when around 500 extra cals per day are needed. Just an idea but supports the insulin = weight gain theory.

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