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Does Taking Insulin Cause Weight Gain


Tips To Manage Your Weight

Does Insulin Treatment Cause Weight Gain?

Avoiding weight gain while taking insulin plays an important role in managing type 2 diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight can help you control blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of other health conditions. According to a study published in April 2013 in Diabetic Medicine, shedding pounds through healthy living can even help some people reverse type 2 diabetes.

The good news: Though managing your weight may seem difficult when youre taking insulin, there are actually many steps you can take to keep the pounds off. Were really in a much better place in terms of things we can do to help our patients avoid gaining weight and still control their blood glucose, says Michael Jensen, MD, an internist, endocrinologist, and obesity researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Try these strategies:

The Role Of Insulin In Weight Gain

Insulin is a hormone present in most biological life from insects to humans. Hormones are chemical messengers targeting specific cells.


In humans, insulins primary role is to regulate nutrient storage .

Consequently,it helps to store energy gained in times of abundance for times of foodscarcity. The storage hormone encourages fat accumulation and signals cells to takeup glucose from the bloodstream.

Hormones deliver their message by binding to a cells receptor. With this in mind, insulin functions in the body as a key opening the cell by matching its lock the receptor. Once insulin opens the door, glucose can enter the cell.

A rise in blood sugar levels is triggering insulin production and release from the pancreas.

Then, after the stomach and intestine have broken them down into smaller parts, different macronutrients have different effects on blood glucose and insulin levels.


Amino acidsfrom proteins have a minimal impact on blood sugar while elevating insulin. Onthe contrary, fatty acids have minimal effects on both blood glucose andinsulin.

Sugars from carbohydrates, which are chains of sugars, are significantly spiking blood glucose as well as insulin levels .

On the other hand, insufficient insulin can cause glucose to build up in the blood.

For example, thats the case when the immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas , which results in type 1 diabetes.

Why Might People With Diabetes Need Insulin Therapy

If you have type 2 diabetes this is the struggle. Cells become less sensitive to insulin some medications help increase cell sensitivity to insulin. Your ability to produce enough insulin lags some medications stimulate your pancreas to release more insulin. Other medications work to manage how efficiently or how quickly glucose from food gets into the bloodstream. Newer drugs increase glucose excretion in urine. Insulin therapy is straightforward.


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The Government Of Canada’s Role

Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada are committed to helping Canadians improve their health and well-being by promoting and supporting regular physical activity and healthy eating. They play a leadership role in chronic disease prevention and control across Canada and internationally.

The Government of Canada launched the Canadian Diabetes Strategy in 1999 in partnership with the Provinces and Territories, various national health organizations and interest groups, and Aboriginal communities across the country. The CDS sought to:

  • Increase public awareness about diabetes
  • Prevent diabetes where possible
  • Help Canadians living with diabetes better manage the disease and its complications.

In 2005, funding for the CDS was renewed at $18 million per year over 5 years. The renewed strategy focuses on:

  • Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes among high-risk populations
  • Early detection of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Management of Types 1 and 2 Diabetes and related complications.

The renewed strategy is targeted at populations who are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.


In addition, in 2007-08, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the federal government invested $33 million in diabetes-related research. The Government is also taking action on obesity, a key risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes, through supporting community-based healthy living programs and initiatives such as the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and the newly revised Food Guide and Physical Activity Guides.

How Does Insulin Resistance Cause Weight Gain

Why Does Insulin Make You Gain Weight?

I got a question the other day from one of my readers of this blog. And the question was how does insulin resistance cause weight gain?

That is a very good question and I will answer it by going back to the basics first.

Lets talk about how insulin resistance comes about first.

How does insulin resistance happen? You will recall from my article on high blood sugars in non-diabetics, I talked about how the food, in particular a carbohydrate meal, when broken down to glucose triggers the release of insulin into the blood stream, right?


The idea is to stop the absorbed glucose in the bloodstream from getting too high. The trigger point is 100mg/dl .

Once glucose levels exceed that trigger point, the beta cells in the pancreas will spring into action. The beta cells will release insulin to counter a further rise in blood sugar. That is the first phase insulin release. This happens following food digestion and glucose absorption from the digested food.

If the blood glucose level does not settle, a second wave of insulin is released by the pancreas to complete the job. The interval between the first and second wave insulin release is about 20 minutes.

In a healthy person whose metabolic pathway is well integrated and functioning well, this mechanism of blood sugar regulation works so well that within 90 minutes of commencing your meal, your blood sugar levels will be back to your pre-meal level of around 80mg/dl .

Thats where the problem lies with insulin resistance.

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What Can I Do About Insulin Resistance

There are a number of factors that can lead to insulin resistance including diet, genetics and weight.

The most exciting thing about insulin resistance is it can be delayed and/or prevented. Dietary changes, physical activity and even some medications can be powerful tools to help reduce both blood sugar and insulin levels.

Knowledge is power! Learn more about insulin resistance and its role in health with our Oregon Medical Weight Loss Department. Contact us as www.swfamilyphysicians.com or call 503.620.5556 to make an appointment.

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Whats The Point Of Using Insulin If It Just Makes Me Gain Weight Doesnt Weight Gain Make Blood Sugar Harder To Control

Yes, insulin may restore you to a more natural weight based on your lifestyle habits. And weight gain does tend to cause insulin resistance, which makes blood sugars harder to control. But you may have to look at the initial weight gain as a temporary investment in a lifetime of better health.


Remember, insulin is a very strong hormone it can overcome insulin resistance and get blood sugar levels down to normal. And normal blood sugars are essential for making the kind of lifestyle changes that will ultimately help you to lose body fat and maintain a healthy weight.

Elevated blood glucose levels tend to make people tired and lethargic. It is not easy to exercise when you feel that way! Lowering blood glucose levels can restore your energy and give you the strength and attitude to maintain an active lifestyle.

High blood glucose can also make you feel hungry. Keeping your blood glucose near normal will allow you to better manage your food intake, particularly consumption of high-calorie sweets and other snacks.

In other words, gain a little today to lose a lot tomorrow.

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Diabetes And Weight Gain

Weight gain is a common symptom of diabetes and other insulin-related medical conditions.

Compared with people who do not have diabetes, young adults with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of developing excess body weight or obesity.

According to 2003 World Health Organization estimates , 90 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are either overweight or have obesity.

People who have diabetes may experience weight gain as a side effect of insulin therapy. Although insulin help regulates their glucose levels, it also promotes fat storage in the body.

Reducing excess body weight can help people manage diabetes symptoms and even reverse prediabetes and insulin resistance.


People who take insulin to manage their glucose levels may experience weight gain. However, people should not stop taking insulin or skip doses, as this can cause long-term complications.

Effective ways to avoid insulin-related weight gain include:

Keep Blood Sugar Levels Steady And Even

Does Insulin Cause WEIGHT GAIN? – The TRUTH!

Big swings in blood sugar can lead to weight gain, so the best approach is to try to keep levels steady, says McClain. When blood sugar is low, you get a signal that youre really hungry. In this situation, we teach people to have a snack containing 15 grams of carbohydrate, to bring their sugar level up. People who tend to have frequent drops in their blood sugar may actually be overeating to treat these dips, which can lead to gaining weight, he adds.

Jensen says the goal to the extent you can manage it is to live in harmony with your insulin. You dont have to eat the same exact food every day, or do the exact same activities, but its a good idea to aim for some regularity so your levels arent swinging around wildly from day to day. Thats what can get people into trouble, he says.

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Treatment Of Diabetes And Weight Of A Person

All the medicines used in diabetes are either weight neutral or increase the body weight or decrease the body weight. Insulin is among those that increases the body-weight. The increase in weight is harmful to people with diabetes. Moreover, many of people who have diabetes are already overweight. This increase in body weight decreases the effectiveness of therapy and increases the risks of complications from diabetes.Thus the diabetes specialist has to choose the drugs or insulin therapy by keeping in mind the effect on body-weight of any such treatment. Usually, this weight gain can be countered with a proper combination of drugs and non-pharmacological measures. Moreover, new drugs are emerging, which are either weight neutral or help to lose weight.

Does Insulin Cause Weight Gain Not Exactly

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One reason people with type 2 diabetes avoid insulin treatment is because they have heard that insulin causes weight gain. In a quick internet search, Im seeing phrases like insulin and weight gain go hand-in-hand or weight gain is a side effect of insulin. In one place this description was provided Insulin causes weight gain when the cells absorb too much glucose and the body converts this into fat.1 All of these statements are wrong!! Its like saying hammers cause smashed thumbs. Heres the real story.

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Losing Weight With Type 2 Diabetes: 3 Reasons People Struggle

Approximately 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.¹ While obesity often contributes to the development of diabetes, the bigger driver of weight gain is the high insulin levels that are found well before the diagnosis of diabetes.There are some good reasons why the standard advice of âeat less, exercise moreâ doesnât deliver results for people living with type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Types And Weight Loss

Does INSULIN cause WEIGHT gain? Doctor makes it easy to understand ...

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body sends antibodies to attack the pancreas, which prevents it from producing enough insulin to regulate your blood sugar. It is not clear what causes Type 1 diabetes, but it is thought to be genetic and is usually first diagnosed in childhood or young adulthood.


Type 1 diabetes is not associated with excess weight. But if you are carrying extra weight, losing it can reduce your risk of complications and reduce your need for insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is where your body does not produce enough insulin and/or your cells may not respond to insulin properly and do not take in sugar from your blood. Type 2 diabetes develops over many years. The cause is not known, but being overweight and inactive are major contributors.

For Type 2 diabetes, weight loss is key. If you have prediabetesthat is, you have consistently high blood sugar but do not yet have diabeteslosing 7-10 percent of your body weight can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. If you already have Type 2 diabetes, losing weight could cause your condition to go into remission, potentially eliminating your need for medication.

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Formulate A Meal Plan

Your dietitian can help you with a meal plan for the dietary changes you need to make. An individualized meal plan is crucial for success, because everyones eating habits and dietary needs are different. Your plan will include what types of foods you eat, portion size, and when you eat. It may also include shopping and meal preparation.


Professor Roy Taylors Work At Newcastle University

Professor Roy Taylor is a professor of medicine and metabolism at the University of Newcastle. He and his research group have focused on understanding if, and how, you can reverse type 2 diabetes.

On the research groups university website, they have stated that type 2 diabetes can be reversed with major weight loss:

It has been possible to work out the basic mechanisms which lead to type 2 diabetes. Too much body fat within the liver and pancreas prevents normal insulin action and prevents normal insulin secretion. Both defects are reversible by substantial weight loss.

Heres our first interaction between weight loss and insulin function. Professor Taylor is saying that if you lose weight, you can also return insulin action and secretion to normal.

  • Insulin action: refers to insulin sensitivity, i.e. proper insulin action means theres little or no insulin resistance in the body.
  • Insulin secretion: the ability of the beta cells in the pancreas to release insulin into the blood.

The research group goes on to highlight one further critical point. The insulin-secreting function of the pancreas decreases once fat levels go above a persons individual fat threshold.

This threshold varies from person to person and is highly associated with genetics and heritage . This is what they say:

Professor Taylors research paper provides an explanation for the whole cycle, which he has called the Twin-cycle hypothesis.

  • Over time, a person consistently overeats
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    Is Insulin Good Or Bad For Weight Loss

    If you are working toward a weight loss goal, it is not ideal to focus on whether insulin is good or bad. Insulin therapy is designed to address hormonal imbalances in your body, and should not be considered a weight management tool. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight should be done through lifestyle changes such as exercise, stress management, changes in diet, and sleep hygiene.

    One of the reasons it is important to maintain your insulin dosage regardless of your overall body weight is variations in insulin levels can have unintended consequences for your body weight. If you skip insulin doses and begin losing weight, you have not changed the underlying problem that required insulin therapy in the first place. This means you will likely need to go back on insulin again soon, which will only cause you to gain weight back. Doing this repeatedly puts enormous strain on your liver and cardiovascular system, and could put you at increased risk of heart disease.

    If you are concerned about weight gain when you start taking insulin, it is best to take a long-term view of managing your weight. Though it is possible you will gain a few pounds at the beginning, proper diet and physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight over the long haul while addressing insulin sensitivity or deficiency issues.

    Eat About The Same Amount Of Food Every Day

    Diabetes Education – Does Your Insulin Cause Weight Gain?

    Skipping meals may make you feel extra hungry and cause you to overeat later on. Missing meals can also lead to low blood sugar if you dont adjust your insulin dose. But eating smaller meals throughout the course of your day can help you keep your appetite, blood sugar, and weight under control.

    With additional reporting by Andrea Peirce

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    Another Possible Culprit: Your Diabetes Medication

    People living with type 1 diabetes, and some people with type 2 diabetes who require insulin, may have weight gain as a side effect of insulin therapy. This is because although insulin helps regulate glucose levels, it also promotes storage of body fat. People living with type 2 diabetes may need to take diabetes medication and may need to take insulin if other treatments havent been effective. Unfortunately, a common side effect of diabetes medication is weight gain.

    Dont despair! There may be other diabetes medications out there that can help you stay in range without unwanted pounds. Ask your doctor about metformin , exenatide , liraglutide , albiglutide , dulaglutide , sitagliptin , saxagliptin , canagliflozin , dapagliflozin , empagliflozin and pramlintide . Sometimes it just takes a little time to find the medication thats best for you.

    How Does Insulin Make You Gain Weight

    Insulin makes you gain weight by telling the body to store glucose. The glucose storage in fat cells, the liver, and muscles promote increased insulin resistance and weight gain.

    The insulin resistance and weight gain problem starts to show once the cells have become unresponsive to insulin signals because the glucose has to go somewhere. So the pancreas pumps out more insulin hoping that more insulin will get that sugar inside the cells so that blood glucose levels lower. But when the cells are consistently unresponsive to the uptake of new glucose, it is converted to fat, resulting in, you guessed it, weight gain.

    The body needs to be given the opportunity to burn through and utilize all the excess glucose that is already in the body to restore insulin sensitivity. The cells will not become responsive and sensitive to the hormone insulin until they need more glucose. To restore insulin sensitivity, you have to stop putting more sugar, refined carbohydrates, and food into the body.

    Refined carbohydrates and sugar in all of their many forms are the foods that increase insulin production, thus raising insulin levels and contributing to insulin resistance. So reducing sugar is key to losing weight and reversing insulin resistance. If you need a sugar substitute, stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit extract are the best sweeteners for diabetes. These non-nutritive sweeteners have the least impact on raising blood sugar and insulin levels.

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