Insulin and weight gain

last november, december and january 2009/2010 about 6 people mentioned that i had lost a lot of weight.  good thing as i cut out almost all extra sugar out of my diet and i work out and average of 3 times a week.  March 2010 i went on insulin to control my blood sugars.  the insulin worked but i have put on weight which is obviously not good.  my diet was checked by a dietician (sp) and got the ok.  any suggestions?



hey! maybe you need to talk to an endo about your insulin intake. i think that the reason you might of suddenly put on weight is because you went from having no insulin needed to suddenly getting on it. where you having high blood sugars before you got on it? what kind of insulin and how much do you take? all these things can play a role in your weight. i put on 20 pounds after i got on insulin, and it was because i wasn't excersing enough and i had to really cut back on all carbs so i was taking less insulin. i hope i helped in some way! good luck!

it's not uncommon to gain weight after going on the pump. if your ratios are set-up fine, it could just be your snacking more(without noticing). it's easier to snack with the pump, which is where most people gain the weight. but also, if you're getting better control with the pump vs shots, it's probably that now your levels are under control, you're gaining back healthy weight that your body was burning before due to being in less strict control.

thanks for the reply.  you are correct.  the wgt loss was artificial.  i was losing wgt thru high blood sugars. not good.  now increase in excercise and lowering diet. thanks again :)

The more insulin I use, the more weight I gain. No change in diet or exercise or anything else. It was all a matter of insulin resistance. Type 1 diabetics can have insulin resistance, just like type 2 diabetics do. In the 1990s I had switched from the old pork insulins to modern day insulins. I had been type 1 for 50 years and used pork insulin. I was never more than 5 pounds above my ideal weight. With the newer insulins I started putting on weight. I gained so much that I was using 40% more insulin than normal. My diet and exercise were the same. My insulin resistance was diagnosed in 1998 and I started taking a type 2 med in 1999. The med helped my insulin resistance and my dosages soon returned to normal. Then I started losing weight, but very slowly. I reduced my carb intake to 130g per day and increased my exercise. In one years time I lost most of the weight I had gained. I am now 11 pounds overweight, but I am OK with that. I have very good control with my pump.

If you gain too much you could become insulin resistant too, and need a type 2 med. If you take the necessary steps and keep your weight under good control, you will be doing yourself a big favor.

It might not be insulin either. As we age our metabolism changes. Even if our eating and exercise habits stay the same, our body goes through calories slower so it's a natural tendency to gain weight. We now have to work harder to maintain our normal weight and/or lose weight.

Sorry for the depressing news. 

hey bruce...

Yeah, insulin makes you gain weight if you take a lot. i was taking about 200- 250 units a day for a good while, and I went from 135 pounds to about 172. My doctor suggested that I take a T2 medicine- metformin (Glucophage) for insulin resistance. My insulin intake was cut in half.. I only take around 100 units a day now (which is still alot)- and I have lost a lot of that weight and am down to about 148 now. Its unfortunate to have to gain weight to have healthy blood sugars.. haha.. but.. why dont you talk to your doctor about going on a type 2 drug as well as the insulin and see if it helps you like it did for me. Its a trial thing docs are doing- but its been doing wonders for me, and I highly recommend it. :)

Metformin works for some folks (like me) but it is not for everyone. Talk to your doctor about if. Last month I went from 246 to 220! I cut out sugary sweets and ate more veggies and vegetarian products.

I keep trying to figure this out, and I am just confused.  How does insulin resistance lead to weight gain?  I am confused because I know that consistently high blood sugars can cause weight loss....because the sugar in your bloodstream is not being absorbed into the cells and hence the body burns fat to release more sugar into the bloodstream, since it thinks the body is in starvation, blah blah...  Wouldn't insulin resistance have much the same effect?  (I know I should probably know all this, but, hey, I got my diabetes education 20 years ago...)

Bruce, if you were not on insulin and losing weight, then went on insulin and started gaining, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the weight gain.  At least, not in the "insulin made me gain weight" sort of "wrong."  Before insulin, your body was unable to use and store the carbs you ate, and your blood sugar went up.  Now, the insulin means your body can use and store carbs normally.

So you can't exactly blame it on the insulin (though some people feel that insulin itself can contribute to some increase in fat), but rather the increased normalcy of your metabolism.

It's annoying, huh?  I was losing weight before diagnosis, then gained some after starting insulin treatment even though I'd started eating far fewer calories (while untreated, I had been hungry all the time).  But despite gaining a little weight, I really do think I look healthier.  To get rid of the weight/fat, there's really nothing to do but what the rest of the population does: eat healthier and get more physically active.  Both of which can be tougher for us.  :(

it (essentially) has to do with absorption. insulin helps your body use and store the glucose in the cells as efficiently as possible. with more insulin running through your system, the more glucose it has the ability to use. if all the glucose isn't needed, it will then store the excess as fat for future use. <-- that's the incredibly basic version of it.

like with all weight gain, it's important to determine what your body needs and balance that with what you're taking in. regardless of where the extra calories come from, they will be stored if they aren't being used. even if your diet consists solely of vegetables, if you're eating more vegetables than you need, it's going to turn into fat. especially as a diabetic, balancing diet and exercise is difficult. the more low blood sugars we have to treat, the more calories we are consuming which only gets piled on to our daily intake. 

That is a great explanation of what goes on in the cells when we eat too many carbs.  I have insulinemia too and when I eat carbs they get turned into fat.  I gain an ungodly about of weight from carbs.  Am on metformin but need to exercise and consume a pretty low carb diet. 

I have questions about this affect as well. I was exercising and very active before insulin (same time period as you) and I still am, but I have gained 25 pounds since my diagnoses in March 2010. My friends said that I was too thin I was wasting away (severe DKA), but now they say I look great. Just know you are not the only one who struggles with insulin weight gain. It just means your body is doing what it is supposed to. I have found that I have to work out harder now that I am on insulin to get any results. I may not have been much help, but other people on this site are very helpful. They know a lot about T1D. I am very thankful for the resource.