Insulin weight gain-understanding diabetes better
Nobody is as familiar to the word “insulin” as diabetics around the world. This simple hormone named “insulin” has created havoc in millions of lives around the world.
Importance of Insulin
If by any chance you are not familiar with insulin, let me clear your doubt.
It is a hormone produced by an organ called pancreas. the insulin helps our body cells to absorb glucose from our blood to utilize it for their energy needs.
If the insulin produced is insufficient, then our cells would not be able to absorb glucose from blood and as a result condition for diabetes develops.
Usually, diabetics (especially Type 1) who produce very little insulin, get their daily requirement from an external source. They inject the insulin either through insulin pens or pump as per their body needs.
Click here to read about Type 1 diabetes
Discovering the external source of insulin is one of the great medical achievement that saved millions of lives around the world.
Imagine the plight of diabetic patient during the time when insulin was not discovered;
They would have died million times because of the daily sufferings associated with diabetes.
No doubt about the importance of insulin for managing diabetes and saving people around the world. But still, there are some issues associated with insulin that makes people to stay away from it and to rely on medication as much as possible.
One of the main concern is about insulin weight gain
You may have come across fellow diabetics who have gained a lot of weight and blaming it all to the insulin.
So is insulin really responsible for weight gain?
Do we have any evidence supporting this argument?
Or, the weight gain among diabetics is grossly misunderstood and insulin has been falsely convicted on this blame
Well, there are various researches on insulin weight gain subject.
They all came t the conclusion that yes, insulin is indeed responsible for weight gain. The research has noticed an increase in weight gain among their diabetic subject and blame it to the insulin they were taking.
People with type 2 diabetes typically gain weight when they take insulin and cited two studies.
In one of these studies, 458 people with type 2 diabetes used insulin for six years, gaining more than 22 pounds. In the other study, people with type 2 diabetes gained more than 7 pounds in the first year alone
Long Acting Basal insulin study
A large study has now confirmed that people with type 2 diabetes typically gain only a little weight when they use a basal insulin. This prospective observational study about insulin weight gain involved about 200 physician offices in Germany that specializes in the care of people with type 2 diabetes.
After a year on one of these basal insulins, the people with type 2 diabetes in this study averaged a much smaller weight gain than those in the earlier studies, which were of all the different insulin regimes.
The study’s authors suggested why the people in the new study gained so little weight compared with those in earlier studies of insulin use. In earlier studies, blood glucose typically had “already risen to an extreme level.” The people in the new study started with an average A1C of 8.6 and began taking insulin soon after they were diagnosed with diabetes
Start basal insulin as soon as you know that you have type 2 diabetes. Taking it—far from being a strategy of last resort—needs to be you first resort
Click here to read about type 2 diabetes in detail
But why insulin weight gain happens in the first place?
There are some reasons behind it:
1. High sugar before diagnosis:
when you got diabetes, you body cells do not absorb glucose from the blood, which results in high blood sugar. Most of the glucose get wasted away with urine and due to that, you feel fatigued and lose weight.
Now when you got diagnosed and start taking insulin, these excess blood sugar in your blood now start getting absorbed by the cells. But as there is too much glucose accumulated in the blood, the extra glucose gets stored in the form of fat by our cell which results in weight gain
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2. Repeated hypoglycemia:
Majority of diabetics struggle to control their blood sugar while injecting insulin. there is always some kind of mismatch between insulin needed and insulin injected, so they often have to come across hypoglycemia episode during which their blood sugar went too low
During hypoglycemia, the patient tends to eat a lot and takes in extra calorie which shoots up blood sugar to abnormal levels, The extra glucose again stores up by our body cells in the form of fat.
3. High-calorie intake:
Diabetics taking insulin feel that now they can eat anything they want and get it compensated by high insulin dosage. If you eat up high amount calorie and don’t make any effort to burn it through exercising, the extra carbs will get absorbed by the cells (due to insulin) and get stored in the form of fat, hence causing weight gain.
Is there any step to avoid insulin weight gain?
First of all, it’s not a rule that insulin will cause you weight gain, as a different person has different metabolism the reaction with insulin is also different. My mother used to take insulin and it doesn’t raise her weight.
But as the majority of people are getting affected by it, taking adequate measure to prevent it is a wise choice. The following steps can be helpful to prevent you to gain more weight:
Avoid taking diet that is high in starch or sugar.
Try to stay away from grains like rice, wheat, bread, corn as they are high carb materials. These food items are most difficult to avoid because of their low price and easy availability. Your Television, digital channels are full of commercials that sell these kinds of foods and limiting these foods is the greatest challenge for every diabetic.
Try to include food items that are non-starchy like eggs, chicken meat, fish, green vegetables, peanuts, coconut; these items will not spark your blood sugar
Click here to read about normal blood sugar for diabetics
You can download health apps in your mobile that shows a number of carbs in any diet. Knowing carb content in any diet from advance will make you eat responsibly and keep insulin weight gain in check
2. Don’t skip a meal:
People who tend to skip meal tends to get overtaken by hunger later and eats uncontrollably only to spike their blood sugar.
I don’t see any point skipping the meal like this. It’s better to have small low carb meals in between that not only satisfies your hunger but also keeps your blood sugar in control
Spare at-least 15 minutes of your day for exercise. Any form of physical activities helps you burn those extra calories that were turning into fat.
Choose any type of exercise that you feel comfortable doing; People tends to have a notion that exercise meaning boring long walks or power yoga.
Try to find your passion in the form of exercise, the one you truly enjoy;
you can try dancing if you feel that you want to learn this skill or may be swimming; if you love photography, take some time to walk around your city and capture the essence of life.
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The point is when you choose the form you enjoy, you will never feel bored of doing it and your health will also improve
4. Take insulin as directed
If you have just got diagnosed, try to test your blood glucose as frequent as possible. With regular testing, you will understand your body response to different food items and you will manage to administer yourself the correct dose of insulin.
I remember during my first week of diagnosis, I used to have hypo episode every night. When I started testing frequently I understood that I need to lower my insulin dose that I used to take up after dinner.
You can also use Abbot Libre device which continuously monitors your blood sugar for 14 days. It will give you a good insight into your blood sugar response in different time of day and helps you to select right insulin dosage to administer.
Click here to buy good quality glucometer from Amazon
5. Avoid Hypo condition:
As I said be careful with your hypo condition. It’s not only fatal for your life but also cause you to overeat and spike your blood sugar.
The excess sugar which gets stored as fat in our body is the reason for insulin weight gain.
From the research above one can understand that insulin indeed increase your weight, but if you are careful about your condition and make effort in the right direction you can avoid this insulin weight gain problem.
There is a tendency among type 2 diabetics that they want to avoid the insulin injections and wants to remain on medication forever.
If you are type 2 don’t keep insulin the last resort of diabetes management.
And If you are failing to control your blood sugar with oral medication, switch to insulin as soon as possible, as we have seen above research, starting insulin therapy from bad HbA1C number cause you to gain more weight.
Click here to find you are Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic