It is a commonly known fact that most diabetic patients would need to take insulin therapy, especially the Type 1 diabetics. This is also true that weight gain is a very commonly known side effect of insulin therapy. It seems to be a vicious cycle that diabetics cannot get out of. So, the question is, does insulin cause weight gain? If yes, then how and why?
Side effects related to weight gain are much more complicated, so it is better to understand the causes and control measures. Given below are the inputs on links between insulin therapy and weight gain that can help a diabetic patient to keep a watch and do the needful.
The next common question that is there in every diabetic’s mind is — why does insulin cause weight gain? There is a rational scientific explanation to this question. Let’s take a step back and revisit what is diabetes to get this right.
The cells in our body need sugar or glucose to function properly and provide us with the much-needed energy. The cells help absorb the glucose from the blood via insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas gland.
If a condition occurs in the body that it is not capable of producing insulin or generates less insulin, then it is obvious that the body cells are starved of the much-needed glucose to generate energy. This is when blood sugar levels rise and cause “diabetes.” This is also characterized by extreme hunger and thirst.
Can Weight Gain Be Countered?
It is, therefore, clear that weight gain is a side effect of insulin therapy. In such a case, the next step is to understand how to control this aspect: for, avoiding insulin is not the solution at all. Untreated diabetes complications are far worse than that of the weight gain issues. Once you understand the causes and the way your body functions and why things happen, it is easy to take the right steps and get things under control.
It is perfectly possible to avoid or control weight gain due to insulin. These are the rules, which every diabetes patient has to follow:
1. Eat Your Meals Regularly And On Time
People watching calories usually tend to skip their meals. This could be to control the calorie intake or at times; it could just be that they are too busy to eat. This is a very bad practice and has many effects on your body.
One straight effect is on your blood glucose levels, which can dip lower and cause you problems. The other effect is that you will lack energy since the body cells did not get the requisite glucose on time.
Even worse is the fact that there are studies that have documented that when people skip a meal, they tend to go for unhealthy options at the next possible chance to eat. So you end up sacrificing your diet as well. And if you make a regular habit of skipping meals, then your insulin doses will have to be frequently readjusted.
2. Keep A Watch On The Calories
Count your calories, but not by skipping meals. Keep a watch on what you eat or drink. Reduce quantities in case of high-calorie food and drinks. Make a conscious effort to include fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc. in the right mix in your diet.
Resist eating more even when there is something that you like and don’t fall for the ‘just this once’ syndrome. Most often, this is what puts people in trouble as the once keeps coming often, and before they know it, they have already gained a few pounds. Avoid all high-calorie drinks like carbonated ones or aerated ones and reach out for water instead. That’s certainly healthier.
3. Never Change Insulin Doses Without Medical Guidance
Being worried about insulin-related weight gain can tempt a person with diabetes to reduce doses of insulin on their own. This is very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
Apart from the fact it can badly affect your diabetes management efforts, you may find in all probability gain more weight when your doctor puts you back on the right doses of insulin.
4. Make A Routine To Exercise
There is substitute for exercise, and this is true even if you do not have diabetes. The right amount of daily exercise is said to have a whole host of benefits as proved by many studies in this direction.
The best way for a diabetic to shed those calories is to shake them off.
Follow a routine, go for walks or take a jog. If you are not an outdoor person, then you just choose to do some aerobics or yoga or some simple exercises in the comfort of your home.
5. Know Your Medication Options
On your next visit to the doctor, make sure to check on the medication options that are available to you. With the advances in technology, few medicines can help you control weight gain as well as the blood sugar levels. However, it is very important to discuss this with your doctor and only take such medications under prescriptions.
It is evident that though insulin can cause weight gain, it is not an unavoidable situation and easy measures if adopted can keep things in control. If you are a diabetic, there is nothing to stop you from leading a healthy and long life.