Insulin and Weight Gain: Keep the Pounds Off

Weight gain and insulin often go hand-in-hand, but it is possible to control your weight. Here are some ways to reduce or prevent weight gain if you require insulin therapy.

How Insulin Controls Your Weight Loss and Weight Gain

Uncontrolled weight loss or weight gain is a common side effect of insulin-related treatment. Insulin is a hormone that regulates sugar absorption by cells. This can be frustrating as maintaining a healthy weight is an essential part of diabetes management. It is possible to maintain your weight and still take insulin.

The Relationship Between Insulin and Weight Gain

Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose to enter cells. This causes blood glucose levels to drop. This is the treatment goal. Your cells will need more glucose if you eat more calories than necessary to maintain healthy body weight. This is due to your activity level. The glucose that your cells don’t use becomes fat.

How to Prevent Weight Gain

You can prevent weight gain by eating healthy food and exercising every day of the week. These tips will help you lose weight. Here are some important tips to help you with that:

  • Count calories. You can prevent weight gain by eating and drinking fewer calories. Make sure to stock your refrigerator with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Every meal should have the right combination of starches, fruits, vegetables, proteins, fats, and nutrients. Experts recommend meals that contain half-starchy vegetables, one-quarter protein, and one-quarter starch like rice or starchy vegetables such as peas or corn.
  • Reduce your portions. Avoid second servings, and drink water rather than high-calorie beverages. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or dietitian about meal-planning strategies and resources.
  • Don’t skip meals. Do not try to reduce calories by skipping meals. You’re more likely than not to eat a proper meal if you skip it. If you don’t adjust the insulin dose, skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar.
  • Get active. Exercise burns calories. The Department of Health and Human Services has set a reasonable goal for adults of at least 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise per week. This includes walking, biking, water aerobics, and dancing, as well as muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
  • Discuss with your doctor the appropriate activities and exercises for you. Ask your doctor about the best way to exercise. Your body uses insulin more efficiently when you exercise. Depending on how much you plan to do, you might need to reduce your insulin dose or have a snack. Your blood sugar can drop for hours after you exercise.


Sometimes weight problems are related to the treatment you take. If you feel that your body responds to a certain drug in a strange way, you can ask your doctor to replace it with another medicine.

Here are the drugs that are often used for diabetes:

  • Metformin (Fortamet),
  • Glucophage,
  • Albiglutide (Tarzeum),
  • Dulaglutide (Trulicity),
  • Sitagliptin (Onglyza),
  • Canagliflozin (Invokana),
  • Dapagliflozin (Farxiga),
  • Empagliflozin (Jardiance),
  • Pramlintide (Symlin).

All these drugs are diabetes medications that regulate blood glucose. These medications may help you lose weight and reduce your insulin dose. These and other medications may be recommended by your doctor as part of your diabetes treatment plan.

Note: Follow the instructions. To prevent weight gain, don’t reduce or skip insulin doses. Even though you may lose weight if you take less insulin than is prescribed, the risks can be serious. Your risk of developing diabetes complications will increase if you don’t have enough insulin.

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