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Insulin and Weight Gain

Avoiding Insulin to Lose Weight

Some people are tempted to stop taking their insulin (or take less than they need) in order to lose weight. This works quite well, but can lead to disastrous consequences. Essentially, you can keep eating while starving your body (without insulin, the body cannot use much of the food you eat). This can result in a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which may lead to life-threatening complications. Even if you manage to avoid DKA, you still increase the risk of long-term complications of diabetes (such as kidney failure). Avoiding insulin to lose weight is thought to be especially common in young women with diabetes.


Taking insulin does not automatically mean you will gain weight. An appropriate diet, combined with regular exercise can help you avoid the weight gain that is so common among insulin users. It can be difficult to accept, but you may not be able to eat as much as you once did before your diabetes was under control. Because it is important for people with diabetes to manage a healthy weight, talk with your healthcare provider if you begin to gain weight while taking insulin.
As a reminder, it is always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before changing your diet, exercise regimen, or insulin dosage.
(Click BMI Calculator to see if your weight is within a healthy range.)
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