Being diagnosed with diabetes doesn’t guarantee excessive weight gain. There are professional athletes and other fitness professionals with quite normal, and in some cases, incredibly impressive physiques.
So it’s not accurate to say everyone with diabetes will definitely have problems with weight gain.
You aren’t doomed to instantly gain twenty pounds, but for most people with diabetes managing their weight becomes very challenging.
Here’s why many people gain weight.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease often resulting in high blood sugar due to inadequate production or inefficient use of the insulin hormone. When you consume carbohydrates, and sugar in particular, it will raise your blood sugar levels.
Your body releases insulin to draw sugar out of your blood to be used for energy. When you have diabetes, the process isn’t working normally and your blood sugar levels are not being returned to normal.
Excessive blood sugar levels, for long periods of time, can cause vision, kidney and nerve problems. It’s important to get your blood sugar back to normal levels to avoid serious long term health complications.
Depending on how serious your condition, and whether you’re type 1 or type 2, you may need to use insulin injections to help keep your blood sugar under control.
It’s often the introduction of more insulin that results in gaining weight.
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Why It Can Cause Weight Gain
If you’re diabetic it means there’s a disruption in the consumption and use of energy. The process isn’t working efficiently, and your current body weight isn’t normal.
Insulin will cause more efficient use of calories
If you aren’t producing enough insulin, or you aren’t using it efficiently, it also means you’re consuming calories that aren’t being utilized. If insulin isn’t helping convert calories to glucose for energy, it will be removed from your body when you urinate.
You don’t fully utilize every calorie you eat if you’re diabetic. This can keep your weight at an abnormally low level relative to how much you eat everyday. When you start using insulin injections, you’ll begin to utlize more of the calories you consume resulting in weight gain.
You were likely dehydrated
If insulin isn’t doing its job efficiently, and your blood sugar levels remain high, your body will attempt to get rid of the excess glucose through urination. This often results in dehydration and temporary weight loss, as you lose water weight.
When you begin insulin injections, it helps to normalize your water balance because your body doesn’t need to get rid of the glucose through urination anymore.
As you regain the water weight you lost due to dehydration, you’ll likely gain several pounds very quickly.
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High blood glucose can increase your hunger
Your body wants and needs a certain amount of calories for basic body functions. When you’re diabetic, and have poor insulin use, it can cause an inefficient use of calories. You’re eating normally, but you aren’t using all the calories normally.
But, your body still needs a certain amount of calories to function. This results in an increase in hunger because your body isn’t getting enough calories, and it wants more.
This likely means you’re eating above your normal calorie maintenance but haven’t been gaining weight because of poor insulin use. More calories will be utilized from your food after you begin using insulin treatment
If you continue to eat “normally” as you did before insulin injections it can result in weight gain due to better utilization of calories you consume from food.