Gaining weight with diabetes
Weight gain is a common symptom of diabetes. Young adults with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk of gaining excessive weight when compared to non-diabetic people. According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, an estimated 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are obese.
Diabetic patients may also gain weight due to insulin therapy. Insulin regulates blood sugar levels, and it increases fat storage in the body.
Insulin and weight gain
Insulin is a hormone produced by our pancreas to regulate glucose levels in the blood. Also called blood sugar, insulin works by aiding cells to absorb glucose. Insulin helps in breaking down fats and protein. Insulin stimulates muscles, fat, and liver cells to absorb glucose during digestion. The glucose is used for energy or stored as fat in the cells. Eating more calories than your body needs will produce more glucose levels. If cells do not get rid of the excess glucose, glucose will be stored as fat on the tissues.
During insulin therapy, a diabetes patient can absorb excess glucose from food which leads to weight gain. It causes weight gain when cells absorb excess glucose at optimum levels, converted into fat. If diabetes is not treated, your body might not convert food into energy properly and lead to weight loss.
How to avoid weight gain?
Diabetes patients under insulin therapy need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow a few tips to avoid weight gain. Some of them are mentioned below.
Diabetes patients need to track their carbohydrate consumption and calorie intake. If a diabetic patient takes excess calorie intake than required will lead to extra glucose levels in the blood and increase fat storage in the body.
Pre-measure food portions and ingredients while you make your food. Also, keep a note of what you eat from the start of the day till the end. This would prevent you from eating more calories. Over some time, you would get habituated to the portion sizes, your diet routine and not need to maintain a track of calories and measure food.
Don’t skip meals
Don't try to cut calories by skipping meals. When you skip a meal, you're more likely to make poor diet choices at the next mealtime because you're too hungry. Skipping meals can also cause low blood sugar levels if you don't adjust your insulin dose.
Take your insulin dose as directed.
Never skip or fluctuate your insulin dose to curb weight gain. Even if you lose some weight by not taking insulin or reducing your dose, it will be risky. It would make your blood sugar levels rise and increase more complications.
Working out regularly keeps your body fit and strong. It also helps to repair tissues and cells by improving blood circulation and stimulation from various exercises. It allows you to burn the excess glucose, enhance weight loss, and burn calories.
As per World Health Organization (WHO), adults aged between 18 to 64 need to work out for at least two and half hours a week. Regular exercises specifically designed for diabetes can be beneficial for those who have developed insulin resistance and who have type 2 diabetes, as per a medical review.
If you are a diabetic patient and are struggling to find the proper diet to lose weight, a dietician might help you figure a balanced diet for you. There is no one right diet for diabetic patients, and every person needs a custom meal plan with few trials and errors. A dietician’s advice on foods to eat and avoid based on the current health and goals. Dieticians use your lipid, glucose, and insulin profile to check your health. Dieticians can help you in developing personalized meals without increasing the risk of developing other diseases.
Foods to eat
Include nutritious food in your diet. Avoid processed food high in refined carbohydrates, foods with added sugar, and junk foods. Use high-quality organic foods with no added sugar. Include foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fat sources such as nuts, avocados, etc.
Diabetes and weight gain are most of the time interlinked in diabetes patients. Insulin regulates glucose levels in your blood, increases fat storage, and breaks down protein. Excess insulin due to insulin therapy or diabetes medications might cause weight increase. Diabetes can be a problem, but with the right lifestyle, you can manage your health.
Lifestyle improvement with the right diet plans, regular exercises, consulting a dietician, regular blood sugar monitoring, and keeping track of calories will improve your condition without increasing the risk of developing any other diseases.