Insulin & Weight Gain

I think this topic has been posted before recently but i cant find it.

Anyway, anyone else have weight gain issues with insulin use? I’m currently taking 14 units of Lantus at night and am on a sliding scale for mealtime Novolog and take up to 9 units depending on my pre-meal bs level. I started this regime about 6 weeks ago and have gained a solid 13 pounds (137 lbs to 150 lbs)!!! No change in routine or eating habits so I’m blaming it on the insulin. I can’t go on like this its ridiculous!!

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I put on a little weight after my diagnosis until I realized that my diet was still at the “gain back my lost weight” level of carbs. I decided not to eat less but exercise a bit more. The one thing that you are beginning to realize about Type 1 is that it’s always changing. So, either try eating less or exercising more. Insulin will make your body store excess glucose as fat. It just will. I know exercising while Type 1 is a pain in the caboose, but more exercise will lower your insulin resistance–which will lower how much insulin you need to use.

You’ll figure it out. You have a captive test subject.


you may need to change what you eat to some extent (and exercise more ). before insulin your cells couldn’t take up the sugar from what you ate. now they can. low carb may help to reduce insulin requirements too. suggest you look into basal-bolus approach rather than sliding scale.

i am totally struggling with weight these days too. it’s so hard!

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I agree with JustLookin: change to basal/bolus MDI, utilizing carb counting. Using a sliding scale is pretty much an archaic approach.

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I don’t have weight gain issues with my insulin use. I gain weight if I am eating more than my body needs and so I exercise every day and adjust my insulin when necessary. The dose(s) change from time to time depending on who knows what.

No change in routine or eating habits indicates some other issue that you should discuss with your doc. 13 lbs in 6 weeks is a lot of gain and could be an indication of too much food as well as mismanaged insulin to need. 9 units is a lot of insulin for a meal…imo. Are your bg’s in range?

Lots of folks claim weight gain with insulin, you can find a plethora of this topic all over the diabetes community. I lost weight, and learned how to maintain my weight when I learned how to manage my basal and bolus needs and to use an eating plan that fed my nutrition and energy needs without gaining weight.


I was diagnosed in April and I have gained 4 pounds. I hqve never to date taken 9 units before a meal but I have realized bread messes me up big time so try to limit my treat is our pizza night and it seems I have to take a lot to cover it (but…worth it sometimes) during the week I try to stay low carb and I “cheat” a little over the wknd with my family. I found that when I was first diagnosed I was extreme with carb counting and it helped to what foods are okay and what foods I can only eat sparingly. How tall are you? Did you lose too much weight before diagnosis? I was overweight so at 5’7" now and 148 I’m not underweight so it is okay to maintain. I also will stay low carb at breakfast and lunch…only using a little Novolog and then use a bit more at night. Good luck. It’s a guessing game at first but you are doing great.

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Hey Becca8122:

The relationship between insulin and weight is one that is often misunderstood for insulin dependent people with diabetes, but the argument that insulin is causing an increase in weight is like saying carrying an umbrella is causing it to rain. Cause and effect are getting mixed up. The reason for the weight increase is that you’re injecting insulin to normalize your blood sugar in response to your caloric intake. If you reduce that - especially the fast acting carbs like starches and sugar which are more likely to get metabolized into fat, your insulin requirements will also decrease. It’s exactly the same as with someone with a fully functioning endocrine system, except you’re doing it manually. It is the resulting caloric decrease which will lead to weight decrease or maintenance. And lower insulin doses are simply a function of that.

And to echo what others have said, a sliding scale method of dosing takes no account of your specific metabolism, and could also result in you dosing too much and having to chase it with food - which will lead to weight gain.

Hope this helps.



Don’t let them tell you fibs. T1’s are carb intolerant too.
cut the carbs as a T2 would. :slight_smile:

somewhere between 20g and 150g is the right amount a day.
how much carb

you may not need to go this low, but it will help and you can add more carb as you go.

TAG ‘total available glucose’ carb counting, with low carb, you may need to bolus for some of the protein

“Archaic” is putting the kindest possible face on it. The adjective I would use is “dangerous”.


I don’t really know what “sliding scale” is, anyway. Explain it to me.

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Quite simple. The classic textbook “sliding scale” works this way:

Before eating, you measure your blood sugar. You then administer a bolus of insulin based on that number. Period.

Notice that this does not consider what, or how much, you are going to eat. It doesn’t consider your I:C ratio, your ISF, or anything else about the way your body processes food and insulin. Just a fixed number based on your PRE meal blood sugar. In effect, this method assumes that a green salad and a chocolate cake are equal.

Put that way, it sounds almost comical. The reason it isn’t at all funny is that for years it was the accepted medical approach. For some people, it still is.

We have to do MDI’s based on this “sliding scale” for our 2 year old…the “pre meal” sugar reading and insulin shot are only for any correction that may need to be done. We also have to give a shot based on how much we “think” he will eat…this leads to problems a lot of times and we have to end up giving him “bad carbs” (Popsicle’s, etc.,) because otherwise his BS will drop too low. If we wait until after he eats then we’re going against doctors recommendations. It’s a constant battle for us.

Unless sliding scale means ONLY that single shot (correction) but no other shot for food that the person is going to eat?

That is the traditional meaning, and one that many hospitals still employ, believe it or not. That is one of the reasons why “how do I manage my insulin in the hospital?” is a perennial discussion topic in forums such as this one.

That REALLY sounds like a BAD idea all around.

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For many years I was heavier than I should have been for my height and build. But it really came down to I was taking too much insulin. I was so afraid of highs that I was always going low and than I had to eat to feed the insulin. Happy to say, I have gotten over that major fear of highs and insulin levels are continuing to come down. So insulin doesn’t always mean weight gain but for some if taking to much you will gain due to the fact you have to eat to correct the lows. Just my 2 cents worth.


When I was given a slidong scale, they told me to test my BG before eating, then gave me a set number of units to take per meal, presumably anticipating that i would be eating something similar to the meal plan they recommended. In addition to the set amount, I was to add 1 unit for every 75 points I was above 150. I was told to do this before each meal, so that I’d always be chasing highs, and, with 150 being the “floor” for corrections, I’d never theoretically be going low.

I think I lasted less than a week on that plan before deciding I couldn’t deal with that approach!
(And, thanks to our dear, departed friend, @jrtpup, I learned how to count carbs.)


I was diagnosed in Nov 2008 and weighed like 150lbs (down from like 170lbs within a month thanks to diabetes). In 2009, I weighed in at 110lbs and have been able to maintain that weight ever since. I’ll be 30 this year, so we’ll see if the LBs start to pack on due to age :unamused:

I’m so sensitive to insulin, so I don’t take much (.23u per hour and barely zero bolus due to eating super low carb). So maybe that’s why I haven’t noticed weight gain from insulin???

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The way I lost weight was when Canagliflozen helped me pee out sugar. It’s frustrating!!! Today after a week of riding highs and waiting for insulin to bring it down I started a walk and saw BG was 91 and diagonal down arrow about an hour after meal. That means I can’t correct with a few glucose tabs. But I eat a few and head to the coffee shop with the CGM beginning to low alarm. I forget to order decaf and also get a huge peanut butter cookie. So I’m sitting not walking waiting for CGM to stop alarming. Is that better than continuing to eat. I literally cannot stand lows. But highs are an awful nagging. I hate that I can’t just get on with life but instead must act like I have an eating disorder. God sakes how diabetes has disrupted my plans. How many traumatic medical condition events have I faced after getting diabetes? More than anyone knows. I tried to prove I could do it all with diabetes for over forty one years. But I don’t have the energy of one my age who takes care of their health would expect to have. I looked twenty younger than my age because I followed a routine and ate mostly protein. Now I feel like twenty years older than my age.

Yes, you are exactly on it.

Aaron,I’m so sorry. It’s frustrating when people say if you do this, this and this you’ll get this. You can also set a high limit on your pump. You probably already know that. Sometimes it will help. but when you have other medical going on, you find you are alarming all the time. Ugh