Low A1C = Weight Gain

Does anyone feel this way? I have recently lowered my a1c from 7.0 to 6.0 and have gained 7 lbs in the process that don’t seem to want to come off. I have had to treat a lot more lows, but have tried to stick to glucose tabs or dried cranberries or blueberries instead of m&ms. I mean, I think I should be rewarded for lowering my a1c, don’t you? Has anyone else experienced this? thoughts? opinions? emotional support please!

Do you think this just because you have had to treat a lot of lows in getting your A1C down there, or is there some other correlation you see between the two things, Abbey?

I personally think it would be the opposite because many people achieve lower A1Cs by eating less carbs which also means needing less insulin.

I almost feel there are two topics to this thread: How and why a lower A1C would cause weight gain (or if, in fact there is some other cause such as increased food, less exercise, changes in metabolism as you get older, insulin resistance, etc). Plus the question of whether a lower A1C always comes at the cost of increased lows.

My experience was different. I lowered my A1C1 to where it always falls between 6 adn 6.5. I lost weight doing it. I did not follow a low carb diet, but as I lost weight, I needed less insulin and adjusted for that.

I have definitely experienced this. I know there have been lots of comments on here about people saying that when they take more insulin (which often happens when you increase insulin dosages to get in better control) they tend to gain weight. I’m not sure what the physiology behind this is, but I think the phenomenon is there.

I guess what I’m saying is, there are definitely others who have had this same experience. It sucks, and I can totally sympathize. I don’t know why it happens, but it can, so I’m here to give you some emotional support and let you know you’re not alone. :slight_smile:

I’ll be following this thread to see if anyone has an explanation for why this happens too. :slight_smile:

Well… Only if you artificially lowered it by increasing your insulin dosage… Rather than cutting back on your carbohydrates. Definitely, a raise in insulin would raise your weight. Insulin is a fat storing hormone. It’s what it does… store glucose as fat when there’s too much.

Yes, I know it is possible to gain weight when your A1c is lowered because when you are high your body is not able to use all the food you eat for energy (excreted with urine); your body is only using some of it. Once you are getting the proper amount of insulin, you are able to use all the food you eat for energy. So you may have to eat less, exercise more. Or try lowering carbs slightly. Not sure how much insulin contributes to weight gain if you are eating the appropriate number of calories per day. Not sure how many calories/carbs per day you will need to maintain weight, using insulin. Congratulations on lowering the A1c. I’m sure you will get the weight off.

How did you lower your A1c? By increasing insulin? Or by cutting carbs?

this is what my dr has always said…lower a1c i gain…higher a1c i lose weight…he says when i’m high my body eats my fat for energy therefore resulting in weight loss because there is less fat on my body, just as you mentioned. both can happen on the same amount of carbs and even exercise i’ve noticed. i can be a bum, be sloppy with my insulin and lose weight but on the other hand i can exercise like crazy and have excellent sugars and gain haha. i’m sticking with the excellent sugars and the gain…i’m not overweight so there is no concern for me to gain a few extra pounds yet!!

oh and i’d rather have better control by taking insulin instead of cutting carbs and starving

For what it’s worth, here’s my story. I switched from shots to a pump (omnipod) in April. My HbA1c has improved since then. When I dropped from 7.0 to 6.2 in the first 3 months on the pump, I gained 5 or 6 lbs. I think it was mainly due to correcting the increased lows as I tried to learn to use the pump correctly (temp basals and all that were new to me after years of shots). Then when I dropped from 6.2 to 5.4 in the next couple months, I lost 10 lbs. I think it had a lot to do with learning how to handle the regime better and thus correcting for less lows after the first few months (so I lost the extra glucotab/juice weight). So maybe you are going through an adjustment period?

Congrats on the awesome A1c improvement!

I lowered A1c with no weight gain by reducing carbs. Less carbs=less insulin.

the physiology behind it is basically that insulin not only allows glucose to enter the cells (where in case of fat cells it can be converted to fat), but it also supresses the breakdown of fat and to some extent the body’s own glucose production (in the liver - from gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis). insulin is an anabolic hormone, so it promotes muscle growth, but as well fat storage.

from your picture you still look like your in good condition. whats a few pounds between friends?

If you are active Abbey, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Insulin is a pretty powerful anabolic hormone. Considering the kind of tissue wasting that occurs when your diabetes is uncontrolled, it makes perfect sense that better control will rebuild and preserve tissue. The first thing that happened to me many moons ago when my A1C first dropped after diagnosis was to gain back, in a month, the 20 lbs I lost from tissue wasting. Over the next few months, I put on 20 more from exercise as my A1c continured to drop…

It’s true that without insulin, you can’t store fat, but you can’t store glycogen or build muscle without it either. With glycogen storage you will get more water retention and with muscle growth comes lean mass. Either of those can add pounds faster than storing fat. Personally, I’ll fluctuate 2 to 5 lbs weekly just on glycogen loss and storage alone.

Yeah, if you’re just chomping down on a lb of M&Ms every day, you might be concerned. But, short of increasing your carb intake substantially without an increase in activity level, you might just be reaching a new equilibrium point.

Wow. Thanks for all of the advice and support folks! I have lowered my A1C, I am eating less carbs and more protein and my total daily dose has decreased. My exercise level is the same as it always has been. I think there might be two culprits, eating for a lot of lows and perhaps decreased metabolism. I am almost 30. I guess I just might have to step up the exercise routine and decrease the amount of lows I’ve been having so I can get back to my comfortable zone.

that’s one of the biggest frustrations with lowering your A1C. As it’s been explained to me, when you’re numbers are in better control it means your body is more appropriately absorbing the nutrients (ie: calories) from the food you eat. Therefor, even though you may not be eating any more/ differently, you are likely to gain weight. Ultimately it’s all for the best since the better your A1C, the lower your risk for long term complications, but it’s still really annoying. Hang in there!

Thanks Stevie:)

Have you tried strength training ;build muscle will help prevent fat gain . And by the way I had the same problem but exercise has been my biggest help.