Makes me fat

Hello Everyone

One of the most annoying this since my diagnosis, is I the the added fat spread across my whole body. I’ve heard insulin adds weight on you.

Any tips?

Food adds weight if you consume more calories than you burn.

If your current injected/pumped insulin is too much, you may be eating more to keep from going low.

Cut back on both food and insulin to maintain BG in range for your goals. Carbs require the most insulin. Find meal choices that mix carbs with proteins/fats since this will help slow down digestion of carbs.

Everyone is different and you will have to find what works for you.


You may want to try a low-carb, high-fat diet for a few months to see how much weight you lose. Then you can evaluate and rebalance your insulin needs with your exercise plan and work out the ideal diet that keeps you where you want to be weight-wise.

So many factors are involved that giving you more tips without knowing more about your situation is challenging. Insulin is also highly inflammatory, so increasing insulin may contribute indirectly to your weight gain, plaque development in your arteries, and a heart condition later on.

Sometime before you started using insulin the odds were you were eating more food than you needed. But you weren’t actually utilizing that food and some or a lot of it was going through you because you couldn’t utilize it properly without enough insulin production. And you have a tendency to be hungrier because you actually can’t utilize the food you were eating. It’s why a lot of type 1’s actually lose weight before diagnosis. So you probably need less food than you are now eating.

Another big problem people make when they start insulin is they eat to what insulin they took. Meaning you take a dose and then you have to eat for that dose, whether you want to eat that much or not. I find prebolusing half before and then the rest to what I actually ate helps stop that. It doesn’t have to be half, it’s whatever amount works for you. The idea being is you actually dose for what you want to eat, instead of eating because of your dosing. This can happen if a basal rate is too high too.

And another possible issue being new (or an old timer), is if you drop “too low” and then you eat extra food to stop it. It’s hard to get dosing right, especially in the honeymoon phase when it can be erratic, but try to avoid going too low so you are not eating extra for it. Another thing that can happen when you go “too low” is you easily eat too much to compensate for it. We can get starving. Hopefully you have a CGM, preferably a Dexcom where you can see you are trending low to catch it early.

Intermittent fasting by not eating starting in the evening or early night, or less meals can help. Your basal rate has to be accurate for that to work though. An accurate basal rate will help all your dosing.


Are you serious? Somebody once told me insulting has no side effects besides ‘lows’.

You seem to say it got a whole list of negative long terms effects

Insulin is a lifesaver for diabetics but it does not come without risks. Most folks outside of a major city can not survive without a car, but by the same token a car that is mishandled can easily become a death trap. Most every reward in life comes with risk. The trick is to manage risk adequately to optimize the rewards


Are you diagnosed as a Type 1? Type 2 or other? If you are Type 2, I would highly recommend looking at:

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I didn’t gain too much weight from insulin until I started looping with my tandem pump. Because I was in better control, I was hanging on to those calories.
When I reduce my intake I crash so it’s a very tough ride for type 1s especially.
I switched to a high carb low fat diet to see if I could reduce my insulin needs and it helped with that, but I wasn’t losing weight and my longer more intense workouts required me to eat more carbs to keep up with it, and it sort of defeats the purpose.
So finally I started to do intermittent fasting.
Staying with the mastering diabetes diet, but I eat 2 meals a day lunch and early dinner. Then on weekends I eat only 1 meal at dinner time.
I noticed something crazy and that is if I’m fasting, I don’t go low during exercise.
My body switches into ketosis and burns fat and I stop using glucose for the most part. My 6 mile hike today I started at 120 and I finished at 115 with no help from carbs.

I didn’t know I can have the best of both worlds, where I can use ketosis to burn fat and still be on a high carb low fat diet.

The down sides are that fasting for 24 hours is difficult for most people, but I actually like how I feel. My stomach feels empty but not hungry. The second down side is switching back and forth. When I finally eat my dinner, I need more insulin for it than I normally would. So my 6unit dinner at 75 carbs takes 11 units to stay in range. That’s almost twice the insulin, but still a lot less than if I ate 3 meals.

I then return to normal when I eat 2 meals a day on Monday. I can eat the exact same meal as Sunday and still need just 6 units.

I am learning a lot about metabolism, and I’ve been doing this for 35 years, I thought I knew it down pat.

In 8 weeks I’ve dropped 15lbs. And I feel like I can keep on it. I want to lose 20 more.

Like I said it’s not for everyone, but if you try fasting, you might find out it’s easier than you might think.

There are hundreds of different diets. Not just low carb, or high carb but a lot of different ones, you just need to find the one that you like enough to stick with.

The truth is, insulin causes weight gain and you take more insulin with more food. So if you eat less, you will need less insulin.
For me I’ve calculated it all out. 45 units of insulin total daily dose is maintaining my weight. If I’m taking more, I can be sure I am gaining and if I use less, I know I’m losing weight.
But everyone’s insulin needs are different, and before I started mastering diabetes, I was using up to 65 units a day. Today I’ll use 34Most likely. M-f I’ll use 42-43 probably.


Very true statement “everyone’s needs are different”.

T1 and T2 Are the first big difference, but we share many of the same maladies.

I’m the same weight I was at age 25, shortly before I became ill. I’m dealing with almost 30 years of T1 DM. I don’t think it’s the insulin that causes weight gain but because insulin is present, it stops the hyperglycaemia that causes glucose to spill in urine, so it has to go somewhere: into the cells.

I lost about 25 lbs prior to my diagnosis, and gained it back after getting on insulin. But no additional weight gain for me, possibly a mixture of good luck, an appetite for exercise, and good eating habits.

I’m fairly active, on insulin pump, getting 32-34 units a day, 40% basal and 60% bolus. I follow no special diet except I rarely eat “junk”. Mostly cook at home, meats, poultry, fish, etc and veggies and moderate carbs: 40 g carbs at breakfast and at lunch, 70 g dinner. I rarely snack but if I’m quite active like biking, skiing, etc, I reduce my basal and often need extra carbs anyway.

But everyone is different, and that’s my experience.

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I gained 10 pounds within the first 2 months on Lantus (started last summer at age 79 after 24 years with diet, exercise the first 11, and metformin/glipizide added the last 13) – a little over a pound a week. That was with up to 40 Units per day. Now that I’m 80 and have increased the insulin to 50 Units per day, I’ve added a few more pounds. Going to have to start exercising again, because I’m already eating as little as possible. Any other type 2s here doing this?

I weigh what I weighed in high school, but at 72 years old with 64 years with Type 1, I now am almost two inches shorter than I used to be. I would like to be 5 lbs thinner, but I haven’t cut down on my calories or increased my exercise enough to lose. I just don’t care enough to put in the effort at this point. I am at a very healthy weight.

I have never believed that insulin makes me gain weight and I have been on many different kinds of insulin. I too follow the Mastering Diabetes way of eating. I eat a lot of healthy carbs consisting of any kind of vegetables, lots of fruit and whole grains. Also lots of beans, lentils, peas etc. I have heart disease, so I chose a diet which helps me control plaque and keeps my lipids in excellent control. I don’t snack and I don’t eat junk food. I take between 17 and 20 units of insulin daily and eat around 265 healthy carbs.

The only time I gain weight is when I am taking a bit too much insulin which causes me to eat in order to correct hypoglycemia.


I am type 2 on a pump. I have not gained weight but lost weight since starting MDI/pump. The thing you have to know about insulin is that too much insulin can cause hypoglycemia and too much food, especially carbohydrates, covered by insulin can cause weight gain. These are not really side effects but just what insulin does whether endogenous or exogenous. Excess blood glucose plus enough insulin will cause the liver to convert that excess BG to triglycerides which are then stored in fat cells.

You posted this under type 1 LADA so assuming your are type 1 or LADA. The thing that drives type 2 is cellular resistance to insulin. This is genetic and being type 1 doesn’t protect one from having those same genetic variants that cause our cells to resist the action of insulin.

My suggestion is to reduce overall daily calories including carbohydrates, while reducing your bolus since you won’t need as much. Getting the right amount of food and insulin should stop and reverse the weight gain.

If there is strong insulin resistance, the only thing I know that really helps with that is regular, like daily, exercise. In any case that is good for everybody with or without diabetes.

One of the problems that insulin resistance causes is fatigue, making it hard to want to exercise. Starting with short walks, increasing the duration. When you can do 30 minutes straight, pick up the pace. Not necessarily running or jogging but really brisk. This is a good place to be. Keep a watch on your BG readings as you will probably need to reduces your total daily dose including basal.

Good luck on your interesting journey learning to properly manage what should be an automatic system.


I discovered lentil pasta. It’s nearly as good as wheat pasta with far fewer carbs. The nice thing about it, is I can get some extra protein from it, all while it feels like eating PASTA.
My continual problem with Mastering Diabetes WOE is getting enough protein, and this helps.
A man can only eat so many garbanzos


I will look for it. Thanks!

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Is it this one by Barilla?
If it is, I’ll track it down but it is not currently available where I live :confused:

Insulin allows cells to take in glucose for energy. Excess glucose is stored as fat. Insulin will not make you fat, eating to much will.

Eat less carbs, take less insulin.

As others have said, it’s all about your calories in vs. calories out. Eat too much, you’ll gain weight. Eat too little, you’ll lose weight. It’s physics/chemistry!

Timothy … you switched to a high carb low fat diet? Did you mean the opposite?

“Eat less to weigh less” isn’t a very useful explanation when someone wants to understand why taking insulin results is resulting in weight gain.

Injected insulin is not a simple substitute for a pancreas that can no longer do its job. It takes intelligence to replace what one of the body’s analog computers evolved to do. Before it failed the owner of the pancreases learned to do things with the insulin delivery on auto-pilot. Many of these became habits.

Assuming that someone started off with stable weight, and temporarily less-well managed blood glucose, then injecting insulin perfectly to restore BG control would:

  • immediately lower average BG
  • decrease insulin resistance
  • restore their body’s efficiency in converting food to energy.
  • restore their caloric needs

But before diagnosis all four of these would have been abnormal. The response to inadequate insulin would be hunger, thirst, decreased efficiency, higher BG and increased insulin resistance. Often there would be a loss of weight, strength and hydration. If this happened over a month, that was long enough to change eating habits and sense of satiety.

Once insulin was being supplied again, your instinct would be to regain what your body lost.

But there’s a complication. Even when returned to former eating and activity routines, injected insulin will rarely match exactly what a healthy pancreas does. And every time that low BG makes the body hungry and it responds by eating too much, correcting the resulting high BG with insulin will cause the excess to be stored as fat.

The “fix” for this is to correct high BG before meals with less food, not more insulin, using the carb correction factor Carbs/BG ratio. It’s calculated using the correction ratio and the insulin to carb ratio.

For a ICF of 1: Xmg/dL and a CF of 1:Yg carb > X/1 = 1/1Y > CCF=Xmg/dL:Ycarbs
with numbers ICF= 1:10 CF- 1:30, CCF = 30mg/dl:10g carbs or 3:1

This is where the 15 grams of carbs for reacting to hypo symptoms comes from.
15 grams is enough to raise BG by 45 mg/dL or from 58mg/dL to 103 mg/dL.

But it works just as well in reverse to correct high in range BG. After calculating insulin for a planned meal, you can use CCF to correct for any high, subtract that amount of carbs and escape creeping weight gain.

You could use exercise to do the same thing, work off the excess BG, but it’s less convenient and the effect is less predictable.

Over a lifetime it’s best to optimize your lifestyle and match your insulin to it, but being able to correct for highs and lows with food or insulin provide a lot of flexibility in handling unpredictable problems.

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Yes Barilla makes a good one, but there are others. Birds eye makes a premade frozen lentil pasta with sauce included but it’s not really what I would eat because it’s got oil and preservatives, but I’ve tried it and it’s tasty. Trader Joe’s makes one under their brand and it’s good 35 carbs 9 G protein. And I can put anything I want on it.

I eat the mastering diabetes diet which is high carb and low fat. I know it seems odd but it really works for me. By carbs I mean whole food carb not bread and pasta but I eat potatoes and corn and all those high carb veggies.
I restrict fat and oil even vegetable oil because the theory is that fats cause a loss of insulin sensitivity, so you can take less insulin and eat more carbs at the same time.

It took me a long time to wrap my head around it, but it’s also a plant based diet with no meat, but I do eat lean meat once a week at this point.

I learned that fasting causes ketosis and when I switch back to carbs for my meals I have low insulin sensitivity because of the presence of ketones. But after a while it returns to normal.

So my only issues are that of switching between ketogenesis and glycogenesis, and I didn’t expect this from fasting, I thought it was only a problem with eating high fat low carb, and then switching to high carb low fat. But in reality, when we lose weight we make ketones and ketones effect insulin sensitivity
I’m ok with this situation as long as I’m losing weight and after I reach my goal, I will stop fasting and go back to Mastering diabetes high carb, low fat diet. .
It’s a concept that hit me by surprise and I have not seen it written about anywhere, but I think I’m understanding why it happens and it makes sense to me now.
I spoke to my doctor who warned me to not go ketogenesis too often or too long because of the risk of diabetic keto acidosis, but when I fast, I check my ketones and I feel fine even when I exercise while fasting, no hunger and no low glucose too, because ketones also keeps your sugar from crashing because you are not using glucose as your energy source. But he also said, yea ketones make you less sensitive to insulin so take more