Insulin and weight gain: Keep the pounds off

Insulin and weight gain often go hand in hand, but weight control is possible. If you need insulin therapy, here's how to minimize — or avoid — weight gain. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Weight gain is a common side effect for people who take insulin — a hormone that regulates the absorption of sugar (glucose) by cells. However, controlling your weight is not only possible but also an important part of your overall diabetes management plan.

The link between insulin and weight gain

When you take insulin, glucose is able to enter your cells, and glucose levels in your blood drop. This is the desired therapeutic goal. However, if the number of calories you take in and your activity level result in more calories than you need to maintain a healthy weight, your cells will get more glucose than they need. Glucose that your cells don't use accumulates as fat.

Weight gain may also be related to other complex functions of insulin in the body related to how cells use fats and proteins.

Oct. 01, 2011 See more In-depth