Will I lose weight if I stop insulin?

Living with diabetes can be difficult as the need to control blood sugar is higher and urgent than ever. Failing to maintain healthy level blood sugar as recommended by doctors may result in worsening of the disease progression. Ask a doctor and you will know how dangerous diabetes can be. Complications such as heart and blood (cardiovascular) vessel disease, nerve problems such as with neuropathy, eye disorders and kidney failure may happen in an uncontrolled diabetes. These complications can be life threatening. Hence, it is important for patients to control their diabetes by following doctor advice, adhering to their medications and practising healthy lifestyles.

However, certain medications used by patients with diabetes may actually lead to weight gain. Antidiabetic medications such as insulin may cause excessive weight. Patients might wonder if they can lose weight if they stop insulin. To answer this, it is best to understand more about insulin first.

Insulin is a vital hormone which regulates the body’s energy supply by controlling cells and tissue to absorb energy by regulating the blood sugar. Insulin is produced by the pancreas. Insulin resistance occurs when the cells in the body, specifically muscle, fat and liver cells, do not respond to insulin and are unable to utilise blood glucose for energy expenditure. Insulin resistance leads to the pancreas producing more insulin but since the body is unable to utilise it, insulin will not be used by the body efficiently and causes increased blood sugar level. Thus, insulin resistance is linked with diabetes. However, insulin resistance is not only associated with diabetes but also is associated with other metabolic diseases such as obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol.

Those receiving insulin have to understand that using antidiabetic drugs such as insulin helps to lower the risk for many complications such as heart attack and stroke. It is important to use insulin as directed by doctors. Often so, the dose of insulin may be changed as time goes by. Thus, it is necessary for patients to always follow up with a doctor so that the doctor can evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in controlling blood sugar.

Even so, due to the fact that insulin may be causing weight gain, some patients might consider stopping insulin as they think it will help them lose weight. The question now is, is it though? Yes, it may but there are a lot of problems in doing so. As we already know, diabetes is a condition caused by insulin resistance. This means that people with diabetes constantly need insulin to help control their blood sugar. Going on a day without insulin can be dangerous. It is true that some people are allowed to stop their insulin injection by doctor but it is rare and often backed by medical reasons. Hence, to stop insulin just for the sake of losing weight may not be the wise thing to do.

Truthfully, if you stop insulin, you may actually lose weight but due to diabetes diseases, your blood sugar level may be high again. Furthermore, when you start being on insulin again, the weight will definitely return. Such a pattern led to unhealthy weight loss patterns and risk for long-term complications such as heart and kidney diseases.

On the bright side, taking insulin and managing body weight is possible as long as the level of insulin is low. Remember, you are prohibited to change your insulin dosage without medical advice. Hence, how can you keep insulin low? The easiest yet hardest thing to do is to keep carbohydrates to a minimum. This means you should eat food or have drinks low in carbohydrates, especially simple sugar such as biscuits and candy. You should also understand how glycemic index works in a diet. Be careful to not go too low as too little calories may risk you for a hypoglycemic episode. Apart from paying close attention to carbohydrates, you may want to try to improve your lifestyle by getting enough sleep of at least 7 hours. Sleep deprivation can cause increased blood sugar. You should also try to be consistent with exercise such as walking and running as it can help train the body to utilise sugar and insulin to function better. It is recommended to at least have 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week which means 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. You may also want to try to learn how to de-stress as stress can lead to spike of blood sugar and impair insulin function. De-stress can be in the form of doing things you love such as listening to music and meditation.

In essence, you can lose weight if you stop insulin but this is certainly not a healthy way of managing body weight. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your body weight. Remember to discuss with doctors before engaging in anything that could help you lose weight and not to stop taking insulin without doctor’s instructions.

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