Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. The hormone regulates the levels of glucose in the blood and works by helping the cells of the body absorb glucose. Insulin causes weight gain when too much glucose is absorbed, and the body converts this into fat1.
Does insulin resistance cause weight gain? Insulin plays an important role in regulating levels of blood sugar and converts food energy into fat. In addition, helps break down proteins and fats. Insulin stimulates liver cells, fat and muscle during digestion to absorb glucose.
The cells either convert glucose into fat for long-term storage or use it for energy. However, eating more calories than the body requires leads to an excess of glucose in the body. The body will store this glucose in tissue as fat if the cells do not remove glucose from the blood.
When insulin is being used as a therapy for diabetes, the body may absorb too much of glucose from food, causing weight gain. On the contrary, if diabetes is not treated, it can cause weight loss because the body does not convert food into energy correctly. The key to solving this problem is insulin. For this reason, people may notice weight gain when they start taking insulin2.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin allows the cells in the body to absorb glucose and use is as energy or stores it in the body as fat. Glucose is also more likely to build up in the blood, leading to high levels of blood sugar levels. When the body becomes resistant to insulin, it produces more insulin to cope with absorbing glucose for energy.
People with insulin resistance often produce more insulin compared to healthy people. The condition is known as hyperinsulinemia.
Insulin plays many important roles in the body, including the regulation of blood glucose levels, storage of fat and breakdown of protein and fat.
However, if the body is producing an excess amount of insulin because of insulin resistance or diabetes medication, it can lead to weight gain. Insulin-related weight gain can be prevented with dietary and lifestyle changes, exercising regularly and eating unprocessed foods, for example, whole grains, vegetables and fruits to help prevent the storage of excess fat.
Insulin resistance and weight gain
Weight gain is a common symptom of insulin related medical conditions, including diabetes. Young adults with type 1 diabetes, compared to people who do not have diabetes have a higher risk of developing obesity.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 90% of people with type 2 diabetes either have obesity or are overweight. People with diabetes often experience weight gain as a side effect of insulin therapy.
Although insulin helps in the regulation of glucose levels, it also promotes the storage of fat in the body. Reducing excess body weight can help people manage symptoms of diabetes, moreover reverse insulin resistance.
If you are still struggling to maintain a healthy body weight even after making lifestyle and dietary changes, it is a good idea to consult a healthcare provider.
1.Szadkowska, A., Madej, A., Ziolkowska, K., Szymanska, M., Jeziorny, K., Mianowska, B., & Pietrzak, I. (2015). Gender and Age–Dependent effect of type 1 diabetes on obesity and altered body composition in young adults. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, 22(1).
2.Bhupathiraju, S. N., & Hu, F. B. (2016). Epidemiology of obesity and diabetes and their cardiovascular complications. Circulation research, 118(11), 1723-1735.
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