Insulin helps your cells lose fat, not gain it. That’s one reason why people with diabetes often lose weight. However, insulin also affects appetite. When blood glucose levels are low, insulin signals the brain to stop eating. That helps the body control its energy balance. But when blood glucose levels are high, the hormone signals the brain to eat more. So high blood glucose levels often cause people to eat more and gain weight.
“When diabetes is severely uncontrolled, people frequently have had unintentional weight loss despite eating normally. This is really unhealthy for their bodies. When they start insulin, they are finally able to make proper use of the calories and carbohydrates in their food and with this comes weight regain,” explains endocrinologist Rachael Oxman.
Your body makes insulin, so you can take insulin medicine without affecting your weight. However, if you take insulin, you still need to exercise and eat a healthy diet. If metformin isn’t helping lower blood sugar levels, your doctor might give you insulin injections.
Only a doctor can tell you what insulin type is right for you. Many people with diabetes take both human and synthetic insulin. Insulin shots come in different strengths. Your doctor will prescribe a strength that matches your blood sugar levels. Your doctor might also recommend how much insulin to take. This will depend on a person’s body weight and activity level.
How does insulin help the body?
Insulin is a hormone that plays a key role in metabolism. It moves glucose, or blood sugar, from the bloodstream into cells, where it can be used for energy. When blood glucose levels are low, insulin activates the cells to take up glucose from the blood. The cells use the glucose to make energy. When blood glucose levels are high, insulin moves glucose out of the cells and into the blood. It lowers blood glucose levels so cells can burn the glucose for energy.