Diabetes Weight Gain: Does Diabetes Cause Weight Gain?

Managing weight can be challenging for everyone. Add diabetes into the mix and getting to the ideal number on the scale can become even more complicated. Given that 85% of people living with diabetes are overweight, it’s understandable to be concerned about the relationship between diabetes and weight gain.

Insulin levels and weight gain: What’s the connection?

Insulin is the hormone that regulates the amount of blood glucose in your body by knowing when to store excess glucose and when to convert it to energy. Some people living with type 2 diabetes develop insulin resistance, which means that after a certain point, blood glucose is stored as fat instead of being used for energy. The unfair reality is that you may be carrying extra weight as a result.

Another possible culprit: Your diabetes medication

People living with type 1 diabetes, and some people with type 2 diabetes who require insulin, may have weight gain as a side effect of insulin therapy. This is because although insulin helps regulate glucose levels, it also promotes storage of body fat. People living with type 2 diabetes may need to take diabetes medication and may need to take insulin if other treatments haven’t been effective. Unfortunately, a common side effect of diabetes medication is weight gain.

Don’t despair! There may be other diabetes medications out there that can help you stay in range without unwanted pounds. Ask your doctor about metformin (Foramen, Glucophage, others), exenatide (Byetta), liraglutide (Victoza), albiglutide (Tarzeum), dulaglutide (Trulicity), sitagliptin (Januvia), saxagliptin (Onglyza), canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), empagliflozin (Jardiance) and pramlintide (Symlin). Sometimes it just takes a little time to find the medication that’s best for you.

Help! What can I do about diabetes and weight gain?

There are no shortcuts when it comes to reducing diabetes weight gain, but with consistent effort, your hard work should pay off. And there are a number of steps you can take to fight the battle of the bulge.

When it comes to your food plan, set yourself up for success

If you’re new to managing diabetes and watching what you eat, there may be an adjustment period as you move forward. As a first step, find out what should and shouldn’t be making regular appearances on your plate so you can avoid foods that may cause diabetes weight gain. There are lots of resources out there that can help you make the right choices to manage your diabetes that fit your lifestyle, such as the American Diabetes Association and the CDC.

Once you have a handle on what your daily menu should be, it’s time to make lifestyle changes that will maximize your diabetes management and minimize weight gain.

Try these tips for meals at home:

o            Plan ahead

o            Make a smart shopping list

o            Stock your pantry, fridge, and freezer

o            Stick to a regular meal schedule

Going to work or out for a meal? We’ve got you covered:

o            Pack lunch for the office

o            Check restaurant menus in advance

o            Bring a healthy dish to parties

o            Always have filling snacks on hand

Get creative! Think outside the box to stay on track:

  • Experiment! Go outside your food comfort zone
  • Find satisfying swaps for your high-carb, high calorie favorites
  • Make sure your drinks aren’t undoing all your hard work
  • Discover meals that work for your taste buds, wallet, waistline, and schedule

Get moving to reduce the chance of diabetes weight gain

An active lifestyle can help lower blood glucose levels and can help with diabetes weight management! The good news? It all counts – any movement is good movement. Exercise comes in many forms. Lots of everyday activities are good opportunities to increase your physical activity.

Here are a few ways you can get more active without major effort:

  • Walk instead of using the car
  • Get off the bus one stop before your destination
  • Skip the elevator – try the stairs instead

Try to think of simple steps you can take to move more within your daily routine.

Sleep well

Are you making sure you get a good night’s rest? If not, you may be sabotaging your efforts to minimize weight gain associated with diabetes. Research suggests that not sleeping enough can have an adverse effect on your metabolism, leading to extra pounds. When we’re tired, we tend to be less inclined to exercise and to crave high sugar, high carb foods.

Here are some ideas to help you get the sleep you need:

Set a sleep schedule

Studies have found that people with irregular sleep schedules have poorer quality sleep. The brain’s circadian rhythm (our internal sleep clock) operates optimally when we go to bed and wake up at the same time each night—including weekends. After a few weeks of sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, you may notice you no longer need an alarm!

Establish a bedtime routine

Bedtime routines consist of calming activities you do in the hour before bed. Whether it’s a warm bath, herbal tea or a good book, a personal sleep ritual leads to better rest. A nightly routine signals your brain that it’s bedtime. As you wind down, you’ll begin feeling sleepy and drift into a deep and peaceful slumber.

Limit nighttime eating

Studies show that eating large meals before bed is associated with lower sleep quality. Researchers say this could be because your body is still digesting while you sleep. Digestion leads to interruptions in your sleep cycle that prevent you from achieving deep sleep. Experts recommend leaving four hours between dinner and bedtime to achieve optimal sleep.

Don’t go it alone

Managing your weight while living with diabetes can be slow going. Lean on the people in your life who can make your journey easier.

Find a friend with similar goals and work together on meeting your milestones. Make it a family affair – get everyone on board and plan dinners together. Talk to your doctor, dietician, or Dario coach for inspiration and support. Join an online forum to get recipes and tips and to meet others on the same path.

You got this!

Diabetes and weight gain is not inevitable. Yes, it takes dedication, especially in the beginning. However, as time goes on, you may find yourself reaching for the dates instead of the cookies in the supermarket without too much thought. Incorporating some sort of exercise may become a daily habit, right up there with brushing your teeth and checking the news. Green vegetables may be greeted with pleasure at the dinner table. You get the idea…stick with it and hopefully you will see the benefits in how you look and how you feel.

Discover how Dario can make a difference

Want some extra help with managing weight gain and diabetes? Try Dario! Use our smart blood glucose monitoring system to keep track of your numbers and see all your results in the Dario App. The Dario App was designed to monitor your blood sugar, making it easier to see your blood sugar trends, count your carbs, and build healthy new habits.

You can also join the Dario Diabetes Success Plan for a personal health program that makes it even easier to keep an eye on diabetes and weight gain. Together, we can change your relationship with diabetes – putting you in the center, so you can take control. We’ll work with you on a plan that makes sense for you: Your numbers, your goals, your way!

Here’s what you get:

  • Unlimited test strips and lancets: Automatically delivered to your door when you run low
  • Your own Dario coach: Support when and how you need
  • Personalized plans and reports: Insights into how you’re doing and a path to help reach your goals
  • Health tips: All about diabetes & more, designed to help you succeed

Can diabetes cause weight gain? Sure. But it doesn’t have to. Hopefully now you have the tools to stay on top of your blood glucose levels, your weight, and your general health.

Medical Disclaimer
The articles provided on this website are for informational purposes only. In addition, it is written for a generic audience and not a specific case; therefore, this information should not be used for diagnostic or medical treatment. This site does not attempt to replace the patient-physician relationship and fully recommends the reader to seek out the best care from his/her physician and/or diabetes educator.





MK-0571 RevA