Diabetes and weight gain

Metabolic weight gain

Metabolic weight gain

Diabetes is chronic medical problem where a person affected is unable to properly process the blood sugar. Can diabetes lead to weight gain?

Diabetes and weight gain

Insulin is a key player in developing type 2 diabetes. This vital hormone—you can’t survive without it—regulates blood sugar (glucose) in the body, a very complicated process. Here are the high points:

  • The food you eat is broken down into blood sugar.
  • Blood sugar enters your bloodstream, which signals the pancreas to release insulin.
  • Insulin helps blood sugar enter the body’s cells so it can be used for energy.
  • Insulin also signals the liver to store blood sugar for later use.
  • Blood sugar enters cells, and levels in the bloodstream decrease, signaling insulin to decrease too.
  • Lower insulin levels alert the liver to release stored blood sugar so energy is always available, even if you haven’t eaten for a while.

Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance

In type 2 diabetes, the problem is not lack of production of insulin but lack of response to the hormone insulin due to what is called insulin resistance. Find out if you might be insulin resistant using this free w8md tool called insulin resistance calculator.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t easily take up glucose from your blood. As a result, your pancreas makes more insulin to help glucose enter your cells. As long as your pancreas can make enough insulin to overcome your cells’ weak response to insulin, your blood glucose levels will stay in the healthy range.

How does insulin resistance lead to weight gain?

Insulin is one of the most anabolic hormone known to man as excess insulin, which is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes, leads to significant weight gain.

How does excess insulin lead to weight gain and type 2 diabetes? Here is how the process works:

  • lot of blood sugar enters the bloodstream.
  • The pancreas pumps out more insulin to get blood sugar into cells.
  • Over time, cells stop responding to all that insulin—they’ve become insulin resistant.
  • The pancreas keeps making more insulin to try to make cells respond.
  • Eventually, the pancreas can’t keep up, and blood sugar keeps rising.

Lots of blood sugar in the bloodstream is very damaging to the body and needs to be moved into cells as soon as possible.

Diabetes and weight gain – how does it work?

There’s lots of insulin, too, telling the liver and muscles to store blood sugar. When they’re full, the liver sends the excess blood sugar to fat cells to be stored as body fat. Yep, weight gain. And what’s more serious, the stage is set for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Watch this amazing tedtalk video on how insulin resistance leads to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and why blaming the obese is blaming the victim.


Does exercise help with reducing risk of type 2 diabetes?

If you have diabetes, physical activity can help you manage the condition along with your weight. Being active makes you more sensitive to insulin (the hormone that allows cells in your body to use blood sugar for energy). Your body won’t need to make as much insulin or you won’t need to take as much. Lower insulin levels can help prevent fat storage and weight gain.

There are two types of diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2. In type 1 diabetes, which tends be a bit more genetically related than type 2, a person affected is unable to produce enough insulin in their pancreas to meet the demands of the body thereby leading to an increase in the person’s blood sugar.

Types of diabetes

On the other hand, a person with type 2 diabetes is able to produce a lot of insulin initially but their bodies are not responding to the hormone called insulin due to what is called insulin resistance.  Most people with diabetes—9 in 10—have type 2 diabetes which often is diagnosed in adults although it is increasingly being diagnosed in children.

There is a third type of diabetes called gestational diabetes which develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby could be at higher risk for health complications. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after your baby is born but increases your risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.



In the US, 84.1 million adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes, and 90% of them don’t know they have it. Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Diabetes statistics

  • 30.3 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 in 4 of them don’t know they have it.
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US.
  • Diabetes is the No. 1 cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and adult-onset blindness.
  • In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripledas the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese.

How can W8MD help?

Our W8MD’s insurance physician weight loss program

  • a consultation, under the guidance of trained physician with experience in treating obesity, its associated conditions and a wide variety of sleep disorders.
  • instruction on nutritional programs teaching you about metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance and whether you are at risk to the proper amount of low glycemic foods you should be eating on a daily basis to fit your needs as well as fats, protein, and carbohydrates.
  • how often, and the proper times you should be eating during the day.  individualized weight loss plan with all of the right ingredients and a partnership to help you reach your goal weight.
  • a loss of between 2-4 pounds a week with nutritious, easy to prepare, pre-portioned, low-glycemic food. If you work the program, the program will work for you!
  • Most insurances are accepted. Our self pay consultation is only $130.00 which includes the program cost and up to two appetite suppressant medications.

Also read on diabetes and weight

Frequently asked questions on diabetes and weight gain

* Does insulin cause weight gain?
* Which diabetes causes weight gain?
* Can you reverse insulin resistance?
* Will metformin make you gain weight?
* Which Insulin helps with weight loss?
* Are eggs good for insulin resistance?
* How does insulin get rid of belly fat?
* How do I know if I’m insulin resistant?
* Does insulin resistance make you hungry?
* Is rapid weight gain a sign of diabetes?
* Are bananas good for insulin resistance?
* How can I avoid gaining weight on insulin?
* What are the warning signs of prediabetes?
* What exercise is best for insulin resistance?
* How does insulin resistance lead to weight gain?
* What are the symptoms of being insulin resistant?
* Can insulin resistance keep you from losing weight?
* What is the best medication for insulin resistance?
* Does insulin resistance make you hungry all the time?
* Does insulin resistance make it harder to lose weight?
* What is the best weight loss diet for insulin resistance?

Glossary of terms

  • A


    See Hemoglobin A1C Test. 


    A statistical process applied to rates of disease, death, injuries or other health outcomes that allows communities with different age structures to be compared.


    A procedure to cut off a limb, such as a foot, from the body. See Non-Traumatic Lower-Limb Amputation. 


    Beta Cell

    A cell located in the pancreas that makes insulin.

    Blood Cholestrol

    A type of fat produced by the liver and found in the blood. Cholesterol is also found in some foods. The body uses cholesterol to make hormones and build cell walls.

    Blood Glucose

    The main sugar found in the blood and the body’s main source of energy.

    Blood Pressure

    The force of blood exerted on the inside walls of blood vessels. Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers with units of millimeters of mercury (mmHg). For example, a blood pressure result of 120/80 mmHg is said as “120 over 80.” The first number is the systolic pressure, or the pressure when the heart pushes blood into the arteries. The second number is the diastolic pressure, or the pressure when the heart rests.

    Blood Lipid

    See Blood Cholestrol.

    Body Mass Index (BMI)

    A measure used to evaluate body weight relative to a person’s height. BMI is used to find out if a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.

    Bubble Chart

    See Motion Chart.


    Cardiovascular Disease

    Disease of the heart and blood vessels (arteries, capillaries, and veins).


    See Blood Cholestrol.

    Chronic Kidney Disease

    Any condition that causes reduced kidney function over a period of time. CKD is present when a patient’s glomerular filtration rate remains below 60 milliliters per minute for more than 3 months. CKD may develop over many years and lead to end-stage renal disease. Also see End-Stage Renal Disease.

    Confidence Interval

    A confidence interval gives an estimated range of values that is likely to include an unknown population parameter.


    In the Diabetes Atlas application, the data does not have breaks; therefore, the data are continuous, in a selected range of values. The data are not grouped into classes.

    Coronary Heart Disease

    Heart disease caused by narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. If the blood supply is cut off the result is a heart attack.

    County Equivalent

    A unit of local government in certain states that is comparable to a county (e.g., parish, borough, and municipality). An area defined by the US Census Bureau for statistical purposes in which no county-level government exits. The District of Columbia is also considered a “county equivalent.”


    When referring to a rate, the crude is an overall or summary rate for a population, without adjustment (i.e., the raw estimate).



    A mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.


    A condition characterized by hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) resulting from the body’s inability to use blood glucose for energy. Also see Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.

    Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

    An emergency condition in which extremely high blood glucose levels, along with a severe lack of insulin, result in the breakdown of body fat for energy and an accumulation of ketones in the blood and urine. Signs of DKA are nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, fruity breath odor, and rapid breathing. Untreated DKA can lead to coma and death.

    Diabetic Retinopathy

    Causes vision damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. Loss of vision may result, and is also called diabetic eye disease.

    Diagnosed Diabetes

    In the Diabetes Atlas application, a person is considered to have diagnosed diabetes if a doctor or other health professional had ever told that he or she had diabetes. Women who were told they only had diabetes during pregnancy are not considered to have diabetes.


    The process of cleaning wastes from the blood artificially. This job is normally done by the kidneys. If the kidneys fail, the blood must be cleaned artificially with special equipment. The two major forms of dialysis are hemodialysis (using a machine to clean wastes from the blood after the kidneys have failed) and peritoneal dialysis (using the lining of the abdominal cavity, or belly, as a filter to clean the blood).


    End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

    Total and permanent kidney failure. When the kidneys fail, the body retains fluid. Harmful wastes build up. A person with ESRD needs treatment to replace the work of the failed kidneys.

    Equal Intervals

    Classification method that sets the value ranges in each category equal in size. The entire range of data values (max—min) is divided equally into the number of categories chosen.

    Erectile Dysfunction

    Also called impotence, is the inability to get or maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse.


    Gestational Diabetes

    A type of diabetes that only develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after delivery. It increases the mother’s risk of developing diabetes later in life. GDM is managed with meal planning, physical activity, and, in some cases, medication.

    Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)

    Measure of kidney function, the rate at which the kidneys filter wastes and extra fluid from the blood, measured in milliliters per minute.


    See Blood Glucose.

    Glycosylated Hemoglobin

    See Hemoglobin A1C Test.


    High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol

    A fat found in the blood that takes extra cholesterol from the blood to the liver for removal, sometimes called “good” cholesterol. Also see Blood Cholesterol.

    Hemoglobin A1C Test

    Measure of a person’s average blood glucose level over the past 2 to 3 months. Hemoglobin is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells and sometimes joins with the glucose in the bloodstream. The test shows the amount of glucose that sticks to the red blood cell, which is proportional to the amount of glucose in the blood. Results are given as a percentage or as an average glucose value.

    Hyperglycemic Crisis

    See Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

    Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar State

    An emergency condition in which one’s blood glucose level is very high and ketones are not present in the blood or urine. If not treated, it can lead to coma or death.


    Also called high blood pressure, a condition present when blood flows through the blood vessels with a force greater than normal. Hypertension can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, and death.


    Also called low blood glucose, a condition that occurs when one’s blood glucose is lower than normal, usually below 70 mg/dL. Signs include hunger, nervousness, shakiness, perspiration, dizziness or light-headedness, sleepiness, and confusion. If left untreated, hypoglycemia may lead to unconsciousness.


    Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG)

    A condition in which a fasting blood glucose test shows a level of glucose higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IFG, also called prediabetes, is a level of 100 to 125 mg/dL. People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

    Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT)

    A condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IGT, also called prediabetes, is a level of 140 to 199 mg/dL 2 hours after the start of an oral glucose tolerance test. People with prediabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.


    See Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity.


    A measure of the frequency with which new cases of illness, injury, or other health condition occur expressed explicitly per a time frame. Incidence rate is calculated as the number of new cases over a specified period divided either by the average population (usually mid-period) or by the cumulative person-time the population was at risk, also known as the number or rate of new cases of a disease in a given time period.


    A hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin, insulin is taken by injection or other means.

    Insulin Pump

    This insulin-delivering device is about the size of a deck of cards and can be worn on a belt or kept in a pocket. An insulin pump connects to narrow, flexible plastic tubing that ends with a needle inserted just under the skin. Users set the pump to give a steady trickle or basal amount of insulin continuously throughout the day. Pumps release bolus doses of insulin at meals and at times when blood glucose is too high, based on doses set by the user.

    Insulin Resistance

    The body’s inability to respond to and use the insulin it produces. Insulin resistance may be linked to obesity, hypertension, and high levels of fat in the blood.

    Ischemic Heart Disease

    See Coronary Heart Disease.




    See Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

    Kidney Disease

    See Chronic Kidney Disease


Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA)

A type of diabetes, usually first diagnosed after age 30, in which people show signs of both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Most people with LADA still produce their own insulin when first diagnosed and do not require insulin injections. Some experts believe that LADA is a slowly developing kind of type 1 diabetes because patients have antibodies against the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Several years after diagnosis, people with LADA must take insulin to control blood glucose levels.

Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity

In the Diabetes Atlas application, a person is considered to be physically inactive if he or she reported not participating in physical activity or exercise in the past 30 days.


See Blood Cholesterol.

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol

A fat found in the blood that takes cholesterol around the body to where it is needed for cell repair and also deposits it on the inside of artery walls; sometimes is called “bad” cholesterol. Also see Blood Cholesterol.

Lower-Limb Amputation

See Non-Traumatic Lower-Limb Amputation.

Lower Limit

The minimum or lowest value used in a confidence interval. Also see Confidence Interval.


Macrovascular disease

Disease of the large blood vessels such as atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

Macular Edema

Swelling in the macula, the part of the retina in the eye, used for reading and seeing fine detail.

Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY)

A monogenic (i.e., related to a single gene) form of diabetes that usually first occurs during adolescence or early adulthood.


Measure of central location that divides a set of data into two equal parts, above and below which lie an equal number of values.

Microvascular disease

Disease of the smallest blood vessels, such as those found in the eyes, nerves, and kidneys.

Motion Chart

A motion chart that uses bubble-like symbols to show flow diagrams of data across time.


Natural Breaks

A classification method used to identify groupings that naturally exist in the data. The classes or “breaks” (i.e., categories or intervals) are selected using a statistical process that determines the “break points” where there are relatively big jumps in the data values to best group similar values and to maximize the differences between classes.


Disease of the kidneys causing damage that allows protein to leak out of the kidneys into the urine. Damaged kidneys can no longer remove wastes and extra fluid from the bloodstream.


Disease of the nervous system that causes muscle weakness, pain, and numbness. The most common form of neuropathy in people with diabetes is peripheral neuropathy, which affects the legs and feet.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Fat in the liver which can lead to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis—a common liver disease that occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol—and chronic liver disease. NAFLD can be a complication of insulin resistance and diabetes.

Non-Traumatic Lower-Limb Amputation

A procedure to remove through surgery damaged feet or legs, where the injury was not caused by trauma (e.g., the injury was not caused by a car accident).



A condition in which a greater than normal amount of fat is in the body; more severe than overweight; having a body mass index of 30 or more. See Body Mass Index.


Periodontal Disease

Disease of the gums in the mouth.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

A condition in which the large blood vessels of the legs are narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits, decreasing blood flow to the legs and feet. Also called peripheral vascular disease, PAD is marked chiefly by cramping pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling in the legs and it increases the chances of amputation, heart attack, and stroke.

Physical Inactivity

See Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity.


A condition classified in people who have blood glucose or hemoglobin A1C levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. People with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.


The number or rate of existing disease cases at a given point in time.



A classification method used to group data into a certain number of categories with an equal number of units in each category, (e.g., tertiles or 3 categories, quartiles or 4 categories, quintiles or 5 categories).


Classification method used to divide data into four classes. The data are arranged in sequence from low to high values and the number of individual observations is counted. The observations are then divided into four classes, with each class containing the same number of observations.



Relationship among a set of estimates such that, for any two estimates, the first is either ‘ranked higher than’, ‘ranked lower than,’ or ‘ranked equal to’ the second.


An expression used to measure the relative frequency that an event occurs among a defined population per unit of time. It is often used more casually to refer to proportions.


Suppressed Data

Data that are not made available because the estimate is unreliable (e.g., due to a small sample size or small cell values or to a large variance).


Type 1 Diabetes

A condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by a total lack of insulin. This occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people but can appear in adults.

Type 2 Diabetes

A condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older adults but can appear in children, teens, and young people.

  • UUpper LimitThe maximum or highest value limit used in a confidence interval. See Confidence Interval.

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