Question: Can insulin cause​ weight gain?

Question and AnswerQuestion and Answer

Elevated insulin and metabolic syndrome can result in weight gain.


Obesity and metabolic syndrome are parts of the same illness. To understand the spectrum of disorders that are obesity and metabolic syndrome, you must fully understand how insulin and insulin resistance play a part in weight gain. If you understand this complex dance, understanding weight loss and weight gain is simple.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Our body produces insulin in response to an elevation in blood sugar. Blood sugar elevations are very bad for our bodies. Insulin tells our body that it needs to take up blood sugar into our cells and store for future use. Without insulin, we would not survive. Insulin allows us to store blood sugar as fat four days of drought. This storage of fat occurs mostly around the belly and is referred to as central obesity.

Insulin and Sugar
Insulin and Sugar

Insulin resistance is a disorder that occurs in many Americans. As we gain weight and our central belly, our cells become more and more resistant to the effects of insulin and thus, we will require higher levels of insulin to produce the same effect. When our bodies become resistant enough to insulin, our blood sugar will become elevated and we will either have to make our cells more sensitive to insulin with a pill or we will have to add insulin injections to lower blood sugar. Insulin sensitivity and supplementation creates weight gain cascade and becomes worse and worse over time.

Although research is sparse, carbohydrate restriction may facilitate weight loss and reduce the risk of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Studies have revealed that carbohydrate-restricted diets are associated with greater adherence and improved fat loss. Also, carbohydrate restriction may facilitate weight loss and reduce food intake by reducing hunger.


The bottom line: The current approach to weight loss is difficult to implement and sustain and rarely leads to successful long-term weight loss maintenance. Part of the problem is insulin resistance. Success is to avoid obesity and assistance and restricting carbohydrates might help. If you increase muscle mass and reduce central obesity, you will decrease your odds of the effects of diabetes and heart disease.

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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