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June 18, 2000

Insulin Pumps, Weight and Weight Loss

Question from St. Petersburg, Florida, USA:

I have been on an insulin pump for 2 years now. Ever since I started on it, I've gained quite a bit of weight (27 pounds). I've seen a dietitian and am currently on a 1500 calorie/day diet. I lift weights and run 5 days a week. I am having a lot of trouble losing weight. I feel as though I've got a lot of bulk from muscle weight, but I've also got some fat that I'd like to lose. I guess my main question is does being on Humalog insulin do something to my metabolism that's making me gain muscle weight yet make it hard to lose fat? I know I've slimmed down but I'm not losing weight at the rate I think I should given my diet and exercise program.

Answer:

Losing weight is a tough issue. I don’t have enough information to make too many specific comments. It seems like you are doing a great deal to stay healthy. You may be in the situation of being overweight, but not over fat. The calorie level seems quite reasonable for gradual weight loss. Weight lifting will build muscle mass which weighs more than fat as you probably know. You might want to go back to the dietitian to see if she/he has more suggestions. Other factors to consider are: how is your blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride levels, HDL [a form of “good lipid”], etc., and blood sugar control. It could be that you are very healthy and that the numbers mean less than the state of your health.

JM
Additional comments from Dr. Bill Quick:

I can’t think of any reason that the Humalog insulin would be directly to blame, except that it’s so efficient at doing its job, getting insulin to act at exactly the time that it’s needed to utilize whatever level of sugar is in the bloodstream.

WWQ