March 31, 2000
Question from South Carolina, USA:
My friend has become anorexic, believing that taking insulin for her type 1 diabetes will cause her to gain weight. I need to know if this is true, and what type of web sites I can send her to so that she can get more factual information on the subject.
Your friend is making a dangerous choice — starving herself — in an effort to gain control over the balance of insulin and food. Insulin by itself does not cause weight gain. However, the more food you eat, the more insulin you might take to cover that food, and then the more weight you will gain. This is also true of people without diabetes, as the more food we eat, the heavier we become. Your friend needs professional help right now as eating disorders and diabetes are a dangerous combination. The most important thing you can do for your friend is to get them to a mental health professional with expertise in eating disorders.