April 4, 2008 / 11:17 PM / 10 years ago

Overeating to blame for insulin weight gain

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Overeating is likely the greatest contributor to the weight gain that can occur when a diabetic begins using insulin, new research suggests.

However, overeating can be difficult for doctors to recognize since diabetics may underreport their food intake, according to the findings in the journal Diabetes Care.

Dr. Miriam Ryan, from CHU Angers, France and colleagues assessed the impact of food intake on weight gain in 23 type 1 and 23 type 2 diabetic adults starting insulin therapy.

During the study, the type 1 diabetics gained weight gained an average of 10.3 pounds and type 2 diabetics gained an average of 4.0. The weight gain could not be explained by a slowing of the body’s metabolism, decrease in physical activity, or increase in sugar in the urine, leaving the authors to conclude that it was primarily due to overeating.

They also report that accurate assessment of calorie intake was “severely hampered by the underreporting of food intake, with (reported calorie) intakes being insufficient to meet even (the body’s lowest) energy requirements.”

Overeating during insulin therapy may be a response to low blood sugar episodes, the researchers speculate.

The underreporting of food intake in diabetic patients “requires more concerted effort to detect its presence and magnitude,” Ryan and colleagues conclude.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, March 2008.

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