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Insulin And Weight Gain Myth Or Reality

Insulin: An Undeserved Bad Reputation, Part 4: The Biggest Insulin Myth Of Them All

Insulin: An Undeserved Bad Reputation, Part 4: The Biggest Insulin Myth Of Them All

In part 1, part 2, and part 3 of this series, you learned how there are a lot of misconceptions on how insulin works in the body, and how it has been unfairly blamed for weight and fat gain in our society. In this article, I am going to dismantle one of the biggest insulin myths of them all...a myth that has been perpetuated in textbooks and is still taught in college classrooms, despite the fact it was shown to be wrong over 25 years ago. Insulin Is Not Required for Cells To Take Up Glucose Are you surprised by the heading above? Many people think that your cells need insulin to take sugar out of the blood. One of the pieces of evidence that is offered for this is the type I diabetic. When a type I diabetic has no insulin, blood sugar skyrockets. This is supposedly because sugar can't get into cells. However, the above scenario is not what happens in a type I diabetic that has been taken off of insulin. Sugar can get into the cells just fine. There's actually something else going on. A review paper published in the Journal of Anasthesia thoroughly describes how insulin has been misunderstood in its role in blood sugar regulation, and I will summarize this paper here, along with some of my own comments. A Man Ahead of His Time In 1916, Sir Edward Schafer, a professor of physiology, published a book called The Endocrine Organs. In this book, he hypothesized the existence of what we now call insulin: The results of pancreas extirpation and pancreas grafting are best explained by supposing that the islet tissue produce an Autacoid which passes into the blood stream and effects carbohydrate metabolism and carbohydrate storage in such a manner that there is no undue accumulation of glucose in the blood. Provisionally it will be convenient to refer to this hypothetical substa Continue reading >>

8 Common Myths About Diabetes

8 Common Myths About Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21.9 million people in the United States are diagnosed diabetics -- with an additional 8.1 million people who have diabetes but haven't been diagnosed. Diabetes, which is a disease where a patient has elevated blood sugar -- or glucose -- levels, comes in three forms: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, a patient's body either stops producing or cannot produce enough insulin, which is a blood sugar-regulating hormone created by the pancreas that delivers glucose to all of the body's cells. With this type of diabetes, the body's immune system, which normally helps to fend off disease and infection, attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Generally, patients with this form of diabetes are diagnosed in childhood because it's genetically based. Adults can also be diagnosed with it. With type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to lifestyle factors, a person's body gradually develops what is called insulin resistance. This happens when muscles and tissues stop using insulin to carry glucose to the body's cells. At first the pancreas can produce additional insulin to compensate, but eventually it is unable to create enough insulin. Gestational diabetes, which a 2014 CDC analysis shows affects 9.2% of pregnant women, occurs when an expectant mother who has never had diabetes before develops elevated blood sugar levels. While gestational diabetes will go away after childbirth in most cases, it does raise a mother's risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Dr. Alyson Myers, who is medical director of the inpatient diabetes unit for North Shore University Hospital, helped newsday.com identify (and debunk) a few myths about the disease. See what she says are the most common fa Continue reading >>

Weight Gain And Insulin Treatment

Weight Gain And Insulin Treatment

Summary This review presents recent data on weight gain when on insulin treatment in type 1 and type 2 diabetic patients. In both types of diabetes, the excess weight gain with intensified insulin therapy compared with conventional insulin or sulfonylurea remains modest: 2.6 kg over 7.5 years in the Stockholm study (type 1 diabetic patients) and 1.7 kg when compared to glibenclamide over 10 years in the UKPDS (type 2 diabetic patients). Patients who gain the most weight after insulin initiation are those who: 1) had the worst metabolic control before the intensification of treatment, 2) had the greater weight loss prior to insulin initiation, and 3) in the case of patients with type 1 diabetes, have a family history of type 2 diabetes. This suggests that most of the weight gain observed after the insulin initiation is a “catch-up” weight re-gain. There is no evidence that weight gain after insulin therapy initiation is associated with a deterioration in the lipid profile or arterial hypertension or an excess risk for cardiovascular events, contrary to common beliefs. All clinical studies performed to date with the insulin analogue detemir have shown that this analogue is associated with lesser weight gain than NPH insulin. There is no explanation yet for these intriguing results. If confirmed on the long-term, this favourable effect on weight might be an interesting feature of this new insulin analogue. Résumé Cet article fait la revue des données récentes concernant la prise de poids sous traitement insulinique chez des diabétiques de type 1 comme de type 2. Dans les deux types de diabète, la prise de poids avec le traitement intensifié comparé au traitement insulinique conventionnel ou aux sulfamides reste modeste : 2,6 kg sur 7 années dans le Stockholm s Continue reading >>

Methadone Myths And Realities

Methadone Myths And Realities

Methadone Maintenance Treatment: Client Handbook Myth: Methadone will get you high. Reality: If you’re looking for a high, you’ll be disappointed with methadone. When you first start treatment, you may feel lightheaded or sleepy for a few days, but you will quickly develop a tolerance to these effects. Expect to feel “normal” when you’re on methadone. Myth: Methadone will make you sick. Reality: The only time you might feel sick from methadone is at the beginning of your treatment, when your dose might not be enough to keep you free of withdrawal symptoms. In most cases, if you do feel sick, it’s mild. Your dose will be adjusted and you should feel better within a few days. When you’re on methadone you can catch a cold or any other illness just like anyone else, but you’re much less prone to illness than illicit drug users. People on methadone are less likely to use needles, and more likely to eat well and take good care of themselves. When you’re on methadone you won’t wake up sick every morning. If anything, methadone will help you to get well. Myth: Long-term use of methadone damages the liver, the thyroid gland and the memory. Reality: Long-term use of methadone is safe. It will not damage your internal organs, and when you are on the correct dose, it will not interfere with your thinking. If you have a medical condition such as hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver, methadone maintenance treatment can improve your access to medical treatment, and help you to manage the illness. Myth: Methadone rots your teeth and bones. Reality: This is a common myth, and although it’s not true, the reasons behind the myth deserve some consideration. One of the side-effects of methadone, like many medications, is that it gives you a dry mouth. This can make your Continue reading >>

Top 5 Diet & Weight Loss Myths Vs. The Real Facts

Top 5 Diet & Weight Loss Myths Vs. The Real Facts

So-called diet “experts” can often offer confusing and conflicting advice. Simple carbs are the cause of your expanding waistline one week; fruits and sugars are the culprits the next. A low-fat diet is key to losing weight – or is it a low-carb diet? Dieting advice is mind-bogglingly complicated and ever-changing. It can lead you to make poor decisions about what you eat, and even prevent you from reaching your weight loss goal. While you can’t always rely on diet experts to offer wisdom, here is something that never fails: Advice from peer-reviewed scientific studies. Using science-proven facts, many common dieting mistakes and myths can be dispelled. Once you are aware of these facts, you will be on your way to a healthier lifestyle Common Dieting Myths & Mistakes Myth #1: Skipping Breakfast Slows Down Your Metabolism Nearly all diet magazines and websites claim that skipping a healthy breakfast can harm your weight loss goals. Some settle on the claim that eating breakfast will make you less likely to binge during lunch, which certainly is not an outrageous claim by any means. But some go further by claiming that not eating breakfast can slow your metabolism, making it harder to burn calories. The Reality Studies show a direct correlation between eating breakfast and consuming fewer calories, but scientists have never established a link between poor breakfast-eating habits and a poor metabolism. Moreover, the people in these studies show that people who eat breakfast generally exhibit better lifestyle habits, such as being more physically active and having a lower fat intake. However, correlation is not causation. Anecdotal evidence shows that people can skip breakfast while still losing weight and body fat – such as the results demonstrated by those who p Continue reading >>

Dispelling The Myths Of Insulin Therapy

Dispelling The Myths Of Insulin Therapy

In my position as a pharmacist and certified diabetes educator, physicians often assign me the task of starting their patients with Type 2 diabetes on insulin therapy. Unfortunately, in most situations, insulin has been presented to these patients as a last-ditch treatment option, after target glucose goals have not been achieved or maintained with lifestyle modifications and other therapies. Not surprisingly, I encounter people who are upset at the news that insulin is now necessary. Others feel anxious or overwhelmed by the prospect of fitting insulin into their lifestyles. Many people believe that insulin causes the complications of diabetes. Here is some information to dispel some of these myths about insulin therapy: Myth 1: “It’s my fault I am being put on insulin because I didn’t do what I was supposed to do.” People with diabetes often view the switch to insulin therapy as sign of personal failure in managing their diabetes. Insulin may be perceived as a punishment for failing to exercise, eat properly, or take their medicines. However, due to the progressive nature of Type 2 diabetes, people should expect to eventually require insulin therapy — this is due to the diabetes running its natural course, not to failure on their part. It is inevitable that the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas will deteriorate over time, resulting in insulin deficiency. In other words, the pancreas cannot keep up with the body’s need for insulin no matter what you’ve done to manage your diabetes. Accordingly, insulin treatment is a normal and effective way of replacing the body’s insulin. Think of it as a form of “hormone replacement therapy.” The goal of all diabetes treatment is to find the right combination of treatments to provide the best blood glu Continue reading >>

Myth Vs. Fact: Weight Gain

Myth Vs. Fact: Weight Gain

One concern patients sometimes ask about before starting insulin pump therapy is weight gain. A common myth exists that going on a pump causes one to gain weight. While it is just a myth and using an insulin pump does not cause weight gain, many people taking insulin do gain weight. The question is, why? Potential Causes of Weight Gain Associated with Diabetes Management, Including Insulin Resolution of glycosuria (glucose in the urine): Before diagnosis and those who are not in optimal glucose control, lose calories by spilling glucose in their urine. This occurs when the glucose level gets above 180-200 mg/dL. With better glucose control, this stops and all the calories eaten stay in the body where the excess are stored as fat. Since insulin pump therapy improves glucose control (which is a good thing), glucose (and therefore calories) are no longer lost in the urine and overeating leads to weight gain – just like it does in someone without diabetes. Treating hypoglycemia: If you have an episode of hypoglycemia, you take glucose to correct it. If you have a lot of hypoglycemia, or take more glucose than is actually needed, you can end up ingesting an excess of calories that can cause weight gain. Insulin pump therapy should actually help this. “Defensive eating” because of the fear of hypoglycemia: Some people are so concerned about hypoglycemia that they eat a “little extra” as a preventive measure. This can add extra calories that will add extra pounds. Avoiding Weight Gain While on Insulin Controlling weight gain when on insulin likely requires some lifestyle changes. Here are a few Dos and Don’ts to help you stay on track. Do be sure you understand your nutrition plan. Meet with a Dietitian. Remember you need a team to succeed made up of your health ca Continue reading >>

Top 10 Insulin Myths Busted!

Top 10 Insulin Myths Busted!

Many people who get diagnosed with diabetes fear the thought of taking insulin because of what they have heard, seen or read before, most of which is not true. We hope this post helps you to change your outlook towards insulin therapy as well as helps you to overcome your fears about starting one. Myth #1: Insulin is addictive Fact #1: Because insulin is something that diabetics are instructed to inject themselves, there is a wrong belief that a person can get addicted to it. But the fact is, insulin is just something that your body should have produced naturally. You cannot get addicted to it. Myth #2: Carrying insulin is difficult because it needs to be refrigerated Fact #2: If you have a bottle of unused insulin it should be stored in a refrigerator. But once you have opened the bottle, you can keep it at room temperature for upto 28 days. But never keep insulin shots in a place which is too hot or too cold. Freezing renders insulin useless whereas exposing insulin to direct sun (while travelling) can cause it to lose its potency. Myth #3: Insulin is expensive Fact #3: Diabetes, on the whole, is an expensive condition. But, if you consider only insulin, it is less expensive than other oral medications. The prices vary depending on the brands and suppliers. Myth #4: Taking insulin means diabetes has turned serious Fact #4: Diabetes in itself is a progressive disease, something that you should worry about. But, just because you have been prescribed insulin doesn’t mean it is getting worse. Insulin will just help you to control it better. Myth #5: Insulin therapy means I will have to take multiple shots daily Fact #5: Not in every case. There are long-acting insulin shots that are to be taken once in a day (usually at nights). If your blood sugar level rises tremendou Continue reading >>

How Well Do You Know Insulin?

How Well Do You Know Insulin?

Check your perceptions about insulin. Read the questions below and find out whether they are myths or realities. 1. Having to take insulin means I have failed and that my diabetes is getting worse. Reality: Taking insulin doesn’t necessarily mean you've failed. Diabetes is a disease that gets harder to manage over time. Adding insulin replaces what your body isn't making naturally to help control blood sugar. If diet, exercise, and oral diabetes medications alone aren’t controlling your blood sugar levels, insulin may help. 2. Insulin is the last option to consider in diabetes treatment. Reality: Insulin doesn’t mean that you are "at the end of the road." In fact, the ADA treatment guidelines suggest you add insulin earlier if diet, exercise, and pills alone don’t offer enough blood sugar control. 3. Taking insulin is just one part of an overall treatment program to control my blood sugar. That’s a Reality! Reality: Insulin should be taken as part of an overall diabetes treatment plan, which includes diet, exercise, and other diabetes medications. 4. Taking insulin injections will be very painful. That’s a Myth! Reality: Many people are surprised when they see how small and thin the needle is. Also, insulin is injected into the fatty layer just under the skin, where there are fewer nerve endings. 5. Taking insulin shots means I can maintain my normal daily activities. That’s a Reality! Reality: Many insulins come in compact, easy-to-use insulin pens. It may be helpful taking insulin in pens if you lead an active lifestyle. 6. Insulin cures diabetes. That’s a Myth! Reality: Taking insulin may help control blood sugar levels. But it does not cure the disease. While progress toward finding a cure has been substantial, there is still no cure for diabetes. 7. Continue reading >>

Myths About Type 2 Diabetes And Insulin

Myths About Type 2 Diabetes And Insulin

MYTHS ABOUT TYPE 2 DIABETES AND INSULIN People talk a lot about diabetes and insulin; some people are afraid of taking insulin. Other people think that taking insulin is all they need to do to be healthier. Here are some of the myths and facts about Type 2 Diabetes and insulin. Myth 1: Taking insulin means I've failed with pills. Reality: You haven't failed at all. Diabetes is a progressive condition that occurs when the body isn't producing enough insulin. Insulin is a natural hormone that a healthy body produces to help convert glucose from the foods we eat into energy. If your body is not producing enough insulin naturally, you should ask your doctor if taking insulin could help. Myth 2: Insulin will make me gain a lot of weight. Reality: Some people find they do put on a few pounds when they begin taking insulin. The reason is that before you take insulin, if you blood sugar is too high, many of the calories you eat are naturally flushed out of your system. When you take insulin, it turns calories into energy for your body so all those lost calories are now being absorbed - this can lead to some weight gain. Following a meal plan and an exercise program should help keep you from gaining a lot of weight. Myth 3: Injecting insulin is painful. Reality: Many patients are surprised when they finally see how small and thin the needle actually is. In addition, many insulins come with insulin pens that make taking insulin more convenient. Myth 4: Taking insulin will interfere with my daily schedule. Reality: You may be surprised when you learn how patients on insulin often say that their daily routine has not changed much since starting insulin. To many patients, taking insulin has become as routine as brushing their teeth. Myth 5: Insulin should be considered as a last opt Continue reading >>

Insulin Myths

Insulin Myths

Insulin is one of the most valuable discoveries ever made to mankind. It is a boon to Diabetics. But, it has become a taboo among people with diabetes that initiating insulin might be difficult. Some myths on Insulin to never believe: “Diabetics always need insulin” Only people with type 1 diabetes need insulin. People with type 2 diabetes may be in control with oral anti diabetic agents. Hence never believe that diabetes leads to Insulin usage. “Taking insulin means you’ve ‘failed’ People with diabetes often view the switch to insulin therapy as sign of personal failure in managing their diabetes. Many people who try very hard to adhere to a diet, exercise, and lose weight will still need insulin. It is the progressive nature of Type 2 Diabetes that some people eventually require insulin. Actually Insulin treatment is the most effective and safest way of controlling diabetes. “Insulin causes weight gain” It is a fact that insulin causes weight gain. Insulin helps your body use food more efficiently. If it is still a concern, ask a dietician to fix a pan to minimize weight gain. “If insulin lowers blood sugar too much, a person could go into a coma” This is another possibility, but a highly unlikely one, especially with type 2 diabetes. Still, symptoms such as shaky hands, sweating, dizziness, confusion, and hunger should be taken as signs of possible low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Only severe and untreated low blood sugar puts you at risk for unconsciousness. “Insulin causes complications like blindness and kidney failure” The reality is that people do not develop complications from being started on insulin, but rather, they develop complications from being started on insulin too late. Insulin actually reduces your risk of getting complications Continue reading >>

12 Myths About Insulin And Type 2 Diabetes

12 Myths About Insulin And Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin facts vs. fiction When you hear the word “insulin,” do you picture giant needles (ouch!) or pop culture portrayals of insulin users with low blood sugar (like Julia Roberts losing it in Steel Magnolias)? Either way, most people think of insulin as a difficult, painful, or potentially scary medical treatment. The problem is that if you have type 2 diabetes, you need to know the real deal before you can make an informed choice about whether or not this potentially lifesaving therapy is right for you. Here, we take a look at the facts and fiction about insulin when it comes to treating type 2 diabetes. Diabetics always need insulin Not necessarily. People with type 1 diabetes (about 5% to 10% of diabetics) do need insulin. If you have type 2, which includes 90% to 95% of all people with diabetes, you may not need insulin. Of adults with diabetes, only 14% use insulin, 13% use insulin and oral medication, 57% take oral medication only, and 16% control blood sugar with diet and exercise alone, according to the CDC. The point is to get blood sugar—which can be a highly toxic poison in the body—into the safe zone by any means necessary. Taking insulin means you’ve ‘failed’ “This is a big myth,” says Jill Crandall, MD, professor of clinical medicine and director of the diabetes clinical trial unit at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, N.Y. “Many people who try very hard to adhere to a diet, exercise, and lose weight will still need insulin.” The fact is that type 2 diabetes is a progressive illness, meaning that over time you may need to change what you do to make sure your blood sugar is in a healthy range. Eating right and exercise will always be important, but medication needs can vary. “A large percentage of people with ty Continue reading >>

Time To Bust Some Insulin Myths And Fears

Time To Bust Some Insulin Myths And Fears

Bhavya Munjal, Clinical Nutritionist & Certified Diabetes Educator at Fortis CDOC (Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic diseases & Endocrinology) debunks 12 prevailing myths about insulin used to treat type 2 diabetes. Insulin is the most misunderstood drug. Many patients with type 2 diabetes avoid it and some accuse it of causing diabetic complications. Yet insulin is one of the best treatments available for keeping blood glucose levels in target range. For people who have type2 diabetes and their A1C is not in desired range despite of their best efforts, insulin may be the next step in treating diabetes. Here are some myths and facts regarding insulin which may help one to overcome fears. 1. MYTH: Insulin cures diabetes. Currently, there is no cure for diabetes. Insulin is one of the best methods available of controlling diabetes. Insulin converts glucose into energy and is used to manage diabetes and control blood glucose levels. 2. MYTH: Insulin injections will disrupt my life. If your doctor prescribes insulin, don't panic. Many people believe that once they start insulin, they can no longer be independent, live alone, travel, or eat away from home. None of these is true. With planning, there is no reason why you cannot do everything you did before. The doctor will design a dosing schedule that will fit your lifestyle and various types of insulin are available for different needs. Convenience devices like insulin pens and pumps may provide even more flexibility in your daily life. 3. MYTH: Taking insulin means I have failed at managing my diabetes. Using insulin is not a sign of diabetes control failure. Nor is it an indication that your risk of diabetes complications has increased. All people with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin. And after few years of s Continue reading >>

Common Diabetes Myths

Common Diabetes Myths

There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding diabetes. So what’s really true? We separate the facts from the fiction. Every day 280 Australians develop diabetes, according to Diabetes Australia. So chances are, you either know someone with diabetes or perhaps you have diabetes yourself. Already, close to one million Aussies have the condition and for every person diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there is another who remains undiagnosed. So it’s time to sort through the misconceptions. Here we look at some of the most common beliefs and give you the facts about diabetes and its management. Myth: Diabetes is a fat person’s disease Not so. While carrying extra weight, particularly around the middle, is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, genetics also play a big part. This means some people who are carrying extra weight won’t develop diabetes while others who are thin, will. It’s the interaction between our genes and our lifestyle that influences the development of type 2 diabetes. Those who are genetically at risk don’t fare well with our Western lifestyle. Type 1 diabetes has a very different underlying cause and weight doesn’t play a part – in fact, most people with type 1 lose weight before being diagnosed due to a lack of insulin (see box, right). Myth: Diabetes is not that serious Unfortunately not true. As the sixth leading cause of death in Australia, with numbers set to soar over the next few decades, diabetes is something we should all be taking seriously. The sad fact is diabetes, particularly when it is not well managed, can lead to significant health problems including heart, kidney, eye and blood vessel disease. The good news is with the right management, the risk of these complications is significantly reduced. We also know t Continue reading >>

Nuts Make You Fat? What A Big Fat Myth!

Nuts Make You Fat? What A Big Fat Myth!

NUTS MAKE YOU FAT? WHAT A BIG FAT MYTH! New study shows nuts have a positive impact on weight management The idea that nuts make people overweight is one of those urban myths that doesn’t go away. However, according to the latest research the reality is quite the opposite – nut eaters are more likely to weigh less. A recent literature review Nuts & the Big Fat Myth, released by Nuts for Life in Australia, [1] busts the misconception that the high fat content of nuts could lead to weight gain. The review says that people can eat nuts even if they’re worried about their waistline. In fact, eating nuts should be encouraged! Why you can feel fuller for longer The report explains that nut eaters absorb less fat as the fibrous walls in nuts help stop the body from absorbing up to 20% of the fat in nuts. The high amount of protein, fibre and unsaturated fats in nuts works hard to suppress hunger and if they are snacked on regularly, people are likely to feel fuller for longer.[1] Nuts also send satiety signals to the brain and regular consumption boosts resting metabolic rates by 5-10%. How many nuts per day? “This report is great news for Kiwis as we could definitely consume more nuts!” New Zealand Nutrition Foundation dietitian Sarah Hanrahan says. “If you take a local example like Prolife Foods, New Zealand’s largest importer of nuts, they estimate Kiwis consume less than 5g of nuts per day. It’s evident we need to work harder to dispel the fat myth and focus on how beneficial they are for our diet.” Nuts for Life dietitian, Lisa Yates, says that as well as the positive impacts to weight management, Nuts & the Big Fat Myth has highlighted those people who eat 30g or a handful of nuts each day tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI), better diet quality Continue reading >>

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