Achieving a Healthy Weight with Type 1 Diabetes
Achieving a Healthy Weight with Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes makes it hard to maintain a normal, healthy weight

If you or someone you know suffers from Type 1 diabetes, then you are familiar with how hard it is to maintain a normal, healthy weight while dealing with this disease. However, through diet and exercise you can get better control over your weight while undergoing your normal diabetes treatment.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes, which is also referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, is a chronic condition that occurs when a person’s pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which helps convert the sugar that comes from carbohydrates in food to energy. It keeps your blood sugar level from becoming too high or too low.

The reason it is known as Juvenile Diabetes is that it is caused by genetic and environmental factors as opposed to genetic and lifestyle factors, such as being overweight, like Type 2 Diabetes. Children can be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes while having a perfectly normal weight.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms can include:

– Unexplained weight loss or weight gain

– Unexplained fatigue

– Increased hunger or thirst

– Dry mouth

– Nausea and vomiting

– Pain in your stomach area

– Frequent urination

– Blurry vision

– Difficulty breathing 

Diabetes Blood Check

Type 1 Diabetes Weight Loss

Weight loss is a common symptom of Type 1 diabetes. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells in the body, so the body gets fewer nutrients than it needs. When this happens, the body naturally starts burning fat and muscle for energy as opposed to sugar.  This is the reason that many people suffering from Type 1 diabetes lose weight regardless of how much they eat.

Type 1 Diabetes Weight Gain

Conversely, insulin treatment and insulin pumps can cause sudden weight gain in people who suffer from Type 1 diabetes. Supplemental insulin causes their body to hold on to more of the calories they get from food, instead of excreting it through urination. This can cause people to try and take less insulin to help with weight loss, but that can be extremely dangerous. The best way to deal with either weight loss or weight gain from Type 1 diabetes is through a healthy diet and physical activity.

Diet Tips for People with Type 1 Diabetes

Going on insulin treatment should help diabetics to stem the sudden weight loss. This is not an open invitation to start eating as many carbs and sugar as you want though! To help maintain a healthy weight while dealing with Type 1 Diabetes, the key is a balanced diet. Type 1 diabetics should not cut out carbs completely but should be more selective with the carbs they eat. Choosing carbs that are low on the Glycemic Index (GI) such as nuts, fruits and beans will allow them to get the benefits without the spike in insulin that can come with carbs like bread and potatoes.

Exercise Tips for People with Type 1 Diabetes

Physical activity and exercise are extremely important for people who have Type 1 diabetes, especially if they are diagnosed as a child. Setting up a young diabetic to maintain a healthy weight throughout their life is incredibly important. Diabetics should maintain a balance of aerobic, strength and flexibility training to help with their weight. As with any exercise program, the key is to find enjoyable ways to stay active so that you are more likely to stick with it. Playing sports, simple strength training like push ups, and doing yoga for flexibility are all ways to encourage healthy activity for Type 1 diabetics.


While having Type 1 diabetes does make reaching and maintaining a healthy weight difficult, it is by no means impossible. With the right balanced diet and consistent exercise, Type 1 diabetics will be able to have a normal weight throughout their lives.

All content on InGoodHealth.co is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Consult your healthcare provider for medical advice, diagnosis and treatment.