Unhealthy Weight Loss Methods Tempt Teens With Diabetes

The researchers were surprised to find more type 1 youths than they had expected, especially girls, engaging in unhealthy dieting behaviors.

Jan 6, 2009

About half of young people who have diabetes report having tried to lose weight at one time or another, says a Kaiser Permanente Southern California study reported in the December 2008 issue of Diabetes Care

The study involved 3,357 young people with diabetes (1,742 girls and 1,615 boys), whose average age was 15. There were 520 type 2s and 2,837 type 1s

While most of those trying to lose weight reported adhering to healthy weight-reduction practices, such as regular exercise and healthy diets, "a fair number" reported resorting to such unhealthy practices as skipping insulin doses, fasting, vomiting, using laxatives, or using diet aids.Thankfully, among youth who had ever tried to lose weight, healthy weight-loss practices (diet and exercise) were the most common. But unhealthy practices were used in the following percentages:

  • fasting [8.6%]
  • using diet aids [7.5%]
  • vomiting or laxative use [2.3%]
  • skipping insulin doses [4.2%] 

All unhealthy weight-loss practices except fasting were more common in female than in male subjects. 

In the type 2 diabetics, for whom obesity is a common factor in their disease, scientists found the pattern of concern about weight and weight loss that they had expected. Because type 1s generally do not have weight problems, however, the researchers were surprised to find more type 1 youths than they had expected, especially girls, engaging in unhealthy dieting behaviors.

Skipping insulin doses as a weight-control measure among type 1 teen girls (and some boys) has become a major concern among doctors and parents in the past few years. Because lack of insulin thwarts the body's ability to metabolize glucose, the resulting lack of nourishment can lead to rapid weight loss-a classic symptom of diabetes. 

Type 1 girls seeking to lose weight this way run the risk of sending their blood sugar levels skyrocketing, often as high as 800, 900, or even more than 1,000 mg/dl.

Source: Diabetes Care

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Categories: Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Diets, Insulin, Losing weight, Nutrition Advice, Type 1 Issues, Type 2 Issues, Weight Loss

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Posted by angivan on 7 January 2009

I'm 41 now, but back in my late teens and early 20's I'm ashamed to say I ran my BG's higher because I knew that tightening them would result in weight gain, which terrified me. No way of knowing what that did to me, but my A1C's have been in the 6-7's for the last 15 years or so. Yes, I did put on about 20 lbs. by getting in control, but I've managed to get most of it off through lower-carb eating.

Posted by Anonymous on 7 January 2009

I have never tried this (running high BGs and skipping insulin) because I am so afraid of the complications down the road. Yes, I am overweight, and trying desperately to be healthy, i.e. lose weight, eat healthy, and exercise. I would love to be thin, but losing my kidneys or my precious sight is just not worth it!

Posted by seashore on 7 January 2009

I recently purchased a spare blood glucose meter from a well known manufacturer, which included a pamphlet on controlling diabetes. In “Managing carbs to stay in range”, it recommends a diabetic diet of 45-60g of carbs per meal, plus a snack of 15-30g, giving a total of 150-210 grams of carbs (5.3 to 7.4 oz) per day. This is 5 to 7 times greater than the daily carb recommendation (30 grams of carbs per day) by Richard Bernstein, in his book, “Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution”.

With such confusion in diabetic dietary recommendations, we should not be surprised that diabetic teens are following unhealthy approaches to control weight. If they were placed on low-carb diets, their diabetes and weight would both be well-controlled.

Posted by WeightLossTreatment on 31 January 2009

Overweight is very serious problem that provides foundation to the critical fatal diseases. For helping overweight patients, weight reduction clinics recommend various techniques for fastest weight loss. Clinics provide a good looking body to overweight patients.

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