Skipping Insulin for Weight Loss Can Be Deadly

A deadly trend has developed among some girls and young women with type 1 diabetes: They skip insulin to lose weight. However, the results of this foolhardy practice can be life-threatening.

The first effects of insulin skipping can be nausea, depression, and exhaustion that become worse over time. One young diabetic patient went blind and another suffered kidney failure as a result of avoiding their insulin. Other complications, including coma and death, can result.

This behavior is common among diabetic teen girls and young women with an eating disorder called bulimia. Usually, people with bulimia repeatedly eat huge amounts of food and then force themselves to vomit. However, diabetic girls who do not take enough insulin can eat anything they want and still lose pounds without throwing up. Doctors have begun calling them "diabulimics" and say that this behavior affects approximately one-third of all diabetic young women.

Sadly, many girls and women who forgo their insulin in order to stay thin will have shorter life spans because of the terrible stress this puts on the body.

People with diabetes need a plan that lets them safely choose the right amounts and kinds of food. By using sound guidelines to plan their meals and snacks, based on their own lives and activities, they will better control their blood glucose. In addition to helping them lose pounds or maintain a healthy weight, an eating plan keeps their food balanced with insulin and other medications.

A healthy meal plan takes into account the person's likes and dislikes and food allergies. Creating a meal plan is best done with a dietitian's help. Dietitians are experts in nutrition and healthy eating. They define a healthy diet as one that includes a variety of foods from all the food groups, is high in vitamins and minerals, high in fiber, and low in processed foods. In addition, a healthy diet reduces the risk of illnesses such as diabetes, heart problems, cancer, and stroke. So, a diet that is healthy for people with diabetes is healthy for anyone. With proper planning and attention to portion size, people with diabetes can eat the same healthy and delicious foods their families do.

A diabetes counselor uses plastic food to teach diabetics about healthy food choices and proper portion sizes so that they can better manage their weight as well as their blood glucose levels.

A diabetes counselor uses plastic food to teach diabetics about healthy food choices and proper portion sizes so that they can better manage their weight as well as their blood glucose levels.

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