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For people with type 1 diabetes, insulin is a lifesaving medication. Missing insulin however, even if only occasionally, can be detrimental to health. If restricting insulin becomes a regular occurrence, this behaviour can develop into an eating disorder called Diabulimia.

It’s estimated that up to 40% of people with type 1 diabetes misuse insulin for weight control at some point, yet taking insulin needn’t be a barrier to maintaining a healthy weight.

There are variety of reasons that insulin might affect weight and diabetes teams can help to identify these issues. It may also be important to remind people that weight gain, particularly following diagnosis or for growing children, can be a normal part of staying healthy.

Modifiable conditions where insulin might make it difficult to manage weight:

  • Frequently needing to treat or avoid hypos
  • Eating to match insulin, rather than to satisfy appetite
  • Eating to reduce hypos during exercise


Click here to listen to our Diabulimia podcast. Kate Alison, accredited practicing dietitian at Diabetes NSW & ACT and Dr Lisa Robins, clinical physiologist discuss diabulimia – the intentional misuse of insulin for people living with type 1 diabetes for weight control.

Click here to read the article published in the March/ April of Diabetic Living DIABULIMIA