Diabulimia Becomes Dangerous Diet For Diabetics - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Diabulimia Becomes Dangerous Diet For Diabetics

Studies show people with type 1 diabetes are usually not overweight. But that trend is changing and that has some diabetics trying to lose weight in a very dangerous way.

They're suffering from a condition that's not well known called diabulimia. People with type 1 diabetes struggle with the burden of having to count every gram of carbohydrate they're about to eat. On top of that they have to inject insulin in their systems every day. Endocrinologist Michael Duben says some of his patients in Texoma just don't want to deal with that and they stop injecting what they ultimately need to survive.

"They discover in the process that by either not injecting insulin or injecting less than they should and therefore allowing the sugar to go up, they can lose weight but it's a very very unhealthy way of losing weight," said Duben. 

When a diabetic stops injecting insulin to regulate their levels of sugar the body stops burning sugar to produce energy and burns fat instead. That's when the sugar levels start to dangerously rise. In extreme cases this could cause you to urinate several liters of fluid and that could lead you to lose up to 10 pounds in one day.

Duben says, "In the process of burning fat a lot of acidic substances accumulate in the blood so your blood physically becomes acid. It makes people very sick, they can vomit, they have abdominal pain."

Ultimately the person could die within days. However, if a diabetic just takes less insulin that they should, they could live longer but years from now they could end up blind, lose their kidneys, feet or legs and suffer from constant infections. To avoid falling into this unhealthy trend Duben recommends a low carb diet.

"If you eat very little carbohydrates then you also require very little insulin. It also makes weight loss easier or it prevents weight gain," said Duben.

Duben says diabulimia is most common in young women. In fact studies show that 30% of women with type 1 diabetes will intentionally stop taking their insulin to lose weight.


Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6

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