How to Stop Weight Loss in Diabetes

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Mon Jul 31 2023.

Couple cooking together.

Everyone’s body weight fluctuates from time to time. But if you start shedding more and more pounds, you might have an underlying health problem, like diabetes. 

“Unexplained weight loss is often one of the first signs of type 1 diabetes,” said Heather Hanks, MS, CAM, a certified nutritionist and medical advisor for Medical Solutions BCN. “Without proper insulin, your cells don’t get the glucose they need to use as fuel. As a result, you start burning fat and muscle as energy, resulting in weight loss.”

Unexplained weight loss can also occur in people with type 2 diabetes, but it isn’t as common. Like with type 1 diabetes, when your cells don’t get enough glucose, your body looks for other ways to get fuel.

Living with either type of diabetes can be challenging, but there are several ways to maintain a healthy weight. Here’s everything you need to know.

What You’ll Need

The easiest way to stop weight loss in diabetes is to regularly check your blood sugar. To do that, you need a glucose monitor

You also need to change your mindset about food. Getting your blood sugar under control will require you to eat snacks and meals that you aren’t used to. This takes some adjusting and isn’t easy. But the results are sure to pay off!

Steps to Stopping Weight Loss in Diabetes

Step 1: Visit Your Doctor

Unexplained weight loss is a sign of an underlying health problem. Even though it’s commonly caused by diabetes, you should visit your primary healthcare provider to make sure. 

After a physical exam, a review of your medical records, and a series of lab tests, your doctor or healthcare professional can identify the cause of your weight loss and make personalized treatment recommendations. 

This step is essential. If you just try to eat more food to reverse the weight loss, you might end up making your blood sugar worse,

Step 2: Ask Your Doctor About Medication 

If your doctor determines that your weight loss is due to diabetes, you need to take steps to get your blood sugar back under control. One of the easiest ways to do that is with prescription medication.

Type 1 diabetes requires prescription insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas. But if you have diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t naturally produce enough. Prescription insulin helps the cells in your body use glucose (sugar) so it doesn’t build up in your bloodstream. 

Step 3: Eat Nutritious, Calorie-Dense Foods

To stop weight loss in diabetes, focus on eating meals that are calorie-dense, nutritious, and low in sugar.

“You don’t want to overload your digestive system by eating large meals, as they are harder for your body to break down and use as fuel,” Hanks said. “Instead, try focusing on three meals and two snacks per day to help sustain blood sugar levels, while also meeting your caloric needs.”

Hanks recommends stocking up on high-fiber and high-protein foods, including:

  • Lean organic meat

  • Nuts

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

  • Beans and legumes

  • Healthy fats (olive oil and avocado)

  • Refined grains (oats, quinoa, and brown rice)

According to Hanks, “these foods will help sustain your energy levels and meet your calorie needs while keeping blood sugar levels steady.” 

Step 4: Supplement Meals with High-Calorie Snacks

Adding more calories throughout the day is another easy way to prevent weight loss in diabetes. For example, try adding one snack between breakfast and lunch, and a second snack between lunch and dinner. 

“I’m a big fan of smoothies because you can add healthy foods to them and make them as nutritious as you want,” Hanks said. “They’re also great snacks to have in between meals and take little preparation.”

Try this calorie-dense shake:

  • One to 1.5 cups of unsweetened almond or coconut milk

  • One frozen banana

  • 2 tablespoons of nut butter 

  • 1-2 scoops of protein powder (Hanks recommends grass-fed collagen)

  • 1/2 cup frozen berries

  • As much spinach as you can fit in the blender

Blend all of the ingredients together until they’re a smoothie-like consistency and pour into a cup. 

Step 5: Exercise to Build Muscle

The more muscle you have, the easier it is for your body to use insulin. But you don’t want to rush into a new exercise program if you aren’t ready. 

Make sure to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider and receive clearance before you start lifting weights or doing other muscle-building exercises. 

“If your body is already at an energy deficit and fighting to get the fuel it needs, then lifting weights could do more damage and keep you from gaining weight,” said Hanks.

Step 6: Weigh Yourself Daily and Track Your Progress

Putting on additional body weight takes time and effort.

Weigh yourself twice daily –– once in the morning and once in the evening –– to track your progress. At each check-in, write down your weight in a notebook or weight tracking app. 

After a few weeks, you’ll be able to see if your efforts are working. Make a follow-up appointment with your doctor or healthcare professional If your body weight stays the same or continues dropping.

How to Stop Weight Loss in Diabetes - Commonly Asked Questions

1) How many calories do I need to eat daily to prevent diabetes-related weight loss?

It depends. Everyone has unique caloric needs, based on their age, gender, and physical activity level. As a general rule of thumb, Hanks recommends adding 250-500 additional calories to your diet each day. 

“Make sure these foods come from nutritious sources,” Hanks says. “Eating 500 extra calories of high-sugar, high-fat, or processed foods will further compromise your health and make it harder to balance your insulin levels.”

2) Can sugary drinks like soda help me gain weight?

Sugary drinks, like soda and fruit juice, can add extra calories to your diet, but they also present risks if you’re diabetic. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun beverages, but you do need to be smart. 

Try substituting your favorite soda with sparkling water, fresh-pressed juice, or fruit smoothies instead.

3) Can I drink pre-made shakes, like Boost, if I have diabetes?

Commercial protein shakes, like Boost, are loaded with protein, vitamins, and essential nutrients, but not all formulations are the same.

If you have diabetes, only drink pre-made protein shakes labeled ‘glucose control’. For example, Boost Glucose Control and Boost Glucose Control Max are specifically formulated for people with diabetes. 

Need Help?

A type 1 or type 2 diabetes diagnosis has a big impact on different aspects of your life. Need help navigating your new diagnosis? We’ve got you!

Our friendly Care Specialists can answer questions, make product recommendations, and help you stock up on necessary supplies. Call (800) 696-CARE or send an email to

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.