This Weight Loss Trick That Works Can Lead to Dentures

Diabulimia for weight loss has serious health consequences

Not all weight loss tricks are harmless. Here’s one that helped a woman lose 60 pounds over 6 months, but led to a life of dentures afterward.

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Weight loss tricks can be found everywhere on the internet, but did you know that some could be harmful—even life threatening, such as the Cotton Ball Diet and other dieting tricks you should never try for weight loss.

In a recent NY Post story, one woman resorted to skipping her insulin injections in order to force her body to get thin.

According to the news story 30-year-old Australian beauty therapist Skye Simpson, who has had Type I diabetes since age 7, purposefully began engaging in a dangerous dieting trick that actually works for weight loss called “diabulimia.”

Diabulimia is an eating disorder in which people with Type 1 diabetes deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need, for the purpose of weight loss.

How it works is that the body normally uses insulin to transport sugar in the blood into tissues where it is burned as fuel. People with Type I diabetes no longer have a functioning pancreas to release insulin into the blood to take care of the excess blood sugar, so the kidneys have to work harder than usual leading to frequent urination to rid the body of excess sugar. At the same time, the body’s cells starved for calories from the sugar trapped in the blood turn to burning fat for energy, which leads to rapid weight loss. However, forcibly depriving your body of insulin can ruin your health and even cause death.

The short term consequences of Diabulimia include:

• dehydration, frequent urination and glucosuria
• insatiable thirst, increased appetite
• high blood glucose levels
• fatigue, decreased concentration
• electrolyte imbalance, and weight loss

The long-term consequences of Diabulimia include:

• heart attack, stroke, and/or death
• retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy
• gastroparesis
• vascular disease, gum disease
• Infertility.

In Ms. Simpson’s case it resulted in losing clumps of her hair followed by blurred vision and then an oral infection that led to her teeth having to be replaced with dentures—all to lose weight.

“I didn’t want to give up food, or exercise. I was too lazy for that. I loved snacking on chips, bread and biscuits,” Ms. Simpson told Caters News Agency. “At first I was only skipping one injection a day. But as the weight dropped off, I became hooked and in just a few weeks, I was skipping my insulin altogether.”

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According to the NY Post story, before Ms. Simpson succumbed to ill health from her diabulimia, she slimmed down from a size 10 to a size 2 dress, losing as much as 6 ¹/₂ pounds a week. At her lightest, Simpson weighed in at just over 100 pounds with her 5-feet-7 frame.

Today, Ms. Simpson receives psychotherapy and has gained back about 40 pounds. However, the consequences of losing weight through insulin starvation has led to long-time problems for her.

The NY Post reports that:

“My [head] is covered in bald patches and I can’t leave the house without my extensions in, plus I’ll have to wear my dentures for the rest of my life. I’ve started to lose my vision because the nerves have been so badly damaged, and my stomach is now so sensitive, I can only eat certain foods,” she tells Caters. “The worst thing about having diabulimia was the fact that no one knew what it was. I’m lucky that I had support from my family and partner, but I hate to think that there are other Aussie women out there like me suffering alone.”

Signs and Symptoms of Diabulimia

If someone you know or suspect may be inducing their bodies into diabulimia, here are the signs and symptoms to watch out for:

• Hyperglycemia;
• A hemoglobin A1c value much higher than would be expected, given recorded blood glucose values;
• Changes in eating habits (eating more but still losing weight);
• Dramatic shifts in weight;
• Low energy;
• Unusual food patterns;
• Bingeing on carbohydrates and sweets;
• Obsession with food and body image;
• Anxiety about weight or avoidance of being weighed;
• Delay in puberty or sexual maturation;
• Irregular or no menses;
• Severe family stress;
• Frequent hospitalizations for diabetic ketoacidosis;
• Preoccupation with label reading beyond typical diabetes care;
• Excessive exercise;
• Hiding food;
• Smell of ketones on the breath and in urine;
• Frequent urination (e.g., using the restroom during a counseling session); and
• Physical signs of malnutrition (e.g., hair loss, dry skin).

For more about this dangerous practice, here is an informative article about diabulimia being a growing problem among diabetic girls.

References:

NY Post “Woman loses her teeth after abusing diabetes for weight loss

Today’s Dietician “Understanding Diabulimia — Know the Signs and Symptoms to Better Counsel Female Patients

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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