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Bariatric Surgery Can Improve Blood Sugar Control in Type 1 Diabetics

In recent years, bariatric surgeons have recognized weight-loss surgery as one of the safest, most effective treatments for type 2 diabetes.

Updated: January 14, 2021
blood sugar control
By MBL Featured Blogger: Karen Eisenbraun
Originally Posted: October 6, 2020

Blood Sugar Control


Now, new research is showing that patients with type 1 diabetes who are also overweight or obese can improve their blood sugar control and diabetes management after undergoing bariatric surgery.

Compared to patients with type 1 diabetes, those with type 2 diabetes generally suffer from their conditions as a result of developing a resistance to insulin, which usually occurs due to eating a high-fat diet. Type 2 diabetics can often reverse their conditions after making a series of lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet, regular exercise, and in some cases, weight-loss surgery.

However, patients with type 1 diabetes experience high blood sugar levels as a result of being unable to produce insulin naturally, which usually requires life-long treatment of insulin therapy. Unfortunately, bariatric surgery is unable to reverse type 1 diabetes, since weight loss does not have the ability to kick-start the pancreas into suddenly being able to develop insulin. 

The study, which was based on a collection of bariatric surgery cases conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, showed that bariatric surgery can help type 1 diabetic patients improve their H1c levels and reduce their daily insulin needs. Patients with type 1 diabetes are also able to lower their risk for cardiac events such as heart attack and stroke and improve their diabetes management following bariatric surgery. 

All patients involved in the study had been living with type 1 diabetes for an average of 22 years and had an average body mass index (BMI) of 42. Three years after having bariatric surgery, nearly all patients were able to lose more than 60 percent of their total body weight and reach an average BMI of 27. As a result of having a healthier body, the patients’ diabetes management and insulin need to be improved dramatically.

The authors who led the study say that the type 1 diabetic patients involved with the study may have experienced a reduction in H1c levels and insulin needs as a result of eating smaller portion sizes following bariatric surgery. However, researchers would need to conduct further studies to verify whether smaller portion sizes are the reason for improved diabetes management.

If you are interested in weight loss surgery, check out MBL’s Ultimate Guide To Weight Loss Surgery.




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Karen Eisenbraun is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and writer with a background in digital marketing. She has written extensively on the topics of nutrition and holistic health for many leading websites.

Karen received her nutrition certification from the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2012. She follows a ketogenic diet and practices intermittent fasting. Karen advocates a whole foods approach to nutrition and believes in empowering yourself with information that allows you to make smarter decisions about your health.

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