OBJECTIVE Insulin detemir lacks the usual propensity for insulin to cause weight gain. We investigated whether this effect was a result of reduced energy intake and/or increased energy expenditure.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS A 32-week, randomized crossover design trial was undertaken in 23 patients with type 1 diabetes. Patients on a basal-bolus regimen (with insulin aspart as the bolus insulin) were randomly assigned to insulin detemir or NPH insulin as a basal insulin for 16 weeks, followed by the other basal insulin for 16 weeks. At the end of each 16-week period, total energy expenditure, resting energy expenditure, diet-induced thermogenesis, activity energy expenditure, energy intake, weight change, glycemic control, hypoglycemic episodes, and hormones that affect satiety and fuel partitioning were measured.
RESULTS After 16 weeks, weight change was −0.69 ± 1.85 kg with insulin detemir and +1.7 ± 2.46 kg with NPH insulin (P < 0.001). Total energy intake was significantly less with insulin detemir (2,016 ± 501 kcal/day) than with NPH insulin (2,181 ± 559 kcal/day) (P = 0.026). There was no significant difference in any measure of energy expenditure, HbA1c percentage, or number of hypoglycemic episodes. Leptin was lower and resistin was higher with insulin detemir compared with NPH insulin (P = 0.039, P = 0.047). After the meal, ghrelin and pancreatic polypeptide levels (P = 0.002, P = 0.001) were higher with insulin detemir.
CONCLUSIONS The reduced weight gain with insulin detemir compared with NPH insulin is attributed to reduced energy intake rather than increased energy expenditure. This may be mediated by a direct or indirect effect of insulin detemir on the hormones that control satiety.