What Is Metformin? 5 Foods to Avoid While Taking Metformin

Metformin is a medication designed for diabetic patients to control their high blood sugar which can be used with a proper diet and exercise plan along with other medications. It is commonly prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetes.

It is one of the best medications that doctors almost suggest to every diabetic patient. While there might be many good reasons to use Metformin in controlling blood sugar, you might not eat everything you want while you are on Metformin. Following a diet that is recommended by your dietitian would always be the best to manage your blood sugar along with medicines.

So what foods to avoid while taking Metformin? Although there’s no diet specifically arranged for Metformin, here’s comprehensive information that you should look at.

What is Metformin?

It is a medication that is prescribed to treat Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance issues, and pre-diabetes. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, over 30 million people with diabetes are there in the United States, and 90%-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. However, many of them don’t know.

Type 2 diabetes mostly affects people over the age of 45. This is the time for most individuals when their blood cells stop responding to insulin. Insulin helps collect glucose from the blood and sends them to the cells to transfer them into energy. When the insulin resistance stops, the cells become unable to find glucose and eventually energy. In the end, the high levels of sugar in your blood damages your blood vessels, and organs, and increase the risk of cardiac issues along with kidney diseases and neuropathy.

Metformin here performs as a life-saver for many. It is a drug that falls in the category of medications named biguanides. This category has prescription medication that prevents the liver from producing excess sugar in the blood.  According to what MedlinePlus described, Metformin also helps in decreasing the amount of sugar from the blood that your body absorbs from the food you consume. It also aids in improving the blood cells to absorb insulin.

What is Metformin
source:healthline.com

The above discussion might have given you an idea that Metformin is the only medication that can save your day. But the reality is far more different. It may provide you control over your blood sugar in numerous ways but it is definitely not magic that cures your diabetes. To bring out the most benefits of Metformin, you will need to follow a strict diet in addition to the prescription along with the exercise program that your dietitian would design for your specific needs.

What is a Metformin diet?

As stated earlier, there’s no specific diet for Metformin. It depends on the type and level of diabetes and the energy needed by a person. But when all you need to manage your diabetes, the diet you take plays an important role, sometimes more than any medication.

When it comes to metabolism and digestion, certain types of food materials break down into glucose, which then turns into energy through blood cells. These foods include carbohydrates mainly. In case, you take more than the required amount of glucose in your diet, your body will store the additional glucose in other organs like muscles and liver. If not stored, it becomes fat.

Some of these carbohydrate-containing foods are;

  • Fruits and fruit juices
  • Starches, bread, cereals, and grains
  • Milk and Yogurt
  • Lentils, peas, and Beans
  • Starchy vegetables including corn, peas, and potatoes

In addition, if you have diabetes, you don’t have to cut down on carbohydrates in your life. All you need is to control your carbohydrate intake at each meal. A myriad of methods is there which show how you can use a controlled amount of carbohydrates to manage your glucose. But before you opt for any one of them, you should talk to your doctor or your doctor to determine one for you.

Foods to avoid while taking Metformin

Here are the top 6 foods that you never think of taking if you have diabetes and you are using Metformin.

1. Fats

If a person is on Metformin, a group of healthy fats can be of great help to manage diabetes. But when you are on Metformin, avoid using foods and snacks full of carbohydrates and saturated fats.

2. Refined and simple carbohydrates

As said, carbohydrates play an important role in increasing sugar levels in the body. Carbohydrates like desserts, soda, and candies must not be taken while on Metformin. Also, refined carbs like white bread, pasta, and white rice should be avoided.

3. Sodium

While on Metformin, a diabetic should avoid consuming sodium. Before you plan to eat something, research about it. If the product has a sodium inclusion of more than 2300 milligrams, you should avoid it. The total intake of sodium for a diabetic is 2300 mg for the whole day.

4. High fiber food

Fiber is one of the food materials that absorb medicines and stops the body from absorbing medicine into the bloodstream. If a person consumes more fiber in a complete day, it may affect Metformin’s effect and may reduce the levels of Metformin in the body. The ideal per day consumption of fiber in a diabetic body is 30 gm.

5. Alcohol

Even if a person is not on Metformin, he should avoid alcohol consumption. A huge amount of alcohol increases the risk of low blood sugar levels in the body along with low lactic acidosis. Alcohol is responsible to prevent the liver from liberating and storing glucose in the body. Since the liver in diabetic patients is already struggling to maintain healthy glucose levels in the body, minimizing alcohol consumption should be taken into consideration. Plus, drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can instantly drop your glucose levels and you may find yourself fainted.

Also, it is true that with alcohol the patients have to increase their dose of either insulin or any other medication that they have been using to control their diabetes. Metformin, however, amplifies the quality and quantity of lactate, which can be dangerous for some reasons. All in all, alcohol consumption at moderate levels and in controlled environments is safe. For males, the safe level would be 2 drinks and for females 1 drink a day.

What is a Metformin diet
source:ro.co

Foods that can be added to Metformin Diet

Here are five foods that you should add to your diet while on Metformin;

1. Complex carbs

These carbohydrates are taken from veggies, fruits, whole-grain such as whole-grain bread, and whole-grain rice. These foods are high in fiber this is why it gets difficult for them to metabolize easily. Eventually, they slow down the process of glucose liberation in the bloodstream. As these foods are high in carbs, a person that is on Metformin must track the consumption which must be lower than 2300mg.

2. Lean protein

The consumption of lean meat such as fish, turkey, and tofu must be added to the Metformin diet.

3. Healthy fats

Nuts, Olive oil, and Fish are great sources of healthy fats, you should add them to your diet once or twice a week.

4. Non-starchy vegetables

Vegetables like leafy greens and broccoli slow down the carb metabolism.

5. Moderate fiber consumption

Although fiber consumption is not often suggested to diabetic patients. But a moderate level of fiber intake can be useful for the process. This is because fiber helps in regulating blood sugar levels. Keeping fiber consumption up to 25-30 gm a day will satiate the need for fiber in the body.

Additional things that should be avoided while on Metformin

Other than a range of foods, there are some medicines as well that should be avoided while on Metformin. These medicines can enhance the risk of developing lactic acidosis. This is why when you have been prescribed these medicines, inform your doctor that you are on Metformin. Even if you are not prescribed these, tell your concerned doctor that you are taking any of these diseases while you are being prescribed Metformin.

These medicines include;

  • antipsychotic medications including chlorpromazine
  • oral contraceptives
  • Diuretics like acetazolamide
  • anticonvulsants like topiramate, zonisamide
  • antihypertensive such as amlodipine
  • corticosteroids like prednisone

In addition, if a person is consuming these drugs, they should avoid consuming high-fiber foods. Because fiber can bind and reduce the concentration of medicines.

Productive ways to control carbohydrates

Here’s a breakdown of some methods that you can opt to control your carb consumption and manage diabetes;

Foods to avoid while taking Metformin
source:everydayhealth.com

Measuring carbohydrates: Also called carb counting. A type of meal plan where you are given a certain amount of carbs to eat at each meal. They can be snacks or any other type where they are given in portions or grams. With this meal plan, you can cut carbs by planning your meals round the clock.  These low-carb foods are lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats.

Low-glycemic diet: This diet is based on the consideration of how a few types of carbohydrates affect the blood glucose or body. For example, white bread which is assumed to be a high-glycemic food might become the reason for a rapid rise in blood sugar. On the other hand, whole grain bread causes a comparatively low and gradual increase in blood sugar.

Creating your plate: Many times it becomes daunting for people when they get to know that they have diabetes. The thoughts may process the fear of counting dietary nutrition, reading labels, researching before eating anything, etc. TO make this easy for them, American Diabetic Association has designed a meal plan for them, namely, Create Your Plate.

With this technique, diabetics can divide their daily portions into sections of nutrition that they need every day in a certain amount. It requires filling half of the plate with non-starchy vegetables, one quarter with lean protein, and one quarter with healthy carbs. This will provide you with the daily needs of protein and carbs. But make sure to add foods that go appropriate with Metformin.

Choose your food: This meal planning method will help you control your carb intake if you need more help to get benefits from the allowed foods. Through this method, you can have a specific amount of carbs, fats, and lean protein. This method helps people in weight loss as well as in controlling blood sugar by portion and calorie control.

Side effects of Metformin

Despite many good reasons to use Metformin, there are some darker sides to the usage as well. According to a published review in 2016 December named, Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism, the common complaints against Metformin involve vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, gas, and abdominal pain where diarrhea and nausea were topping the list.

The authors of the review stated that it is not completely understood why Metformin was becoming the reason for gastrointestinal distress. However, the medicine promotes insulin resistance, and the possible reason for diarrhea is carb consumption. On the other hand, Mayo Clinic declares that many illnesses are caused when people take medicines on an empty stomach.

End note

While there are many ways that you can control your blood sugar and Metformin is one of them. But a range of foods to avoid while taking Metformin. Try contacting your doctor if you have concerns about diabetes and connected symptoms.