Metformin is a widely prescribed medication for the management of type 2 diabetes. It helps lower blood glucose levels by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing glucose production in the liver. While metformin is generally safe and well-tolerated, it is important to be aware of certain foods that may interact with this medication or affect its efficacy. By understanding which foods to avoid while taking metformin, individuals can optimize the benefits of their treatment and maintain stable blood sugar levels. In this article, we will explore some common foods that should be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether to ensure the best possible outcomes when using metformin. However, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet or medication regimen.
What is Metformin?
Metformin is a widely prescribed medication for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and insulin resistance. With over 30 million individuals affected by diabetes, the majority of them (90 to 95%) have Type 2 diabetes, as reported by the CDC. As a member of the biguanide class of medications, metformin works by inhibiting the liver’s production of sugar. Additionally, it helps decrease the absorption of sugar from the food we consume and enhances the body’s sensitivity to insulin. These combined actions contribute to better blood sugar control and management of the underlying conditions.
Foods to Avoid While Taking Metformin
As much as possible, avoid white bread, white rice, white pasta, candy, soda, desserts, and snacks like chips or crackers. Eating foods that can raise your blood sugar will not necessarily cause metformin not to work, however, it will increase the burden against which it has to work.
Foods to Consider When Taking Metformin
To support blood glucose control alongside metformin treatment, incorporating certain foods into your diet can be beneficial. Opting for complex carbohydrates like brown rice, whole grain oats, whole-grain bread, and quinoa provides fibre, which slows down the conversion of carbs into glucose and helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. Additionally, these foods promote healthy insulin and glucose levels, support gut health, and may aid in weight loss.
Including healthy fats in your diet is crucial, with a focus on unsaturated fats found in fish, nuts, avocado, and olive oil. These fats help combat inflammation and protect heart health while maintaining a low-fat diet.
Fibre is often lacking in the average American diet, but it plays a crucial role in supporting a healthy digestive tract, stable blood sugar levels, and weight management. Aim for a daily intake of 25-30 grams from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. If it’s challenging to meet this goal through food alone, consult your healthcare provider before considering a fibre supplement. Remember not to take fibre supplements at the same time as metformin to avoid any interference with drug absorption.
Lean sources of protein such as turkey, chicken, fish, and tofu can assist in blood sugar control while minimising saturated fat intake. Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, leafy greens, and cauliflower should fill half of your plate at each meal.
When it comes to fruits, choose lower-carb options for better glucose balance. While all fruits contain beneficial nutrients, opting for berries, which are low in carbs and high in fibre, can be particularly advantageous.
Precautions of Metformin
In some situations, too much metformin can cause lactic acidosis. Symptoms of lactic acidosis manifest rapidly and are severe. They typically arise when there are underlying, unrelated health issues of significant gravity, such as a heart attack or kidney failure.
Common side effects of Metformin
Feeling sick (nausea)
Being sick (vomiting)
Loss of appetite
Metallic taste in Mouth
When to Show the Doctor Metformin?
In the event that you encounter any of the subsequent symptoms, discontinue the use of metformin and promptly contact your doctor: excessive fatigue, weakness, or restlessness; feelings of nausea; persistent vomiting; stomach discomfort; diminished appetite; deep and rapid breathing or trouble breathing; lightheadedness; muscle pain; fast or slow heartbeat; dizziness; flushing of the skin; or feeling cold, especially in your hands or feet.
Q1: What are the common side effects of metformin?
Ans: Common side effects of metformin include nausea and stomach discomfort.
Q2: Can metformin cause low blood sugar?
Ans: Metformin alone typically does not cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Q3: Can I drink alcohol while taking metformin?
Ans: It is generally recommended to limit alcohol consumption while on metformin.
Q4: Can metformin be taken during pregnancy?
Ans: Consult with a healthcare provider to determine the safety and suitability of metformin during pregnancy.
Q5: Does metformin cause weight loss?
Ans: Metformin may contribute to modest weight loss in some individuals with diabetes.