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Foods to AVOID while on Prednisone

Foods to AVOID while on Prednisone

Sometimes it feels like no matter what we eat while on prednisone, we will gain weight.

But that’s not true.
Some foods are worse than others for people taking prednisone.
Some foods are…
dare I say it…
practically poisonous for prednisone patients. (That’s a lot of P’s!)

Find out one surprising food group NOT on this list!

Learn about foods to avoid:

1. Sugar

High blood sugar is the worst change to your metabolism caused by prednisone. Hyperglycemia, the medical term for high blood sugar, can lead to diabetes and weight gain. Since prednisone is a glucocorticoid drug, it means prednisone is messing with the metabolism of glucose, our body’s sugar. Any strategy to make it easier for your body to compensate for how prednisone is increasing blood sugar is a good idea. Avoiding sugar is the #1 dietary change everyone should make while on prednisone.

Other names for sugar in your diet:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Simple Sugar
  • Simple Carbohydrates
  • White Sugar
  • White Flour
  • White Rice
  • Refined Food
  • Food Examples
    • Bakery: Cookies, Cakes, Bread, Donuts, Rolls
    • Candy
    • Soda Pop
    • Syrup, Jelly
    • Chips, Crackers
    • Instant Boxed Dinner
    • Pasta
    • “Fat Free”
Avoid candy on prednisone
Prednisone Patients should avoid candy and other simple sugars

2. Salt

Prednisone causes your body to retain sodium and get rid of potassium. Eating extra sodium in your diet makes it hard for your kidneys to keep up. Too much salt leads to sodium retention and water weight.

Other names for salt:

  • Sodium
  • Table Salt
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Food Examples
    • Bread
    • Chips, Crackers
    • Instant Boxed Dinner
    • Pasta, Sauce
    • Preserved Meat
    • Canned Food
    • Pizza
    • Processed Cheese
    • Frozen Meals
The Salty Six – Image Credit: The American Heart Association

3. Caffeine

  • Food Examples
    • Coffee
    • Soda
  • Why?
    • Caffeine can decrease bone mass, which is one of the most permanent and irreversible side effects of prednisone.
    • Most caffeinated beverages are also high in sugar, which is the #1 food to avoid.

5. Alcohol

  • Beverages
  • Food Examples
    • Beer
    • Wine
  • Why?
    • Alcohol can decrease bone mass.
    • Beer contains carbs which can lead to weight gain.
Image credit: Very Well Health

Surprise Foods

What is NOT listed to avoid while on Prednisone?


  • Unsaturated
  • Saturated
  • Food Examples
    • Butter
    • Uncured Meats
    • Coconut Milk
    • Olive Oil
  • Avoid: vegetable oils, margarine, fat substitutes

Fat does not make you Fat

Dietary fat is not the enemy.

Hope you can eat more healthfully now that you know which foods make prednisone weight gain worse!

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