Prednisone cravings are one of the worst side effects of prednisone and today I am sharing with you how prednisone causes cravings. Prednisone cravings are different than pregnancy cravings. I’ve been pregnant. I know exactly how those cravings feel.
Does prednisone cause food cravings?
Yes! Prednisone causes food cravings because it’s turning off the signal in your brain that you’re full.
Can I do something to stop my prednisone cravings?
Yes, you can do something on minimizing your cravings by cutting out sugar, drinking more fluids, and focusing on eating healthy foods.
Check out this video, or read the transcription below.
Prednisone Cravings vs. Pregnancy Cravings
Pregnancy cravings feel like, “if I don’t have this one thing right now, I’m going to die.”
That’s how it felt. When I was pregnant, I wanted broccoli. Who wants broccoli? I wanted broccoli and I had to have it now. And I didn’t want just one piece of broccoli, I wanted the whole head of broccoli!
With another pregnancy, I wanted those freshly made pickles straight from the farm. In New York City, I would buy them at the farmer’s market at Central Park. Oh! They were so delicious and so lovely.
Then with my first pregnancy, I craved the chicken ranch salad at Wingers. Oh, so delicious!
Each of those times while pregnant, I craved one thing. With prednisone, it’s not really that you have one thing you want. It’s that you want all the things!
“I want all the food!”
This is how I felt:
I want the entire fridge and the entire pantry and–oh wait–the entire grocery store too. I’m so hungry. I can’t even tell that I’ve eaten anything. Even though I just ate an hour ago or wait, I’m still eating. And I’m still thinking about what I’m going to eat next. That’s how prednisone felt to me, it felt like before (while not on prednisone) I could eat one slice of cake and I’d be okay, but while on prednisone, high doses, if I didn’t have the whole cake, I might die.
If I didn’t get to eat all the food in my fridge. And that is how we get the number one side effect, weight gain. 70% of people who take prednisone gain weight!
Why does prednisone make you hungry?
The doctors don’t even mention it because there are probably more important things going on than worrying about long-term weight gain. Like maybe saving your life. At least that’s how it was for me.
So prednisone causes hunger cravings because it’s turning off the signal in your brain that would tell you you’re full.
There’s this hormone that is sent from your brain to your appetite centers that say “You’ve had enough. Now you can stop eating.”
Prednisone interferes that, that whole cascade, that signal isn’t being sent like it normally would. So what do you need to do?
Tips to Minimize Prednisone Cravings
You need to be the one sending that signal and you have to learn to ignore the hunger signal. You need to figure out ways to give yourself a fullness signal. So listed below are the strategies that you can follow:
One is to count your calories. You’ve probably heard that a million times, but if you’re thinking about it, instead of just like, oh, I’m still hungry and listening to your stomach, you’re letting your brain do the work instead of your tummy. That’s one strategy. I don’t recommend that for a long-term solution though. It’s exhausting. And I personally can’t do that.
I can’t tally every single thing I eat. I’ve never succeeded in counting calories. That’s just not a strategy that I use. So if you’ve done WeightWatchers if you like apps, like counting things; if that’s your personality, then download the MyFitness app, download the WeightWatchers app, download whatever app you need and it can help you track your calories.
That’s a great strategy for certain personality types.
One I recommend is the Well World app.
2. Trick your hunger signals
Another strategy is to trick your hunger satiety signals into being active. So one thing you can do is drink a lot of water because that fills up your tummy. And so it makes you feel maybe pain in your tummy that it’s so full from all the food. Plus all that water that it pushes your brain to think, “oh, I guess I might be full.”
Because it hurts, but I’m still hungry, but I think I’m full. So if you can trick yourself into drinking, lots of water, like two glasses before you eat anything and then make it a rule.
Make yourself a rule: “after if I want seconds, then I need to set a timer for five minutes, drink another whole glass of water.”
And if I’m still hungry, then maybe we can talk about it. But maybe setting a timer, drinking lots of water are things you can try to really put a little, your brain behind it instead of just listening to your tummy.
3. Be mindful of what you eat
So we’ve talked about eating, we’ve talked about drinking, and now let’s talk about what to eat. So prednisone is a glucocorticoid “gluco” meaning glucose, meaning sugar, meaning carbs. It’s messing up your sugar metabolism. It’s interfering with your ability to use sugar properly.
And so if you deprive yourself of sugar, then you’re fighting back exactly where the prednisone is hitting, where it hitting you.
It’s like Achille’s heel. The Achilles tendon of prednisone is sugar. If you can cut out that sugar, then you can cut out the weight.
Prednisone’s interfering with your blood sugars. So if you don’t eat your delicious things that you love and you cut out sugar, then you’re giving yourself a chance to stop the weight gain and to feel better while you’re on prednisone to stop your chances of having diabetes to stop the consequences of diabetes.
If you cut out sugar and I know that’s so hard and I did it and I do it every year for Lent. It’s just a habit. But it’s always hard.
That first week is always so hard, but you can do it and it’s worth it when you’re on prednisone. It’s worth it. When you have a deeper reason, then you can do it.
When you are taking care of your body, when you are making sure you don’t die early because you got diabetes from taking this prescription drug at one point in your life, we don’t want that. And so you can do this. Cut out sugar, drink more water and focus on nutrient-dense foods. You do these things that will help so much in cutting down on your cravings while taking prednisone.
An Easier Way
If you’d like an easier way to achieve these goals, then I’ve got the perfect strategy for you.
I created a program with all of these strategies incorporated, plus even more!
It’s called Lose the Prednisone Pounds with Dr. Megan
Just click the link and you can cut your prednisone cravings.
Plus it’s FREE!
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