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Foods to Avoid with Trulicity

<p>Foods to Avoid with Trulicity</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 8 min read

Healthy eating is one of the most underrated solutions to illnesses. The concept is most commonly linked to weight loss, and little focus is put on the beneficial effects of tailoring our consumption. Over the years, nutritionists have found that eliminating certain foods from our diets can help accelerate the effects of drugs, especially those which control and manage blood sugar levels. Below we find out more about Trulicity and the foods that may affect its ability to successfully manage blood sugar levels:

What is Trulicity?

Trulicity is a prescription drug designed to improve and manage blood sugar (glucose) levels in those with Type 2 diabetes (Mellitus). The drug comes in a liquid form that is prefilled in injectable pens and must be administered subcutaneously (under the skin) once weekly. The drug must be used with a special diet and increased exercise to extract maximum effects from its use. Trulicity uses the active ingredient dulaglutide to carry out its function and comes in varying strengths to accommodate different users and condition severities. 

Dulaglutide is a synthetic ingredient that helps the body release appropriate amounts of insulin when needed. Trulicity's regulatory effect on blood sugar levels reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events (ailments or conditions dealing with the heart and blood vessels). This includes heart attacks, strokes, and possible death in people who suffer from heart disease or have multiple cardiovascular risk factors. The product has a great safety and tolerability profile which means that it is quite flexible and can be used in conjunction with compatible medicines. However, certain consumables must be avoided when on treatment. These foods are typically things that support glucose spikes. 

Does Trulicity Affect Food Digestion and Excretion?

Trulicity is a non-insulin treatment, making it different from traditional hormone-based insulin medicines. This means that the drug doesn't work like insulin at all. Insulin uses a single-handed approach which introduces the insulin hormone directly into the bloodstream to control blood sugar levels. Trulicity, on the other hand, uses a multidirectional approach—several processes to lower blood sugar.

Once injected, Trulicity activates glucagon-like peptide 1 receptors, better known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. By stimulating these receptors, the drug promotes the natural production of insulin while decreasing the release of glucagon (a hormone that increases blood sugar levels). In essence, it helps the body correct its own glucose flaw. In addition, Trulicity also slows down digestion processes and delays stomach emptying. 

This is where its effect on digestion and excretion comes in. The drug slows the release of carbohydrates and sugar into the bloodstream to regulate blood sugar levels. The speed restriction on these processes means food lingers in the body for much longer. Thus, its best beneficial foods do the rounds rather than harmful ones. Even though the drug doesn't come with any specific food-restrictive schedule, experts recommend that patients be more wary of what they eat to prevent undesirable and delayed results.

What Foods to Avoid While Using Trulicity?

Trulicity has no limitations or restrictions linked to food in its warnings, contraindications, or interactions list. However, there are some foods that a diabetic individual would be better off without as it leads to a better lifestyle and blood sugar levels. A healthy diet can greatly affect the efficiency of Trulicity, which supports better outcomes in shorter time frames. 

Below we list foods that should be avoided when using Trulicity: 

  • Fried foods

Trulicity use comes with the possibility of nausea and tummy upset, which means fried food must be avoided to prevent the worsening of these effects. Trulicity also delays stomach emptying. Lingering oily food in the body can further heighten feelings of nausea or stomach upset.

Example: Opt for baked, grilled, or steamed food instead of fried food. Air fryer cooking is also an option, as food has a crispy texture without the added oil or fat.

  • Refined grains

Refined grains are basically grains that have been stripped of their nutrient content and fiber-rich components. This results in a low-fiber, low-nutrient grain with little nutritional value. Refined grains are likely to raise blood sugar and cholesterol levels, negatively affecting heart health. 

Examples: Flour tortillas, white bagels, white bread, white rice 

  • Foods with added sugar

Added sugar, as the name suggests, is sugar that is added to a product. This can be any consumable product, even those that seem healthy, like dried fruit, yogurt, nutrition bars, and whole-grain cereals.  

Example: The nutrition facts label must be checked to see if the added sugar in each serving is not exceeded—daily added sugar intakes should be below 30 grams while taking Trulicity.

  • Sugary drinks

Sugary beverages are by far one of the biggest enemies of diabetes. Frequent consumption of drinks like sweetened teas, soda, energy drinks, sugary coffee drinks, and others that are high in added sugar can make controlling blood sugar levels near impossible. This can lead to poorly-controlled diabetes, which results in complications like heart/kidney disease, nerve damage, diabetic retinopathy (eye damage), and more.

Example: A standard can of cola has 39 grams of added sugar, exceeding the recommended maximum daily intake of 24-32 grams.

In addition to the foods mentioned above, Trulicity users should also aim to reduce or eliminate alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol consumption can lower blood sugar levels by reducing the amount of sugar released by the liver. Together with Trulicity, this can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Alcohol consumption must be moderate and paired with a meal to avoid undesirable effects.

Foods to Eat while Taking Trulicity

The Trulicity Diet is a basic guideline of foods that would help boost the effects of the treatment and streamline body and mind functioning. It doesn't involve strict scheduling or calorie counting. Rather, it just points you in the direction of what you should be eating to counteract the negative effects of Type 2 diabetes. 

Below we look at some of the main components of the Trulicity diet:

  • Protein-rich foods

Protein is the most valuable part of any diet. When dealing with Type 2 diabetes, it's best to ensure one-quarter of a meal plate consists of protein. Data from PubMed shows that protein increases feelings of fullness. This reduces sugar cravings which helps keep blood glucose levels in check.

Examples: Chicken, cheese, fish, unsweetened yogurt, eggs 

  • Nuts

Nuts are rich in unsaturated fats, protein, and fiber. These healthy fats can help improve heart health, which is imperative when dealing with diabetes. Replacing saturated fats with healthy fats reduces cardiovascular risks by promoting healthy cholesterol levels. Healthy fats and proteins do not raise blood sugar levels, making them a great option for daily consumption. Adding protein to all meals or snacks helps regulate blood sugar levels. According to studies, consuming protein and fat with carbohydrates can help slow the rise in blood glucose after eating.

Examples: Nuts+fresh fruit will not increase blood sugar levels as much as fruit alone.

  • Whole grains

Grains are divided into two categories, refined and whole grains. Refined grains are a type of carbohydrate that is metabolized into glucose when consumed. On the other hand, whole grains are healthy and better than refined grains (white rice, white bread). Whole grains are rich in fiber, and although it is a carbohydrate, it doesn't raise blood sugar levels. According to the CDC, fiber can help control blood sugar because the body cannot absorb and break it down. 

The higher the fiber content in the grain, the lower the impact on blood sugar levels. This can help keep blood sugar levels regulated and in the ideal range. Whole grains also have a higher protein content as well. This means they are more filling and require smaller portions which benefits diabetes and weight management.

Examples: Brown rice, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, bulgur, barley.

  • Non-starchy vegetables

Non-starchy vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and low in carbohydrates, making them a nutritional powerhouse. They also promote feelings of fullness without raising blood sugar levels. Starchy vegetables (green peas, potatoes, corn, winter squash) are not the enemy of diabetes but should be treated more like grains because of their impact on raising blood sugar levels. Evidence from a PubMed study shows that eating non-starchy vegetables before carbohydrates can prevent cardiovascular events—lowered risk of heart issues.

Examples: Carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, green leafy vegetables, salad greens, tomatoes

Patients are encouraged to incorporate these foods into their diet alongside other healthy low-sugar options to ensure ideal blood sugar levels are achieved and maintained. Trulicity can be safely administered with or without a meal as it's a long-acting drug with once-weekly doses only. Eating small, consistent meals while on a Trulicity treatment plan can help eliminate the possibility of mild nausea or an upset tummy which often occurs for a limited time at the beginning of treatment.

Why Should These Foods be Avoided?

Type 2 diabetes is a non-communicable disease with a soaring global prevalence rate. The increasing numbers have fueled research and trials that led to the development of several treatments like Trulicity that can improve blood glucose levels without causing harm to the body. While Trulicity is very effective in its function, it still needs external support to maximize its effects. 

Like other anti-diabetic treatments, Trulicity use must be paired with increased exercise and a controlled diet. According to a PubMed study, minor lifestyle and diet changes can reduce the condition's negative effect on a patient's health. Once harmful foods are eliminated, or consumption of these foods is limited, risk factors for cardiovascular issues, stroke, and other health conditions are reduced. 

Below we look at the benefits of avoiding certain foods during Trulicity treatment:

  • Optimal blood glucose and lipid concentrations are quickly achieved 

  • Diabetes-related complications are eliminated, or the possibility is significantly reduced

  • Overall health is improved—mental and physical capabilities due to balanced nutrition

  • Weight loss is triggered, and ideal BMIs become possible—reduced risk of disease development

Attempts to eliminate or reduce the intake of the mentioned foods are quite simple and not as complicated as the 'diabetic diet', which is a diet that requires strict calorie restrictions along with healthy eating. The diabetic diet typically results in overindulgence in some cases or monotonous consumption of certain food items. This does more harm than good to blood sugar levels. 

The Recap and Bottom Line 

Trulicity is an excellent Type 2 diabetes management tool. Studies confirm its efficacy and safety in improving blood glucose levels. However, like other anti-diabetic treatments, Trulicity needs a helping hand in fully executing its function. Limiting the consumption of sugary foods, unhealthy fats, and certain carbohydrates works as a helping hand in the management of Type 2 diabetes. An improved diet also reinforces safety parameters for both long- and short-term use. 

By avoiding the mentioned foods, patients will ensure that Trulicity does the following: 

  • Limit how much sugar gets into the bloodstream from the liver

  • Slow down how fast food leaves the stomach

  • Assists the pancreas in releasing insulin at appropriate times when high levels of sugar are present in the blood

So, in essence, avoidance in this respect will gain you a host of benefits that will usher in a healthier and happier life.


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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.