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How to Lose Weight on Beta Blockers

How to Lose Weight on Beta Blockers
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 4 min read

Weight loss is one of the biggest health-related concerns that many people have. This is because excess weight can greatly affect overall health and well-being by increasing the risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancers. 

The problems associated with carrying excess weight; however, expand beyond physical illness or symptoms. It can also have immense negative effects on mental health, by increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and other concerns. Despite the potential negative consequences of being overweight, 32.5 percent of Americans are considered overweight and another 36.5 percent are classified as obese. While the ultimate key to losing weight is to create a calorie deficit, many find success with weight loss when taking beta blockers.

What Are Beta Blockers?

Beta-blockers, also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, are a class of medications that block the effects of the hormone epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, on the body. These drugs work by blocking the action of epinephrine and other hormones on the heart and blood vessels, which can help to reduce the workload on the heart and lower blood pressure. Because of this, they are primarily used to treat conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), angina (chest pain), and heart failure. They can also be used to treat certain types of irregular heartbeats (also known as arrhythmias) and to prevent migraine headaches in chronic sufferers.

Although the medication is helpful for these conditions, it is not a cure for any of them. Instead, it is a treatment that helps to control the symptoms experienced, while preventing catastrophic complications due to problems like high blood pressure. Generally, it takes several weeks of taking the medication regularly before a patient will receive the full effect; however, it is important that those who are prescribed this medication do not stop taking it without specific directives from their doctors- even if they feel they are receiving no benefit from it at first. In many cases, patients begin to feel better after taking the medication for several weeks and may be tempted to stop taking it afterward. This is never advised and all changes to medications should be discussed with your medical care team. 

How Do Beta Blockers Affect Weight Loss?

For those who take beta-blockers, one of the primary side effects of the medication is weight gain. This can be problematic for those who are already overweight or obese and struggling with weight-related conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. On average, studies showed that those who were taking beta-blockers gained 2.6 pounds. After taking the medication for several months, weight gain typically reaches its peak and patients no longer experience weight gain as a side effect. Despite this, it is also important to note that not all beta-blocker medications list weight gain as a side effect. This phenomenon is most common in older beta-blocker medications than with newer ones.  In most instances, doctors will opt for ones that do not cause weight gain; however, it is important to note that older varieties are required to treat some conditions like certain heart conditions or patients who have not experienced success with other treatments.

If you have noticed weight gain while taking beta-blockers, it is important to mention this information to your doctor. If you have been taking the beta-blocker for a long time, perhaps a doctor will advise switching to a newer brand of medication that avoids this side effect. While this is not possible in all cases due to the risks of the pre-existing condition being left improperly treated, it is crucial to continue to take any and all medications as prescribed by a health care professional.

For those who are struggling with weight gain and switching medications is not possible, it is important to focus on following a well-balanced, healthy diet and getting adequate exercise each day. Ultimately, regardless of the medications that a person is taking, when a calorie deficiency is created, weight loss will occur. In simpler terms, this means burning more calories than are consumed. By eating a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, while regularly participating in activities like cardio or strength training exercises, your body will burn calories instead of converting them into stored fat. 

In extreme cases, weight loss can also be achieved through more invasive options like bariatric surgery, which is a weight loss surgery that limits the amount of food the stomach can hold and reduces the absorption of calories. Bariatric surgery, although immensely helpful, is usually recommended for people who are severely obese and have been unable to lose weight through other methods.

Side Effects of Beta Blockers

When a doctor prescribes any medication to a patient, it is because they have determined that the potential benefits of a medication outweigh any potential risks. Although weight gain with beta-blockers can lead to further health complications, in most cases, the benefits of controlling conditions like heart failure and high blood pressure outweigh the risks of the patient gaining a few pounds over the course of several months. Unfortunately, however, weight gain is not the only side effect associated with beta-blockers. While many of the symptoms are mild, some may warrant immediate medical attention. The most common side effects include: 

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Weight Gain

  • Cold Hands or Feet

  • Decreased Sex Drive

  • Insomnia

  • Depression

Likewise, beta blockers can interact negatively with other medications like blood thinners, insulin and other diabetes medications, and asthma medications. Taking beta blockers with any of these medications can increase the intensity of side effects or decrease the effectiveness of the medication as a whole. Overall, beta blockers are generally considered to be safe and effective medications for treating high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions. As with any medication, it's important to be aware of the potential side effects and to notify your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms. In case of any serious side effects, it's important to seek medical attention immediately.

Diets for Weight Loss on Beta Blockers

True weight loss that is able to be maintained long-term is typically the result of lifestyle and diet changes, rather than through fad diets or medications. There are many diets that are easy to follow and also effective for weight loss. Despite this, the one that works best for you while taking beta blockers will vary based on a multitude of factors. Some of these factors include personal preference, lifestyle, and other existing health conditions or medications that you are taking. In some cases, certain medications can interact with foods, supplements, and other dietary components. Be sure to discuss any changes to your diet with your doctor before instituting them, but some diets have been found to be more effective in promoting weight loss than others. 

One of the most popular and well-studied diets for weight loss is the Mediterranean diet. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil. It also includes moderate amounts of fish and poultry and low amounts of red meat and dairy. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can help to promote weight loss, improve heart health, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Another effective diet for weight loss is the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. It also limits the intake of saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars. The DASH diet has been shown to help lower blood pressure and promote weight loss.

Low-carbohydrate diets, such as the popular Atkins and ketogenic diets, can also be effective for weight loss and are some of the most popular and most recognizable diets. These diets both involve reducing the intake of carbohydrates and increasing the intake of healthy fats and proteins. This can lead to a decrease in appetite, and promote weight loss by encouraging the body to burn stored fat for a source of energy. Many who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes also turn to low-carb diets to aid in weight loss and blood sugar management. 

The low-fat diet is another diet that has been used for weight loss. It emphasizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy while limiting the intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. It's important to understand that while these diets have been found to be effective for weight loss, they should be approached in a healthy and sustainable way. Crash dieting or extreme weight loss methods can be harmful to both physical and mental health, and it is important to focus on making lifestyle changes that can be maintained over time. This is particularly true in cases where there are pre-existing health conditions or concerns at play that require diligent management to avoid extreme health crises from occurring. 

Key Takeaway

Losing weight has a plethora of positive effects on a person’s overall health, including improving blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, and improving cholesterol levels. A reduction in weight also has a positive impact on an individual’s emotional and psychological well-being. Because one takes control of their health and achieves a goal that they have worked diligently at, it can decrease feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem, and lack of confidence that is often experienced by those who are overweight and have struggled with weight loss in the past. 

Despite this, it is crucial to heed the advice of a trained nutritionist or a medical doctor before attempting any weight loss methods that you are not familiar with. This is because certain foods may interact with medications like beta-blockers, supplements, or health conditions and this can lead to an opposite effect. A person following the wrong diet for weight loss based on their existing health or diet restrictions may experience extremely high or low blood sugar levels, increased blood pressure levels, malnutrition, and nausea or intestinal discomfort among others. Once the right diet and approach to weight loss on beta blockers are determined, a person can find ways to implement these changes sustainably into their everyday lifestyle for long-term weight maintenance and better overall health. 



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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.