Which Food Should I Avoid While on Prednisone

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This article continues the prednisone weight gain series. In the past, I shared how prednisone causes weight gain. We’ve also talked about the consequences of weight gain. Today, I am going to share which foods to avoid while on prednisone to prevent prednisone weight gain.

Find out one surprising food group NOT on this list!

Watch my video and learn about foods to avoid:

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 practically poisonous for prednisone patients. (That’s a lot of P’s!)

First of all, if you remember for the last few weeks the #1 problem that prednisone is causing the metabolic change, the change in your metabolism is that prednisone is causing your sugar to be retained. Lots of different ways but the #1 problem is high blood sugar and that is what causes the weight gain. So what do we do to prevent that? What food should you avoid while on prednisone?

#1 Food to Avoid While on Prednisone: Sugar

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First of all, we focus on sugar and avoiding it. Sugar is basically poison to people taking prednisone; especially simple sugar like white sugar, white rice, white flour, those refined carbohydrates that your great-great-grandmother has never heard of. She has never seen things like candy in wrappers. We need to focus on foods that she would recognize. We need to stay out of the middle of the grocery store and focus on traditional foods that people have eaten for millennia. Only the real foods, whole foods: that is how we can avoid having too much sugar. So what exactly aside from flour and sugar am I talking about?

I am talking about things that come out of the bakery like bread, rolls, boggles, donuts, or all those good delicious things. Especially, when they’re made of white flour. They’re really bad for us especially when we are on prednisone. They turn right into sugar and straight into fat and all of those horrible consequences of high blood sugar.

  • Food Examples
    • Bakery: Cookies, Cakes, Bread, Donuts, Rolls
    • Candy
    • Soda Pop
    • Syrup, Jelly
    • Chips, Crackers
    • Instant Boxed Dinner
    • Pasta
    • “Fat-Free”
Salty Six Adults FINAL 1200w English
The Salty Six – Image Credit: The American Heart Associatio

#2 Salt

Next, is sodium which we usually call salt or table salt. It can also be found in monosodium glutamate or MSG. Those food are really hard for our kidneys while we are on prednisone.

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.

  • Food Examples
    • Bread
    • Chips, Crackers
    • Instant Boxed Dinner
    • Pasta, Sauce
    • Preserved Meat
    • Canned Food
    • Pizza
    • Processed Cheese
    • Frozen Meals
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#3 Caffeine

There is no high evidence that caffeine can cause prednisone weight gain, so you may take this “with a grain of salt.” The reason why this is mentioned because caffeine can increase your risk for osteoporosis and prednisone is the #1 cause of osteoporosis. There are only a few side effects to prednisone that are permanent. Prednisone-induced osteoporosis is one of the few permanent side effects. That Bone Loss will never come back!

So it’s best to prevent it and having caffeine, like coffee or caffeinated soda pop, is likely detrimental to your bone health.

  • Food Examples
    • Coffee
    • Soda
  • Why?
    • Caffeine can worsen bone loss, 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.
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#4 Alcohol

The last food to avoid while on prednisone is alcohol. Just like caffeine, there is no high evidence for this as well but it causes two theoretical problems. Alcoholic beverages like beer are also high in sugar that can lead to prednisone weight gain. So it’s best to avoid caffeine and alcohol.

  • Why?
    • Alcohol can decrease bone mass.
    • Beer contains carbs which can lead to weight gain.
  • Food Examples
    • Beer
    • Wine

Surprise Foods

What is NOT listed to avoid while on Prednisone?

Therefore, it is not about the high-fat foods, but we need to be concerned with the sugary things! That’s what we need to worry about: high blood sugar. I hope you can eat more healthfully now that you know which foods make prednisone weight gain worse!


  • Unsaturated
  • Saturated
  • Food Examples
    • Butter
    • Uncured Meats
    • Coconut Milk
    • Olive Oil
  • Avoid: vegetable oils, margarine, fat substitutes
Prevent Prednisone Weight Gain
Image credit: Very Well Health

Read more about prednisone and diet:

  • Water Weight Gain – How Prednisone Causes It
  • How to Eat the Nutrients You Need – Stop the Prednisone Weight Gain!
  • Prednisone Weight Gain
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