Prednisone is a steroid that is often prescribed to treat inflammatory conditions.
Prednisone mimics the actions of cortisol—the body’s stress hormone.
Sometimes, your immune system may not work the way it’s supposed to. Usually, the immune system protects your body from foreign bodies like viruses and bacteria. But sometimes, your immune system can attack your body cells.
This can lead to your tissues becoming damaged. Steroids like prednisone help fight the damage by reducing the compounds that cause the inflammation of your body’s tissues and cells.
Additionally, the steroids suppress your immune system to reduce damage. The steroids are like medicinal damage control for autoimmune disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease or lupus.
Prednisone has multiple side effects. They are loss of muscle mass, thin skin, osteoporosis, blood pressure complications and weight gain.
One study found that weight gain was the most widely reported side effect of steroid use.
WHY DOES PREDNISONE CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN?
According to the University of California, San Francisco, prednisone redistributes fat to your face, back of your neck and abdomen.
Prednisone weight gain is also caused by fluid retention. This is because steroids change your body’s electrolytes, water balance and metabolism.
It will also increase appetite.
The higher the dose and the longer you take prednisone, the more effects you shall see.
A study compared people who took 7.5mg of prednisone a day for more than 60 days and those who had lower doses for a shorter time.
The ones on the bigger and longer dose saw more effects like weight gain.
However, once you’re off the steroids, your body will readjust, and the effects will wear off after six months.
HOW TO AVOID WEIGHT GAIN ON PREDNISONE
The most important thing you can do is speak with your doctor about your condition. If there are effective alternatives, your doctor may recommend switching to those.
Your doctor could also change your dosage. They could also change the form you take it in. For instance, if you’re taking inhaled steroids for asthma, your doctor could change it to steroid tablets.
Other steps you can take to avoid prednisone weight gain are:
CHANGE YOUR DIET
To reduce fluid retention, it’s best to go on a low-sodium diet. Avoid eating overprocessed foods and salty meals.
You can also go on a low-calorie diet to prevent prednisone weight gain. Decrease the number of empty calories you consume each day. Reduce saturated fats in your meals, eat frequent smaller meals rather than three large ones, have meals rich in complex carbs, fibre and protein.
Studies show that eating fibre and protein helps keep you fuller for longer, thus suppressing your appetite.
Eat fruits before every meal. Drink lots of water. Evidence shows that water helps you burn more calories.
Speak with your doctor about a suitable workout routine to avoid prednisone weight gain. This will also help your long-term health.
Because you’re unwell, exercise may feel difficult. However, your doctor can help you develop simple exercises that will help you burn calories and keep your heart happy.
DOES PREDNISONE CAUSE WEIGHT LOSS IN 5 DAYS?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, taking high doses of prednisone for a longer period leads to weight gain. If you take prednisone in five days, it doesn’t affect your body weight.
Studies show that taking prednisone in less than seven days doesn’t affect your weight.
However, if you take prednisone, you may notice that you lose weight in the first few weeks of treatment.
Studies show that prednisone causes lipolysis in the first few weeks. This is the breakdown of fat cells. Prednisone weight loss only occurs in the first few weeks and then after it changes to weight gain.
HERE ARE 10 WAYS TO REVERSE PREDNISONE WEIGHT GAIN
Most of the effects of prednisone wear off once you stop taking it. But you may need to do a little extra work to reverse prednisone weight gain.
REDUCE SODIUM INTAKE
To reverse prednisone weight gain, avoid processed foods, canned foods and fast food like burgers, fries and hot dogs because they are laden in sodium.
People usually consume about 3500mg of sodium a day. You should aim for less than 2300mg.
Prednisone weight gain can be caused by fluid retention.
EAT POTASSIUM RICH FOODS
Potassium flushes out sodium from your system. Potassium can also reduce high blood pressure, reduce the risk of stroke and osteoporosis.
Foods rich in potassium are bananas, cooked spinach, sweet potatoes, avocado, beetroot and black beans.
EAT SMALL FREQUENT MEALS
Instead of eating three main meals each day, try eating six small meals of high nutritional value.
No-starch vegetables, soups, salads can fill you up and have low calories.
Intermittent fasting is an effective way to lose weight while coming off medication. Make sure you get the all-clear from your doctor.
Intermittent fasting is done by decreasing the amount of time that you eat food. It makes your body burn fat once it exhausts its sugar stores. Many plans can be used like 5:2 where you eat five days a week then restrict yourself to 500 calories in the last 2 days. Ask your doctor which plan works best for you.
Because you’re still in recovery, you should not do high-intensity exercises. Consult your doctor to figure out what would be the best exercise for you.
Low-intensity exercises like stretches, yoga, walking can help you lose weight. Low-impact cardio like swimming and stationary cycling can also help you reverse prednisone weight gain.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
You need to get at least eight hours of sleep every day. Studies show that staying awake for longer disrupts your circadian rhythm, which leads to weight gain.
Research also shows that losing sleep while trying to lose weight reduces the amount of weight lost.
When eating smaller portions, you will automatically eat less. However, you may still be consuming high calories.
Calorie counting is a way to ensure you stay within your goals and stick to foods with high nutritional value.
REDUCE SUGAR INTAKE
Reduce the amount of sugar you take by about half then wean down. Swap out soft drinks with water or sugarless fresh juice.
Heart.org recommends swapping out sugary snacks with fresh or dried fruits. You can also snack on veggies like carrots and hummus, dried kale, baked sweet potatoes.
TRY THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest eating habits in the world, and a key way to reverse prednisone weight gain. It’s flexible, full of flavour and full of health benefits like improved heart health, reduced inflammation, and risk type 2 diabetes.
An analysis of multiple studies found that the Mediterranean diet was as effective as low carb diets. Participants of the diet lost 10kg in one year.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER
It’s normal to increase your water intake when trying to lose weight. If you want to reverse prednisone weight gain, upping your water intake will help you shed the weight and maintain it.
Studies show that water increases the number of calories that you burn.
Drinking water before meals also helps suppress appetite. Studies show that drinking water before meals over 12 weeks increased weight loss by 2kg.
The side effects of prednisone can be severe. It’s best to let your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Weight gain isn’t a bad thing. Don’t be obsessive if you get body fat in different parts of your body after prednisone. Some of the effects will wear off once you’re done with your medication.
If you maintain a healthy diet and a good exercise routine, you will be fine.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]