If your doctor recently prescribed Trulicity to manage your type 2 diabetes, chances are you are wondering if there are foods to avoid while on the medication. The good news is that Trulicity is quite tolerant and remains effective regardless of what you eat before or after injecting your dose. However, following a balanced and nutritious diet while cutting down on certain foods is generally recommended to minimize side effects and improve results.

This article provides insights into foods best approached cautiously while on Trulicity and suggests healthier alternatives to support your diabetes management journey. We cover drug information on Trulicity and how it works, how Trulicity is dosed, its potential side effects and how to self-manage them, and lastly, dietary recommendations to consider while on Trulicity.  

What is Trulicity?

Trulicity is the brand name for the medication "dulaglutide." It is a once-weekly injectable medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. Trulicity belongs to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists and is designed to help control high blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Combined with a healthy diet and exercise, Trulicity may improve HbA1c and promote weight loss in overweight and obese patients. The medication positively affects diabetic patients with cardiovascular disease and reduces the risk of heart attack. It also lowers all-cause mortality in people with diabetes.

How Trulicity Works

Trulicity works by mimicking the effects of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in the body. It helps stimulate insulin release, suppresses glucagon secretion, slows gastric emptying, and promotes a feeling of fullness. As a diabetes medication, Trulicity is typically prescribed along with lifestyle modifications such as a healthy diet and exercise to improve overall blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

When Trulicity is injected, dulaglutide binds to and activates GLP-1 receptors on various cells throughout the body, including the pancreas. This leads to several beneficial effects:

  • Increased Insulin Secretion: Trulicity stimulates insulin release from the pancreas in response to elevated blood sugar levels. Insulin helps to regulate blood sugar by allowing cells in the body to take in glucose and use it for energy.
  • Suppressed Glucagon Secretion: Trulicity also works by decreasing glucagon secretion, another hormone the pancreas produces. Glucagon raises blood glucose levels by causing the liver to release stored glucose. By suppressing glucagon release, Trulicity helps to lower blood sugar levels.
  • Slowed Gastric Emptying: Trulicity slows down the emptying of food from the stomach into the small intestine. This helps regulate the release of glucose into the bloodstream and can contribute to a feeling of fullness, aiding in weight management.

Trulicity Dosage

Trulicity injections are available as a clear and colorless solution in the following strengths and dosage forms:

  • 0.75 mg/0.5 mL in a single-dose pen
  • 1.5 mg/0.5 mL in a single-dose pen
  • 3 mg/0.5 mL in a single-dose pen
  • 4.5 mg/0.5 mL in a single-dose pen.

The usual starting dose of Trulicity is 0.75 mg injected subcutaneously (under the skin) once weekly. However, your doctor may adjust the dosage based on your response to treatment.

Never adjust your Trulicity dose or frequency without consulting your healthcare provider. They will determine the most appropriate dosage for your individual needs to help you manage your diabetes effectively.

Side Effects of Trulicity

The Trulicity injection may cause certain side effects in some individuals. It's important to note that not everyone experiences these side effects, and their severity can vary from person to person. While serious side effects from Trulicity are rare, there is a possibility. Don't hesitate to contact your doctor immediately if you experience any severe allergic reaction or side effects. In case of a medical emergency, please call 911 or your local emergency number.

Some severe side effects of Trulicity include:

  • Low blood sugar level
  • Kidney problems
  • Severe stomach problems. This includes severe abdominal pain, issues with digestion, persistent vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Acute gallbladder disease, including cholecystitis (inflamed gallbladder) and gallstones.
  • Pancreatitis (swelling in the pancreas)
  • Increased risk of thyroid cancer, as included in a boxed warning. The possible symptoms of thyroid cancer include a lump in your neck, hoarseness, shortness of breath, and trouble swallowing.
  • Severe allergic reactions

For more information on the possible side effects, you can talk to a healthcare professional or read Trulicity's prescribing information.

To manage side effects associated with Trulicity and promote digestive comfort, consider the following food tips:

  • Avoid fried or fatty foods and foods high in sugar: These foods can be complex for your body to digest and may increase the likelihood of experiencing nausea while taking a GLP-1 medication.
  • Consume smaller, more frequent meals: Eating smaller portions can help alleviate digestive discomfort and prevent nausea.
  • Opt for foods that are gentle on the stomach: Examples are boiled or steamed vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These are easier to digest and less likely to exacerbate side effects.
Drink clear or ice-cold beverages: Stay hydrated with clear liquids like water or unsweetened tea. Ice-cold drinks may provide additional relief for some individuals.

Foods to Limit While on Trulicity

Trulicity has no specific food contraindications, but limiting the following diets can enhance your experience with the medication and keep blood sugar levels in check:

Sugary Snacks and Desserts

Minimize your intake of refined carbohydrates and sugary snacks like candies, cakes, ice cream, and chocolate. Cut down on white bread, white rice, pasta, pastries, and cookies. These foods are high in glycemic index and can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, potentially making it harder for Trulicity treatment to improve blood sugar control. A study published in 2022 demonstrated that people on a low carbohydrate diet had a higher drop in A1C levels compared to those on a regular, carbohydrate-containing diet over a span of 6 months. Researchers found this reduction in A1C levels primarily benefits type 2 diabetic outcomes, including improved glycemic control and decreased body weight, in prediabetics and those at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes

Sugary Beverages

Although U.S. consumption of sugary drinks has reduced in the past decade,  about 6/10 children and about half of adults still drink over 12 oz of sweetened beverages daily. These drinks have high sugar content, making blood sugar control difficult, and have been linked to higher rates of type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cavities, and inflammation in the body. Further analysis  found that increased sugary drink intake increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by over 30%

Water is the best alternative, but if you crave sweetness, consider adding freshly sliced fruit or using low-calorie flavor enhancers to your water. Naturally flavored seltzer water can also be another tasty option to satisfy your sweet craving.

High-Fat, Greasy Foods

Fast foods, fried items, ice cream, and similar high-fat products like milkshakes contain saturated fats. These fatty meals can linger in your stomach, causing delayed digestion, and can increase the likelihood of gastrointestinal issues like bloating, nausea, vomiting, early satiety, and stomach cramps. Patients already on Trulicity can experience these issues as side effects of the medication and should generally avoid these fatty meals as much as possible. Avoiding fatty meals would help to improve the tolerability of Trulicity and prevent unnecessary early discontinuation of therapy.

Processed and Packaged Foods

Limit your consumption of processed and packaged foods, as they often contain high amounts of added sugars, unhealthy fats, sodium, and preservatives. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible to get vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients for managing diabetes symptoms.

Large Portions and Overeating

Most importantly, be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overeating while on Trulicity. Consuming large quantities of food, especially high-calorie options, can lead to weight gain and difficulty managing blood sugar levels effectively. Also, a fuller stomach (due to overeating) could worsen the gastrointestinal side effects of Trulicity.

Foods You Can Eat While on Trulicity

There are no specific foods to avoid with Trulicity or the ones that must be eaten. However, for effective diabetes management, it's recommended to stick to a balanced diet with calories from lean protein, healthy fat, and low-glycemic carbohydrates.

To maintain stable blood sugar levels, avoid sugary snacks and choose fruits like berries, bananas, apples, and vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, and kale. Choose complex carbohydrates like brown rice, whole grain bread, and sweet potatoes instead of refined options. Yogurt and oatmeal are also recommended.

For individuals with Type 2 diabetes, eating small, frequent meals can alleviate symptoms like nausea and bloating while promoting better blood sugar control.

While taking Trulicity or other related diabetes medications, here are some foods you can include in your diet:

  • Lean Proteins: Include poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes in your diet. These provide essential nutrients without excessive saturated fats.
  • Non-Starchy Vegetables: Opt for non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, peppers, cauliflower, and cucumbers. These are low in carbohydrates and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Whole Grains: Choose whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and oats. They offer more fiber and nutrients compared to refined grains.
  • Healthy Fats: Include sources of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil in moderation. These provide essential fatty acids that are beneficial to your overall well-being.
  • Low-Fat Dairy: Incorporate low-fat or fat-free dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk. These are rich in calcium and protein.
  • Whole Fruits: Enjoy a variety of fruits such as berries, apples, oranges, and melons. They offer natural sweetness and are packed with vitamins and fiber.

Conclusion

While no specific foods must be avoided entirely with Trulicity, being mindful of your dietary choices is vital for effective diabetes management. Focus on a balanced diet that includes whole grains, lean proteins, non-starchy vegetables, and fruits. Minimize the consumption of refined carbohydrates, sugary snacks, high-fat foods, and excessive alcohol. Remember to consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized advice and tailor your diet to your specific needs and health goals. By making informed food choices, you can support the effectiveness of Trulicity and maintain stable blood sugar levels on your journey toward better diabetes management.

Sources

At Diabetic Me, we are committed to delivering information that is precise, accurate, and pertinent. Our articles are supported by verified data from research papers, prestigious organizations, academic institutions, and medical associations to guarantee the integrity and relevance of the information we provide. You can learn more about our process and team on the about us page.

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About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville, and I am the founder of Diabetic Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996, I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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