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.

Limit These Foods While on Trulicity

Trulicity has no specific food contraindications, but limiting the following diets can enhance your experience with the medication:

Sugary Snacks

Minimize your intake of refined carbohydrates and sugary snacks like candies and cakes. 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 and potentially make it harder for Trulicity treatment to improve blood sugar levels.

Soda and Sugary Drinks

Although consumption of sugary drinks in the U.S. has reduced in the past decade, half of the population still lives on excessive amounts of sugary beverages like soda, sweet tea, and fruit juice drinks. These drinks have high sugar content, making it difficult to control blood sugar levels and leading to various health issues like cavities, poor concentration, and increased cancer risk.

Water is the best alternative, but if you crave sweetness, consider using flavor enhancers or flavored water .

High-Fat Foods

Fast foods, ice cream, and similar products like milkshakes contain saturated fats. These fatty meals can linger in your stomach, causing delayed digestion. Combined with GLP-1 receptor agonists like Trulicity, they can increase the likelihood of experiencing symptoms related to slow stomach emptying, such as bloating, nausea, vomiting, early satiety, and stomach cramps.

Processed and Packaged Foods

Limit your consumption of processed and packaged foods, as they often contain high amounts of added sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible.

Large Portions and Overeating

Most importantly, be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overeating while on Trulicity. Consuming large quantities of food 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.

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.

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. It's also noteworthy that these side effects can be influenced by:

  • Age
  • Existing health conditions
  • Concurrent medications

For detailed information on the potential side effects of Trulicity and strategies to reduce them, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist. They can provide valuable insights and recommend approaches to mitigate potential side effects.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Trulicity are often mild and wear off within a few weeks of starting the medication. Examples include,

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • weight loss
  • Indigestion
  • Fatigue
  • Injection-site reactions (rash, bruising, or pain). A more severe allergic reaction is possible but rare.

Serious Side Effects

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.

Managing Trulicity Side Effects

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.

Disease and Drug Interactions

Trulicity may interact with certain medications, potentially affecting their effectiveness or increasing the risk of side effects. The drug can also interact with a few diseases. It is crucial to tell your healthcare provider about your overall health condition and all the medications you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and herbal supplements.

There are about 248 drug interactions with Trulicity, including:

  • Albuterol
  • Amprenavir
  • Bexarotene
  • Furosemide
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Glimepiride
  • Glipizide
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Levothyroxine/Liothyronine

The four major disease interactions of Trulicity:

  • Gastroparesis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Thyroid carcinoma
  • Renal dysfunction

General Precautions and Safety Tips While on Trulicity

  • Do not use Trulicity if you or your family have a history of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC).
  • Do not take Trulicity if you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
  • Avoid Trulicity if you are allergic to dulaglutide or other ingredients in Trulicity.

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.

What if I Mistakenly Skip My Dose?

If you mistakenly forget to take a dose of Trulicity, inject it as soon as you remember. However, if it's close to your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular injection schedule.

Remembering to take weekly medications can be challenging; keeping track of whether you've taken them is even worse. Here are some helpful tips to stay on track:

  • Set Reminders: Use your phone or other devices to set alarms or reminders. This will make remembering to take your medication weekly and at the designated time easier.
  • Use Medication Tracking Tools: Consider using medication tracking apps or tools that can help you record and monitor your medication schedule. These tools can provide notifications and assist in keeping a record of your doses.
  • Establish a Routine: Incorporate taking your medication into your weekly routine. For example, associate it with a specific day of the week or tie it to another regular activity.
  • Communicate with Others: Inform your family, friends, or caregivers about your medication schedule. They can remind you if you forget or help you keep track of your doses.

Remember, consistency is crucial for the effectiveness of your medication. If you continue to struggle with adherence, consult your healthcare provider for additional support and guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can take Trulicity?

Adults and children ten years and older with type 2 diabetes mellitus can take Trulicity. The medication is NOT recommended for those with type 1 diabetes. It is also not suitable for individuals with severe stomach or intestinal issues. The safety and effectiveness of Trulicity have not been established in children under the age of 10.

Can I take Trulicity® with Metformin or Other Diabetes Medications?

Metformin and Trulicity (dulaglutide) can be safely taken together and are usually prescribed in combination to manage type 2 diabetes and help patients lose weight.

How long do you have to be on Trulicity?

The simple answer is "INDEFINITELY." Type 2 diabetes is a chronic illness. Trulicity is typically prescribed for the long-term management of type 2 diabetes and its complications, provided you and your doctor agree that the medication works optimally.

Is Trulicity a high-risk medication?

For a medication to be considered "high risk," it must have a heightened risk of causing significant harm to a patient when used in error. That said, Trulicity is generally not considered a high-risk medication. However, most healthcare professionals would consider it risky for people with specific medical histories - for instance, those with a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), who are more liable to get thyroid cancer if they take Trulicity. It's crucial to discuss your medical history, current medications, and any concerns with your doctor to ensure its safe use.

Is it better to take Trulicity in the morning or at night?

Trulicity is not time-sensitive; hence, you can take it at any time of the day, with or without food. However, it's best to establish a consistent schedule. Choose a time that is convenient for you and aligns with your daily routine, and stick to it.

Can I drink alcohol on Trulicity?

If you are taking Trulicity, you should limit alcohol consumption if you can't stop it entirely. Alcohol can lower blood sugar levels, which is also a potential effect of Trulicity. Having both Trulicity and alcohol in your system increases your chances of developing severe low blood sugar, which could be life-threatening.

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

To ensure that we give you correct, accurate, and relevant information, all articles on Diabetic & Me are backed by verified information from academic research papers, well-known organizations, research institutions, and medical associations.

  1. Harvard School of Public Health Sugary Drinks
  2. Trulicity Managing Side Effects
  3. National Library of Medicine Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists for Type 2 Diabetes
  4. Access Data Trulicity Prescribing Information
  5. Drugs.com Trulicity Drug Interactions
  6. Trulicity How to Use Trulicity
  7. American Diabetes Association Non-starchy Vegetables

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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