Type 2 Meds and Weight Gain: The Reason Why

If you are taking a type 2 diabetes medication containing TZDs (thiazolidinediones) and are gaining weight, some scientists might have discovered why.

Hunger Pangs

The brains of humans, and lab animals, have hunger-stimulating cells located in the hypothalamus. There are sensors on these hunger-stimulating cells that play a role in the use of energy (sugar). When these sensors are activated in lab animals:

  1. It triggers food intake and hoarding behaviors, and stimulates the production of more hunger-stimulating cells.
  2. As the hunger-stimulating cells are activated, lab animals become immediately hungry—they will even wake up from a sound sleep and begin eating.

This is significant for those with type 2 diabetes since TZDs - compounds that help the body’s insulin work properly - activate the sensors on hunger-stimulating cells.

“People taking these TZDs [e.g., Actos, Avandia, Avandamet] are hungrier, and they do gain more weight,” said researcher Johnny Garretson. “This may be why.”

It’s Helpful News, Really

At first glance, this might seem discouraging news for those taking meds with TZDs. How unfair that a doctor will admonish patients to keep excess weight off, and then prescribe a pill that stimulates appetite.

However, knowing about TZDs gives individuals the knowledge necessary to out-smart its hunger-effects. For instance:

  • Having an abundance of low-glycemic, nutritious snacks on hand, and leaving sweets and junk food on the grocery store shelves, will help keep extra pounds at bay.
  • Increasing physical activity can offset the workings of an increased appetite.
  • Eating plenty of protein and healthy fats helps people feel satisfied longer after enjoying a meal.
  • Drinking more water or other unsweetened beverages can assuage hunger without adding calories.
  • Preparing a plethora of low-glycemic vegetables can fill a dinner plate, and a stomach, without spiking blood sugar.

It's Those TZDs

Most drugs have side effects, but we take them when the positives overshadow possible negatives. TZD medications are usually prescribed when other drugs fail to keep blood sugar within target range—crucial for people struggling with tough to control diabetes.

Still, if you started on a TZD medication and noticed weight gain, it may be reassuring to know you are not suffering from a suddenly weak will, or an increase in bad eating habits. Though still having to deal with heightened hunger, you can at least point an accusing finger at TZDs and the sensitivity of your amazing brain.

Sources: Science Daily; Webmd
Photo credit: Dennis Skley

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

More Articles

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Keeping your blood sugar levels under control can be tough. There are so many factors that can affect blood sugar, like exercise, food, illness,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

Stomach aches and other gastrointestinal pains can be signs of a bigger problem. One such problem for diabetics is gastroparesis, or delayed...

Two of the most common symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst and increased urine production. These symptoms are so prevalent in diabetics that...

While some celebrities aren't quick to talk about living with diabetes, others are quite transparent and inspiring - acting as advocates for the...

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to experience heart disease as those without the condition, making cardiovascular health a critical...

Pilates is an exercise method proven to improve flexibility, strength, coordination, muscular stamina, balance, and posture. Many Pilates...

All diabetics know that maintaining proper blood sugar levels is the lifeline...

It can be difficult enough to get on stage and make a roomful of strangers laugh, but for comedians suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes,...

Most people with insulin-dependent diabetes use syringes and lancets every day. However, many of them do not know how to dispose of these...

Explaining diabetes to children can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it is no more difficult than discussing anything else important....

Diabetes is a complex disease, affecting virtually every part of the body. The damage it does, to nerve endings, blood vessels, organs, and the...

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have successfully competed in the Olympic Games. Their amazing stories prove that diabetes is no match for...

If your child has diabetes, you want him or her to be safe while in school and to have the same educational opportunities as other children....