JASPER WHITE/STONE/GETTY IMAGESBy Brenda Kearns
The Problem: Antidepressants
The last thing you want when you're struggling with depression is to struggle with your weight, too. Yet according to Cleveland Clinic researchers, taking antidepressants can trigger a hefty 15 to 20 pound weight gain! The problem? A lot of these meds tinker with your muscles by making them more prone to insulin resistance, thus sabotaging their ability to burn carbs for energy.
The Fix: 5-HTP
"Not all mood-boosters cause weight problems," says Joseph Colella, M.D., director of robotic bariatric surgery at the University of Pittsburgh's Magee Women's Hospital. But "if yours is causing trouble, ask about switching to Wellbutrin or Effexor."
Want to avoid antidepressants? Ask your doctor about 5-HTP (the basic building block of mood-boosting serotonin). According to University of Rome researchers, taking 300 milligrams of 5-HTP daily eases depression for up to 70 percent of people -- plus it squashes carb cravings, helping women shed one pound weekly.
The Problem: Diabetes Meds
It's crazy, but true: If you've got diabetes, losing weight is key -- yet diabetes meds can make you gain several pounds every month! "Oral meds cause blood sugar surges, and your body responds by storing that excess sugar as fat," says Dr. Colella. "Switch to insulin injections and your troubles multiply, because insulin is a powerful fat-storing hormone!"
The Fix: Sweat
Switching to Metformin is a good bet -- although researchers aren't sure yet why, this is the one diabetes med that doesn't pack on the pounds. But whatever treatment plan your doctor prescribes, don't forget to sweat! According to Harvard researchers, exercising as little as 30 minutes daily can cut your risk of frustrating weight gain in half -- by improving the ability of your cells to incinerate blood sugar, and body fat, for fuel.
The Problem: Steroid Hormones
According to Johns Hopkins researchers, half of the people who take prescription steroids (the corticosteroid class of meds that are completely legal and used to treat inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, colitis, Crohn's disease etc.) gain 28 pounds in the first year -- and folks who are stuck on these meds long-term can pack on up to 100 pounds! What gives? These powerful drugs can dial down inflammation in every cell of your body, but they also dial down your cells' ability to soak up and burn blood sugar. According to UCLA researchers, these unused sugars then make a beeline for your fat cells.
The Fix: Sugar-free
Make sure your doctor knows that you want to be weaned off of these anti-inflammatories as soon as your illness is under control -- and keep your sugar intake as low as you possibly can until you're completely off the meds.
The Problem: Antihistamines
They work wonders if you're struggling with nasty allergy flare-ups, but according to Harvard researchers, antihistamines can also give you a bad case of the munchies and make you eat more than you intended. Turns out these meds sabotage your body's ability to make leptin -- the hormone that tells your brain to stop eating when your belly is full.
The Fix: Fish Oil
To reduce your allergy flare-ups -- without downing high doses of these hunger-promoting meds -- try taking 2,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids daily year-round. "Fish oil reduces inflammation in the nasal passages and bronchial tubes -- which is precisely what an antihistamine does," says bariatric physician Richard Kelley, M.D., author of The 3 Hour Appetite .
Click Here for More Meds that Might Cause You to Gain Weight
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