Drugs Q & A

Can I Eat Bananas While Taking Prednisone?

Bananas are most commonly known for being a good source of potassium, but as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines, their nutritional worth doesn’t end there. In fact, this fruit is packed with a plethora of vitamins and minerals that are essential to your health, making them one of the world’s most appealing superfoods.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calculations, which are based on a 2,000-calorie diet, a medium-size banana contains only 105 calories. Although it seems obvious that these fruits are a relatively healthy snack, they get a bad reputation because of the large amount of carbohydrates they have: 27 grams (g) for a medium-sized banana.

Bananas are a great food to eat when you’re sick. They’re soft and bland but rich in nutrients and fast-acting carbs. The potassium in bananas can help replenish your electrolyte stores as well, since potassium is one of the key electrolytes your body needs.

What is prednisone used for?

Prednisone is a synthetic, anti-inflammatory glucocorticoid that derives from cortisone. It is biologically inert and converted to prednisolone in the liver. Prednisone is an FDA-approved, delayed-release corticosteroid indicated as an anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive agent to treat a broad range of diseases, including immunosuppressive/endocrine, rheumatic, collagen, dermatologic, allergic states, ophthalmic, respiratory, hematologic, neoplastic, edematous, gastrointestinal, acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis, and as an anti-inflammatory and an antineoplastic agent.

Prednisone is a corticosteroid (cortisone-like medicine or steroid). It works on the immune system to help relieve swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions.

Can I Eat Banana While Taking Prednisone?

Yes, but moderation is advised. Prednisone on its own has a tendency to raise the level of glucose, or sugar, in the blood, which can cause increased body fat or diabetes in some people. Bananas are also high in carbs. Foods rich in carbs are known to result in a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. A medium-sized banana contains 14gm of sugar and 6 gm of starch. Combining prednisone and banana together is not a good idea, especially for people with an increased risk of diabetes.

A large number of studies have found that people who regularly drink sugar-rich foods have a roughly 25% greater risk of type 2 diabetes. In fact, drinking just one sugar-sweetened beverage per day increases your risk by 13%, independent of any weight gain it may cause.

Additionally, countries where sugar consumption is highest also have the highest rates of type 2 diabetes, while those with the lowest consumption have the lowest rates. The link between sugar intake and diabetes still holds even after controlling for total calorie intake, body weight, alcohol consumption, and exercise.

While taking prednisone, avoid “simple” carbohydrates and concentrated sweets, such as cakes, pies, cookies, jams, honey, chips, bread, candy, and other highly processed foods.

Nevertheless, if prednisone is making you put on weight, you can control fluid retention by eating a diet low in sodium and eating more foods that contain potassium such as bananas, apricots, and dates. A diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates may make you feel fuller for longer, making you less likely to overeat.

What other side effects can prednisone cause?

Prednisone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

•           headache

•           dizziness

•           difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

•           inappropriate happiness

•           extreme changes in mood

•           changes in personality

•           bulging eyes

•           acne

•           thin, fragile skin

•           red or purple blotches or lines under the skin

•           slowed healing of cuts and bruises

•           increased hair growth

•           changes in the way fat is spread around the body

•           extreme tiredness

•           weak muscles

•           irregular or absent menstrual periods

•           decreased sexual desire

•           heartburn

•           increased sweating

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

•           vision problems

•           eye pain, redness, or tearing

•           sore throat, fever, chills, cough, or other signs of infection

•           seizures

•           depression

•           loss of contact with reality

•           confusion

•           muscle twitching or tightening

•           shaking of the hands that you cannot control

•           numbness, burning, or tingling in the face, arms, legs, feet, or hands

•           upset stomach

•           vomiting

•           lightheadedness

•           irregular heartbeat

•           sudden weight gain

•           shortness of breath, especially during the night

•           dry, hacking cough

•           swelling or pain in the stomach

•           swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs

•           difficulty breathing or swallowing

•           rash

•           hives

•           itching

Prednisone may slow growth and development in children. Your child’s doctor will watch his or her growth carefully. Talk to your child’s doctor about the risks of giving prednisone to your child.

Prednisone may increase the risk that you will develop osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking prednisone and about things that you can do to decrease the chance that you will develop osteoporosis.

Some patients who took prednisone or similar medications developed a type of cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking prednisone.

Prednisone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

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