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Foods to Avoid While Taking Metformin

May 17, 2023

Metformin is a common treatment for type 2 diabetes. While metformin is generally safe and effective, certain foods can affect how well it works. Let’s look at the top 8 types of food and drink you should avoid while taking metformin to maintain optimal blood sugar control.

High-carb foods

High-carb foods cause blood sugar to spike, making it harder for metformin to do its job. Some foods to avoid while taking metformin are pasta, bread, and potatoes. If you do choose to eat carbs, try to choose whole grains and pair them with protein and healthy fats to slow down the absorption of glucose.

Sugary foods and drinks

Sugary foods and drinks also cause a rapid spike in blood sugar, which limits the positive impacts of metformin. Try to avoid things like candy, cookies, and soda. Opt for sugar-free alternatives or natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit instead.


Alcohol can cause a drop in blood sugar levels. But it's important to moderate your intake because too much alcohol can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Men should aim for two drinks a day, while women should limit it to one.


Grapefruit can interfere with the way metformin is absorbed by the body, so it's best to avoid this fruit altogether while taking the medication. Other citrus fruits like oranges and lemons don’t have the same interaction and are safe to eat.

Fatty foods

While healthy fats like avocados and nuts can be beneficial for people with diabetes, foods high in saturated and trans fats can interfere with how well metformin works. These include fried foods, processed meats, and full-fat dairy products. Try to get your fat from healthy sources like fatty fish and nuts.


Caffeine doesn't directly interfere with metformin, but some studies have shown that caffeine may impact blood sugar levels. Caffeine causes an increase in insulin resistance, making it harder for metformin to do its job. If you do drink caffeine, limit your intake and monitor your blood sugar levels closely.

High-sodium Foods

Foods high in sodium can cause water retention and increase blood pressure, which can affect how well metformin works. Examples of foods to avoid while taking metformin include processed foods, canned soups, and fast food. It’s best to limit your daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams.

Dairy Products

While dairy products can be a good source of protein and calcium, some studies have shown that they can interfere with how well metformin works. The calcium in dairy products binds to metformin and can prevent it from being absorbed by the body. If you can't avoid dairy, try to choose low-fat options and take your metformin at least two hours before or after eating.

Metformin at Joi

While metformin is generally safe and effective for managing blood sugar levels, certain foods can affect how well it works. By avoiding the foods listed, you can improve your chances of having a fruitful experience with metformin. Contact our experts at Joi for more helpful information on metformin!

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