As much as we write about all of the things that won’t help you lose weight, it’s exciting to write about something that possibly can: The diabetes medication known as Metformin has been linked to weight loss.
Metformin, a prescription medication which comes in pill form and is taken several times a day to help those with diabetes control blood sugar, may help even those without diabetes control their weight, especially people who struggle with binge eating or who eat a lot of sugary foods.
Metformin works by helping to even out blood sugar levels and preventing the high spikes that trigger insulin to be released in large amounts into the blood to help cells take up the excess sugar.
For many people who don’t technically have diabetes it is still possible that conditions such as metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes are interfering with the body’s ability to process sugar in the blood. The drug can help them by breaking the vicious cycle of blood sugar spikes, excess insulin, and the resulting blood sugar low that sets off an almost uncontrollable drive to eat as the body’s natural way to restore blood sugar levels to normal.
It’s important to note that Metformin itself doesn’t lead to weight loss, and that taking this medication alone isn’t the answer to the complex illness of obesity. Like other prescription medications for weight loss, it’s simply a tool that for some people, makes the process a bit easier.
The only way to know if Metformin might help with weight loss for you is to have your fasting and oral glucose tolerance levels tested by a medical professional. If the results indicate your body is having trouble processing blood sugar, the medication could help.
Another way to mimic the effects of Metformin weight loss is to eat small, frequent high protein meals throughout the day, rather than three larger meals. Doing so helps keep blood sugar levels steady, which in turn prevents the cravings triggered by blood sugar spikes and crashes.
If you suspect your blood sugar levels may be playing a role in your appetite and weight, see a doctor trained in such issues like the ones at The Center for Medical Weight Loss. Together you can put together an individualized plan for tackling your weight issues that will work long term, whatever the source of the problem might be.
Dr. Michael Kaplan
Founder and Chief Medical Officer