Ask the Doctor: Diets; Generic Vs. Brand Meds

Is there a “Best Of” for diets?

This is a very common question in the nutrition world. You may hear on TV about a fantastic new diet, or a friend might tell you that the diet they recently tried is “the best!” The truth is, there is not one diet that works best across the board. While there is an overwhelming amount of diet options available, the diet that works best is whatever works best for you.


One nutrition tip to keep in mind: if you hear of a diet that recommends cutting out an entire food group (grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat/protein), that is typically a red flag! Unless you have a medical need to eliminate certain foods, consuming a diet with plenty of variety from all food groups is essential. It’s important to note that there are many unhealthy diets out there, so please be sure to speak with your provider or dietitian before following any diet. Just remember that each person has different medical needs, health goals, dietary preferences, schedules, and so much more! Also, it’s best to avoid the “diet” mentality and try to aim for more lasting lifestyle changes. To learn more about how your diet can impact your life, try to meet with a registered dietitian – it’s a great way to get answers from a nutrition professional about what will work best (Once again) for you.


Julia Bleecker, MS, RD, LD

AbsoluteCARE Medical Center & Pharmacy


Are Generic medications as effective as brand medications?

This is a question providers and pharmacists are regularly asked. The simple answer is yes; generic medications are as effective as brand medications. Of course, there are a few exceptions to every rule. The FDA requires all generic medications to have the same active ingredient as the branded medication, as well as be bioequivalent, a fancy term that means it dissolves and breaks down in your body the same way. Essentially medications are the same.


Now, what are the differences between brand and generic? Most often the differences are in what makes up the fillers, also known as excipients, in the medication. Some people may find they are sensitive to one of the fillers, such as a dye, which would make the generic option undesirable. Also, generic medications must be bioequivalent within 90 percent of the branded drug. For most medications, this is more than an acceptable range. However, for some medications that we classify as a narrow therapeutic medication such as Coumadin or Synthroid, your provider would want to monitor you closely while changing from brand to generic or vice versa to make sure the dose is appropriate and does not need to be changed.


Overall, I highly recommend switching to generics when appropriate as they are typically a cheaper alternative to the brand and just as effective, which can keep you both physically and financially healthy.


Jason Nash, PharmD, AAHIVP

AbsoluteCARE Medical Center & Pharmacy