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Taking Ozempic for Weight Loss? These are the Foods to Avoid

Main image courtesy of Unsplash.

If you’ve been struggling to reach your weight loss goals, chances are you’ve had this discussion with your doctor. Sometimes diet and exercise just aren’t enough when you want to drop extra weight, and your physician may decide that starting medication is the right course of action. One of the most popular drugs for weight loss on the market was actually designed to help diabetes patients, and goes by the name of Ozempic. 

This medication has been in the news lately thanks to the wonderful results some patients are getting. When you take weight loss medication, it’s imperative that you also make lifestyle changes to your diet and stick to an exercise routine. But what are the foods you should be eating (and avoiding) while you’re taking Ozempic? 

In this article, we’re going to cover:

  • How Ozempic helps with weight loss
  • Foods to avoid while you’re on Ozempic
  • Foods and supplements you should eat while taking Ozempic

Ozempic and weight loss

What is Ozempic and how does it help with weight loss?

An Ozempic pen with a measuring tape and scale in the background

Obesity is a problem for a lot of Americans, and the CDC estimates that around 42% of adults are obese. When you’re obese, it increases the likelihood that you’ll develop detrimental chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as a less robust immune system to keep you safe from seasonal flus and colds. In the ongoing effort to help people take the weight off, we’ve seen a lot of drugs that claim to help you lose weight, but do they really work?

One such drug that has proven itself to help people lose weight is Ozempic, which was actually approved by the FDA for diabetes management in 2017. This medication is a weekly injection that folks with type 2 diabetes take to help lower their blood sugar by encouraging the pancreas to create more insulin. It has been very effective for diabetics, but one noticeable side effect in patients was that it also helped them lose weight. This led to further research into the weight loss characteristics of this drug and in 2021 it was approved to be prescribed for weight loss under the name Wegovy.

The same company manufactures both of these drugs, and although they contain the same ingredient (semaglutide), the main difference between the two is that Wegovy has higher doses than Ozempic since it is designed to help with weight loss. Both medications require a weekly injection, but it’s also important to also make changes to your diet and exercise routine to keep the weight off. Taking semaglutide to help you lose weight may be a good alternative to bariatric surgery, as it works to mimic the naturally occurring hormone that tells your brain you’re full after eating.

Semaglutide also slows down the digestive process by increasing the time it takes for food to make it through the digestive tract. This means you’re less likely to overeat, and you’ll find yourself snacking less throughout the day. Taking Ozempic/Wegovy for weight loss is something you’ll need to discuss with your healthcare professional, as it is designed to work with a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. All three of these factors can significantly decrease your chances of developing diabetes and heart disease, as well as reduce your body mass index (BMI) and weight.   

Foods to avoid while taking Ozempic

What types of foods should you stay away from while you’re taking Ozempic?

burger and fries
Greasy hamburgers may be off the menu if you’re taking Ozempic for weight loss. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Semaglutide works to slow your digestion, which means it takes longer for foods to leave your system. While this is great for helping you feel full, it can also lead to certain side effects that you should be prepared for. Common side effects for people who take Ozempic are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain

While these side effects don’t materialize in all cases, patients should be aware that what they choose to eat can either make them worse, or lessen their effects. You can work with your doctor to help you restructure your diet to limit the chances of encountering these side effects. 

You won’t have to completely eliminate a specific food or food group while you’re taking semaglutide, but it will require a little trial and error to determine how much you can consume without feeling the negative effects. Most of the foods you should avoid while taking this drug are also foods that do not help those trying to manage diabetes or obesity.

In order to ensure you’re limiting the impact of potential side effects while taking semaglutide, it’s important to avoid or restrict your intake of:

  • High fat foods. Limiting meals that are high in fat such as fried foods is a good rule to follow for anyone, but especially if you’re taking Ozempic and want to reduce GI discomfort. Because of the amount of oil that’s used in deep fried cooking, you should try to avoid foods like fried chicken and breaded and fried items like cheese sticks or wings. These meals can upset the stomach of people who are not taking this medication, let alone someone taking Ozempic. 
  • Foods with trans and saturated fats. Excess fat traveling through your gut can definitely cause some discomfort, so it’s important to try and avoid or limit your intake of red meat, hamburgers, whole fat dairy, cheese, and ice cream. Instead try swapping out foods with excess unhealthy fats for those with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats such as fish and nuts. 
  • Extra sugar. Lots of foods you find on the shelves of the grocery store contain extra sugar, and unless you’re careful, it’s easy to pick up something that looks healthy, but really isn’t. While it’s easier to avoid foods you know have lots of sugar such as desserts, keep an eye out for extra sugar in items like bread, frozen meals, and salad dressings, which can cause stomach discomfort. 
  • High sodium. Sodium also sneaks into a lot of pre-packaged and ready made foods such as deli items, canned foods, and snacks. Most Americans are already consuming too much sodium, so just be aware of the amounts in the items you’re purchasing, or avoid them. 
salmon with fruit and veggie garnish
Fish like salmon is a great source of healthy fats and nutrients. Image courtesy of Unsplash.
  • Refined carbs. Fiber rich carbs such as whole wheat, oats, and wild rice are much easier to digest than refined carbs like bagels, white bread, and boxed pasta. There are a wide variety of healthy carbs available that taste just as good, you just have to make sure you’re reading the ingredients to ensure they’re not made with refined carbs.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol can cause irritation in the digestive system in folks who aren’t on Ozempic, which is why it’s a good idea to avoid it or limit it if you are. Consuming it may increase your chances of developing hypoglycemia. 

What to eat while you’re taking Ozempic 

What are the best foods to take while you’re on a semaglutide?

While it may seem like there are a lot of foods that can cause unwanted side effects while you’re taking Ozempic, the truth is, those are mostly foods you should avoid anyway! Having a healthy diet is important to lose weight, but knowing what types of foods you should consume is the first step to doing so. When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to focus on consuming:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Low fat dairy
  • Foods that are low fat and low carb 

You can also include lean protein such as fish and chicken, as well as plant-based protein, as long as you don’t experience any discomfort in your GI tract. There are a lot of options for healthy, filling foods out there, and your doctor may suggest you meet with a nutritionist or dietician to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.

In addition to these foods, did you know that adding healthy supplements such as a meal replacement is another great option? 

wonderslim meal shake box
Protein meal replacement shakes complement those folks who are taking Ozempic for weight loss. Image courtesy of Diet Direct.

In fact, protein meal replacements are a great way to complement your semaglutide treatment, and are a convenient way to get easy to digest protein, vitamins, and minerals to help you on your weight loss journey. Consider picking up the WonderSlim Meal Replacement Shake (8 flavors + a variety pack option) that have 15 grams of calcium caseinate protein, 24 essential vitamins and minerals, and 100 calories. This is a fantastic way to ensure you’re consuming something with the essential nutrients your body needs, that is also kind to your digestive system.

wonderslim meal bar box
Meal replacement bars are another great way to get your protein and other nutrients. Image courtesy of Diet Direct

WonderSlim Meal Replacement Bars are an additional way to get protein and nutrients when you’re taking a semaglutide. Made with 15 grams of protein, just 5 grams of fat, 20 vitamins and minerals, and just 160 calories per bar. With 9 delicious flavors and a variety pack, you’ll never miss the unnecessary calories, carbs, and sugar!

Make sure to avoid or limit certain foods on Ozempic to feel your best!

While no food is off limits while you’re taking Ozempic, it’s important to focus on the foods that don’t cause discomfort in your digestive tract. By limiting certain foods, you’ll be on your way to feeling great and losing weight!