Ozempic foods to avoid: Are any foods off-limit?

Ozempic foods to avoid: Are any foods off-limit?

Ozempic is a diabetes drug that also shows the ability to help with weight loss. Are there any foods that interact poorly with it? Find out here.

The Found Team
February 10, 2023
5 min read
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Whether you have a prescription in hand or are in the “still deciding” phase about taking Ozempic® to manage your overweight or obesity, there are a few important factors to consider first.

Among them are the lifestyle and dietary changes you’ll want to make while taking this medication. There really aren’t any Ozempic foods to avoid, but there are some general guidelines about what to eat while taking Ozempic that will help you optimize your sustainable weight loss journey.

A bit about us: Found is a doctor-designed weight loss program that uses a proprietary metabolic health assessment engine, to help inform a treatment plan personalized to your unique biology and needs. Our clinicians are trained in obesity medicine (did you know only one percent of doctors in the U.S. are certified as obesity specialists?), and we’ve gathered all the relevant information for you here.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic, a brand name for semaglutide, is a prescription medication made by Novo Nordisk and it’s part of the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist drug class. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Ozempic to treat type 2 diabetes but it’s also prescribed off-label for treating overweight and obesity in adults. The drug comes in an injectable pen that’s administered subcutaneously (under the skin) once a week.

What to know: Ozempic foods to avoid

It might be surprising, but there aren’t any foods you should avoid while on Ozempic, and there isn’t a specific Ozempic diet plan to follow either. However, the fine print is that you’ll want to make some adjustments to your lifestyle and diet to minimize the drug’s side effects and support your weight loss goals.

While  not an exhaustive list, the following are the most common changes you can expect to make.

Alcohol 

While it’s OK to have Ozempic and alcohol in your system, they both lower blood sugar levels. Combining them can increase the risk of dangerously low blood sugar levels or hypoglycemia. Too much alcohol also increases the risk of pancreatitis; Ozempic can also increase its risk, so keep an eye on how much you’re drinking.

Sugary foods and drinks

Soda drinks and other high-sugar foods and refined carbohydrates like ice cream, donuts, cookies, and pastries can increase your risk of experiencing nausea while taking Ozempic. 

Highly processed, calorie-dense foods

Eating high-fat foods or fried foods can exacerbate side effects like nausea and constipation. But the good news? A study published in 2017 in Diabetes, Obesity, & Metabolism found that after 12 weeks on Ozempic, participants on the drug had better control while eating and less of a desire for fatty foods compared to those in the placebo group.

Changing your diet while on Ozempic

While medication can be very effective at helping you tackle the root cause of your overweight or obesity, health care professionals recommend combining it with lifestyle modifications for sustainable results.  

So, in addition to watching your alcohol consumption and avoiding high sugar and fatty foods, you may want to also consider other changes. For instance, Found’s health coaches recommend starting your day with a protein-fueled breakfast and avoiding sugary cereals or foods that lack nutritional value, like white bread. Instead, pair complex carbs or whole grains with appropriate portions of fats, proteins, and vegetables. Your Found coach and app can help you set up a customized meal plan based on your preferences.

Ozempic’s manufacturer also offers some helpful recommendations for patients who experience nausea. Among them are:

  • Eat bland, low-fat foods like crackers, toast, and rice.
  • Eat foods that contain water, like soups and gelatin.
  • Avoid fried, greasy, or sweet foods.
  • Avoid lying down after you eat.
  • Go outdoors for fresh air.
  • Eat more slowly.
  • Eat smaller meals.

Drink clear or ice-cold drinks.

More on Ozempic: how does it work?

Semaglutide mimics the GLP-1 hormone that naturally occurs in your body. Ozempic (semaglutide) works by helping to lower blood glucose levels, making it easier to control blood sugar when you eat. It also slows down digestion, helping to control appetite and satiety.  Like other GLP-1s, such as Trulicity® (dulaglutide), Saxenda® (liraglutide), and Rybelsus® (a pill-version of semaglutide), Ozempic activates the GLP-1 receptors in your body.

Who’s eligible for an Ozempic prescription?

The FDA approved Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic to treat those with type 2 diabetes, in combination with lifestyle changes, like a healthy diet and exercise. The prescription drug decreases elevated A1C levels and can help improve cholesterol and blood pressure in those with type 2 diabetes. And even though Ozempic isn’t indicated for overweight and obesity, it’s prescribed off-label for weight management because of its ability to help with weight loss.

Its sister medication (also manufactured by Novo Nordisk), Wegovy®, shares Ozempic’s active ingredient—semaglutide— but at a higher dose. Wegovy is an FDA-approved weight loss drug to treat overweight and obesity in those with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or greater with a weight-related condition like high blood pressure or prediabetes. 

Ozempic is not recommended for those with type 1 diabetes or people who are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

What are the side effects of Ozempic?

Keep in mind that while there are common side effects of Ozempic, some people don’t experience them, or they subside after a short time. Side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Pain at the injection site

An important note: There are other more serious side effects with Ozempic. Please tell your health care provider immediately if you begin to experience any of the following side effects:

  • Possible thyroid tumors, including cancer
  • Changes in vision
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)—signs may include dizziness or lightheadedness, blurred vision
  • Kidney problems (kidney failure)
  • Serious allergic reactions like hives, rashes, or swelling. 
  • Gallbladder problems
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)

Although rare, in animal studies, semaglutide caused thyroid c-cell tumors. Ozempic’s “black box” warns of the risk of these tumors. If you have trouble swallowing, develop hoarseness, or feel swelling or a lump in your neck, contact your Found health care provider immediately.  The FDA also warns not to take Ozempic if you have or have a family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2, medullary thyroid cancer, insulin-dependent diabetes, or diabetic ketoacidosis. So, if that’s you, Ozempic isn’t the right fit. Find detailed side effects and risk information here.

If you have additional questions about diet while on Ozempic, consult with your Found-affiliated provider. Together, you can decide if Ozempic or another medication is right for your weight loss goals and chart out a treatment plan.

GLP-1*

GLP-1 prescriptions, filled through your local pharmacy, are now available as part of Found's weight-loss toolkit. While GLP-1s are effective for weight loss, they are not clinically appropriate for everyone. Eligibility for a GLP-1 is based on a thorough evaluation of your medical history, eating behavior, lab work, and insurance coverage. If a GLP-1 is not appropriate for you, our providers will work with you to determine an effective medication for your health profile.

About Found

Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, serving more than 200,000 members to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.

Published date:
February 10, 2023
Meet the author
The Found Team
The Found Team

Sources

  • Blundell, J., Finlayson, G., Axelsen, M., Flint, A., Gibbons, C., Kvist, T., & Hjerpsted, J. B. (2017). Effects of once-weekly semaglutide on appetite, energy intake, control of eating, food preference and body weight in subjects with obesity. Diabetes, obesity & metabolism, 19(9), 1242–1251. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573908/
  • Chamberlin, S., PharmD, BCPS, & Dabbs, W., MD. Semaglutide (Ozempic) for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Am Fam Physician. 2019;100(2):116-117. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2019/0715/p116.html#afp20190715p116-b1
  • Klochkov A, Kudaravalli P, Lim Y, Sun Y. Alcoholic Pancreatitis. 2022 May 23. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537191/#_NBK537191_pubdet_
  • Ozempic semaglutide injection. Oct. 2022. OZEMPIC® (semaglutide) injection, for subcutaneous use Initial U.S. Approval: 2017. Highlights of Prescribing information. https://www.novo-pi.com/ozempic.pdf
  • Ozempic. June 2022. What is Ozempic? https://www.ozempic.com/why-ozempic/what-is-ozempic.html
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