Victoza foods to avoid: Will taking this GLP-1 limit your diet?

Victoza foods to avoid: Will taking this GLP-1 limit your diet?

Victoza has shown the ability to aid in weight loss, but many people fear you must avoid certain foods while taking it. Let's explore what (if any) Victoza foods to avoid.

The Found Team
May 8, 2023
5 min read
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If you’re taking Victoza® (liraglutide) as part of your weight loss journey, you may be wondering what foods you may not be able to eat anymore while taking it. 

Don’t fret; your options are still very open, and you should be able to enjoy some of the foods you love most in moderation. 

We’ll dive into the world of weight loss with Victoza so you know the foods to avoid while taking it and some options to help minimize any potential side effects. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Victoza foods to avoid. Let’s dive in.

What is Victoza?

Victoza is the brand name for the drug liraglutide. Novo Nordisk manufactures Victoza, and it's part of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1) medication class. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it to treat type 2 diabetes in 2010. A year before that, European officials approved it for the same treatment.

Liraglutide is FDA-approved for adults and children 10 years and older with type 2 diabetes, but it's not for those with type 1 diabetes. Another bonus of liraglutide is that it’s proven to lessen the risk of cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes..

Liraglutide comes in a prefilled subcutaneous (under-the-skin) injectable pen. You use the pen to give yourself once daily in your upper arm, upper thigh, or stomach (abdomen).

Victoza foods to avoid: What are the foods to avoid while on Victoza?

Although there aren’t any Victoza foods to avoid, you may want to eat fewer certain foods to ease possible side effects and ensure the medication works most effectively. These foods include:

  • Greasy and fried foods. Foods like these that are high in fat tend to be the toughest for your body to digest and can cause more gastrointestinal issues—like nausea and diarrhea. Greasy and fried foods could exacerbate the symptoms you may experience while taking Victoza, so eating these foods in moderation may be a good idea.
  • High-sugar foods. Liraglutide works in your body to help lower blood sugar levels. High-sugar foods, like ice cream and milkshakes,  can cause a spike in blood glucose levels, making it more challenging for Victoza to work effectively and do its job in your body.
  • Alcohol. When you drink alcohol, it lowers your blood sugar levels, and Victoza is actively working to do the same. When you combine the two, it can cause you to have dangerously low blood sugar levels, which can lead to dizziness and fainting. If you do decide to have an alcoholic beverage, drink in moderation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this means no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. Even these recommendations are quite high, so it may be best to steer clear of alcohol altogether.

How does Victoza work?

As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, Victoza works by mimicking GLP-1, an incretin hormone your body already makes and is involved in regulating the amount of insulin the pancreas  produces and helping manage appetite and boost fullness.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you most likely know insulin is a crucial hormone for lowering blood sugar levels. When you have type 2 diabetes, overweight, or obesity, your body may have impaired insulin secretion levels or may not make enough, known as insulin resistance.

So, Victoza works to help reduce blood sugar levels by regulating insulin levels and slowing the rate at which your body digests your meals after you eat—also called gastric emptying. All of this can help you lose weight.

Victoza and weight loss

Liraglutide has been shown to aid in meaningful weight loss results. In fact, the obesity drug, Saxenda®, also made by Novo Nordisk, has a higher dose of liraglutide as its main active ingredient. The FDA has approved Saxenda for chronic weight management in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or above with at least one weight-related condition like high blood pressure. It’s also approved for teens aged 12 to 17 with a weight above 132 pounds and obesity. 

Even though Victoza has a lower dose of liraglutide, doctors prescribe it off-label for weight loss because of its successful weight-management capabilities. For more than 10 years, studies have been performed on the weight-loss efficacy of liraglutide. One clinical trial review published in 2016 in Clinical Pharmacokinetics found after evaluating many studies that adults showed significant weight loss when Victoza was added to Metformin.

The same review also mentions that in one study, after about three weeks of taking Victoza, participants' appetite and hunger was significantly reduced as compared to the placebo group—aiding in its ability to help with weight loss. 

Victoza side effects

Victoza has some common side effects, just like all other meds in the GLP-1 family. Talk to your health care provider about any that you experience, and be sure to let them know about any other meds or supplements you are on. Here are the most common side effects when taking Victoza:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea 
  • vomiting
  • decreased appetite
  • indigestion
  • constipation

Victoza’s prescribing information also notes some serious side effects, although extremely rare. Here are what they include:

  • inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • kidney problems (kidney failure)
  • serious allergic reactions.
  • gallbladder problems
  • possible thyroid tumors, including thyroid cancer

Novo Nordisk warns that you shouldn’t take Victoza if “you or any of your family have ever had MTC or if you have an endocrine system condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).” In addition, Victoza isn’t for those who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the next three months or for those who are breastfeeding.

Tips for managing side effects

Experiencing any side effects is no fun, and we want to give you the best tools to help ease any that you may experience. Novo Nordisk notes a few helpful ways to handle side effects if you experience them. Here’s what the manufacturer suggests:

  • Eat bland foods like crackers, toast, and rice.
  • Eat foods that contain water, like soups and gelatin.
  • Don't lie down after you eat.
  • Get some fresh air outside.

To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.

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

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Published date:
May 8, 2023
Meet the author
The Found Team
The Found Team

Sources

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 19 April 2022. Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm
  • Jacobsen, L. V., Flint, A., Olsen, A. K., & Ingwersen, S. H. (2016). Liraglutide in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Clinical Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics. Clinical pharmacokinetics, 55(6), 657–672. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4875959/
  • Khodarahmi, M., & Azadbakht, L. (2016). Dietary fat intake and functional dyspepsia. Advanced biomedical research, 5, 76. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4863403/
  • Shah, M., & Vella, A. (2014). Effects of GLP-1 on appetite and weight. Reviews in endocrine & metabolic disorders, 15(3), 181–187. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4119845/
  • Victoza. Sept 2022. Possible Side Effects. https://www.victoza.com/faq/Possible-side-effects.html
  • Victoza. Sept 2022. Getting Started on Victoza. https://www.victoza.com/getting-started-on-victoza-/your-first-injection.html
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