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Ozempic foods to avoid: Are there any foods to stay away from?

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Are you curious whether there’s a certain diet you need to follow while taking Ozempic? While you don’t need to avoid specific foods or drinks, following some general recommendations while taking the GLP-1 medication will help optimize and sustain weight loss.

With that said, although there aren’t any foods you must steer clear of for good, there are some you should be aware of, especially if you want to avoid or lessen potential side effects.

So, what are they? Let’s jump in. Here’s what we know about Ozempic foods to avoid.

What is Ozempic?

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

How does Ozempic 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?

According to Novo Nordisk, Ozempic is prescribed for treating those with type 2 diabetes, in combination with lifestyle changes, like a healthy diet and exercise. It can decrease elevated A1C levels and help improve high cholesterol and high blood pressure in those with type 2 diabetes. 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 but at a higher dose. Wegovy is an FDA-approved weight loss drug for treating 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.

Ozempic is not recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or have type 1 diabetes or a personal or family history of the medical conditions medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

Can Ozempic be taken with other weight loss or diabetes medications?

One other medication that’s been tested when used at the same time as semaglutide is the type 2 diabetes drug metformin. A 2019 new drug review on semaglutide published in the peer-reviewed journal American Family Physician found that patients who were on Ozempic and metformin or insulin simultaneously lost more weight and had lower A1C levels (lower blood sugar levels) than those who were on semaglutide alone. That means using metformin while taking Ozempic is effective, and it may support even greater weight loss.

Other medications in combination with Ozempic need to be thoroughly vetted. It’s best to consult your doctor and let them know about any drugs—over-the-counter supplements or prescriptions—you take before starting a new medication.

What are the side effects of Ozempic?

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

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Stomach pain

  • Vomiting

  • Constipation

  • Pain at the injection site

As another important note, there are other more serious side effects. 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)

Are there any helpful tips that make Ozempic side effects better?

Yes! The manufacturer recommends patients taking Ozempic do the following when feeling nauseous:

  • 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

What foods to avoid while taking Ozempic?

Like we mentioned above, there are no specific foods to avoid when using Ozempic. And, when taking the prescription drug Ozempic, you should always listen and consult with your health care professional on their recommended diet to improve your health and condition. However, there are foods to eat not as much or in moderation to prevent side effects and support weight loss while taking Ozempic. Here’s the list:

  • Alcohol 

You can drink alcoholic beverages while taking it, but because Ozempic also lowers your blood sugar, drinking alcohol while on Ozempic can increase the risk of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Additionally, excessive alcohol drinking increases the risk of pancreatitis, and Ozempic can increase the risk of the same condition, so keep an eye on how much you’re drinking.

  • Sugary foods and drinks

Soda pop and other foods that are high in sugar like ice cream, donuts, cookies, and pastries can increase your risk of experiencing nausea while taking Ozempic. 

  • Highly processed, calorie-dense foods

Again, side effects of nausea and constipation may be exacerbated when eating high-fat or fried foods. But the good news? A study published in 2017 in Diabetes, Obesity, & Metabolism found that after 12 weeks on Ozempic, participants had better control of eating and less desire for fatty foods than the placebo group.

When on a weight loss journey, whether you’re taking Ozempic or not, it’s important to focus on incorporating certain types of foods in your diet, like whole grains, healthy fats, and vegetables. 

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Access to GLP-1s prescriptions is now available as part of Found's weight-loss program. 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 medical history, eating behavior, lab work, and insurance coverage. If a GLP-1 is not appropriate or affordable for you, Found providers can help determine if another effective medication is.

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