article

Modified on

Foods to avoid on Zepbound: Skip these to support your weight loss

Take the quiz

What you eat is an important part of weight loss, even while taking medications like ZepboundTM, the new weight loss drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The highlights: Typically, nothing’s completely off limits, but some foods can worsen specific side effects. Knowing which Zepbound foods to avoid and which foods to include in your diet while taking this drug is key to achieving your weight loss goals.   

What is Zepbound? 

Zepbound is one of the most effective weight loss drugs available. In a clinical trial funded by its manufacturer, Eli Lilly, adults with obesity taking the highest dose of Zepbound (15 mg) over 72 weeks lost an average of 48 pounds, while those on a lower dose (5 mg) lost 34 pounds. (The average starting body weight was 231 pounds.) 

Zepbound (tirzepatide) works by mimicking two hormones produced naturally in the gut, acting as dual receptor agonist. These hormones are glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). (An agonist is something that activates the same cell receptors as the body's natural chemical messengers.) Zepbound affects two types of these receptor cells,  slowing digestion so you feel full longer and signaling the brain to curb appetite.  It also effectively  regulates blood glucose levels, and reduces food intake. 

Zepbound is  a weekly injection taken just under the skin. The drug is most successful when combined with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. Clinicians prescribe Zepbound for chronic weight management in adults with obesity (a BMI of 30+) or with excess weight (a BMI of 27+) and at least one weight-related health condition, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease.

Eli Lilly also manufactures the brand-name drug Mounjaro®, which contains the same active ingredient in Zepbound, tirzepatide. The difference is that Mounjaro is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes. However, health care providers can also prescribe Mounjaro off-label for the treatment of obesity.  

Common Zepbound side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and acid reflux. People with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 should not take Zepbound. Do not take Zepbound if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant. Find detailed side effect and risk information on our dedicated Zepbound page.

What to know: Foods to avoid on Zepbound 

While no foods are ”off limits” when taking Zepbound, some foods may worsen your side effects. Changing what and how you eat can help you manage these side effects. Eventually, the gastrointestinal discomfort typically disappears as your body gets used to the drug. Let's review the list of Zepbound foods to avoid.

Alcohol 

Zepbound works to regulate blood sugar, and drinking alcohol can lower your blood sugar. When these are used together, your blood sugar can drop severely, resulting in side effects including:

  • Fast heartbeat

  • Shaking

  • Sweating

  • Nervousness or anxiety

  • Irritability or confusion

  • Dizziness

  • Hunger

  • Feeling weak

  • Difficulty walking or seeing clearly

  • Seizures

It’s important to limit or avoid alcohol while taking Zepbound. It can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or worsen some of the drug’s digestive side effects. 

Fatty foods 

If you experience nausea, keep in mind that high-fat foods are often hard to digest, making them foods to avoid while on Zepbound. Avoiding or cutting back on these foods may help you feel better. Examples of high-fat foods include fried foods like onion rings and french fries, butter, lard, marbled red meat, many types of sausages, bacon, and  whole-milk dairy products such as cheeses like cheddar, brie, Halloumi, heavy or whipped cream, ice cream, flan, or cheesecake. 

High-carbohydrate foods

Because high-carb foods can also be higher in sugar and fat, they can raise blood sugar levels, interfering with Zepbound’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. So, you may want to add these to your list of foods to avoid while taking Zepbound.

When your blood sugar spikes, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Increased thirst

  • Weakness

  • Blurred vision

  • Frequent urination

  • Abdominal pain

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Confusion

  • Shortness of breath

Remember that simple carbs impact your blood sugar faster than complex carbs. Simple carbs include white pasta, white rice, honey, syrups, sugary drinks, cookies, candy, white bread, and cakes. When you eat carbs, choose ones that are complex—vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains. You may also want to eat them in smaller portions and pair them with healthy proteins. 

High-fiber foods 

While it’s important to eat enough high-fiber foods to keep digestion regular and avoid constipation, too much fiber can increase the risk of diarrhea when you first start Zepbound. Avoid or limit high-fiber foods until your body adjusts to the medication. 

Examples of high-fiber foods to avoid with Zepbound include fruits such as bananas, raspberries, apples, and pears along with vegetables such as avocados, artichokes, beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots, lentils, sweet potatoes, and green peas. Whole grains, nuts, and seeds are also sources of high fiber. 

Sports drinks and coffee

Sports drinks and coffee can increase the risk of diarrhea; avoid these when taking Zepbound. 

Changing your diet on Zepbound 

While no food is prohibited when taking Zepbound, there are foods you can eat to maximize weight loss and minimize side effects. Ideally, these foods are part of a healthy diet and include lean proteins such as fish, chicken, beans, and eggs, as well as dairy products like low-fat milk and cheeses. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are also good choices. People who already follow a healthy lifestyle to manage weight-related conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes may only have to make slight tweaks to manage Zepbound’s side effects. In turn, achieving a healthy body weight through medication and lifestyle may help manage these conditions even further. 

Staying hydrated is important to any weight management program; make water and sugar-free beverages your first choices when grabbing a drink. 

Some people find that having four or more smaller meals each day instead of three larger meals helps them avoid side effects. Eat slowly and stop eating when you feel full. Avoid lying down immediately after meals and eating too close to bedtime.

With Zepbound, you don’t need to be on a severely restrictive diet for it to be effective. You just need to focus on making healthy eating choices and save splurge foods for special occasions. 

Is Zepbound right for you? 

Getting individualized care and a personalized prescription for medical weight loss is crucial to sustainable success. Losing and maintaining weight is complex, with genetic, hormonal, and even environmental causes and contributing factors. 

Found’s health care providers are trained in obesity medicine. They can tailor a treatment plan for you from a large portfolio of drugs used for weight management. 

Taking your weight and medical history and Found’s proprietary metabolic health assessment, MetabolicPrint™, Found’s clinicians can personalize a plan and prescription to address your unique weight care needs.

About Found

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

GLP-1/ GIP

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

Find out what path is right for you

Continue