Should you avoid certain foods when taking Ozempic® (semaglutide)?
Wondering whether you need to stick to a special diet when taking Ozempic®? There are no hard and fast rules for what you can and can’t eat while taking Ozempic, a GLP-1 medication that’s prescribed for type 2 diabetes and for weight loss. No foods are strictly “off-limits” when taking Ozempic®—in other words, there’s nothing to need to worry about that could prevent the medication from working normally.
However, there are a few guidelines you’ll want to keep in mind in order to maximize weight loss and improve metabolic health while taking Ozempic®. Read on to learn more.
What is Ozempic® (semaglutide) and how does it work?
Ozempic® (semaglutide) is an FDA-approved GLP-1 medication manufactured by Novo Nordisk, the same company that makes Wegovy® (another form of semaglutide). It is a once-weekly prescription medication administered via subcutaneous injection.
Ozempic® works by mimicking the incretin hormones that your body naturally produces when you eat food.
Incretin hormones are gut hormone signals released by the small intestine that travel throughout the body, signaling the brain, endocrine system, and gastrointestinal system that food has been consumed and is ready to be metabolized by the body for fuel. This results in a complex cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters that work together to communicate feelings of satiety (or feeling full).
GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) is one such incretin hormone, but it does more than just influence satiety: It also plays an important role in the management of blood sugar levels and can improve blood sugar levels in people living with impaired glucose tolerance, prediabetes, or diabetes.
As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, Ozempic® works by imitating the effects of the GLP-1 hormone produced naturally in your body.
Should I make changes to my diet while taking Ozempic®?
In order to maximize your results with Ozempic®, you will need to make changes to your day-to-day lifestyle. This includes modifying what you eat.
The food program at Calibrate creates a healthy, sustainable way of eating that promotes weight loss and sets you up for long-term health. Calibrate does this by focusing on the quality of foods and making sure your body is getting the building blocks it needs while helping you to feel in-control.
Importantly, the Calibrate food program is not a diet: We do not use meal replacements or meal plans. We don’t try to restrict your eating. Instead, we help you rebalance it.
Calibrate’s food philosophy will help you achieve the following outcomes:
- Limit disease-promoting foods: eating less sugar, fast-digesting carbs, and processed foods.
- Increase health-promoting foods: eating more quality foods in the right proportions.
- Develop an overall healthy relationship with food.
Can certain foods make Ozempic® side effects worse?
Most people taking Ozempic® experience few side effects. However, the most common side effects are mild and tend to improve with time. Some common side effects of Ozempic® include:
- Stomach (abdomen) pain
- Bloating, burping, or gas
- Injection site pain
The side effects that patients often report are mild stomach pain and nausea. The good news is, you can prevent or at least lessen these side effects by paying attention to what you eat.
Fried foods and fatty foods, such as fast food, and foods high in sugar tend to be the toughest for your body to digest and the most likely to cause nausea while taking a GLP-1 medication. According the the manufacturer, patients taking Ozempic® who experience nausea should consider the following tips:
- Eat slowly, and eat smaller meals
- Eat foods that are light and bland
- Drink clear or ice-cold drinks (like water or unsweetened tea)
- Avoid fried, greasy, or sweet foods
Talk to your Calibrate doctor about any side effects that become bothersome or that don’t go away. Your Calibrate Medical Team can offer recommendations and supportive care for any issues that arise. If you experience any severe side effects, such as anaphylaxis or shortness of breath, seek immediate medical care from a healthcare professional.
Avoiding high-sugar foods with Ozempic®
Some of the dietary modifications recommended as part of the Calibrate program are designed to help you reap the most benefit from your GLP-1 medication. In particular, swapping out fast-digesting carbohydrates for foods that provide a more sustainable energy source (such as foods rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats) will not only help you on your path to weight loss, but will set you up for improved blood sugar regulation longer-term.
Reducing your intake of sugary foods like candy, pastries, ice cream, and soda doesn’t mean you need to miss out on treats altogether. As redundant as the phrase might sound, it’s all about moderation and balance. Simple swaps, like flavored seltzer instead of soda or fresh fruit instead of a bottled smoothie, can make a big difference.
Avoiding fatty foods with Ozempic®
As mentioned above, fatty foods may worsen any existing side effects of your GLP-1 medication depending on your dose and overall tolerance. If you already experience any digestive discomfort after eating fried foods (like french fries, fried chicken, or doughnuts) it may feel even more noticeable when taking medication like Ozempic® (semaglutide).
Same goes for foods high in saturated fat—think: greasy pizza, buttery cream-based pasta sauce, high-fat dairy, and fast food.
While you should always feel empowered to enjoy the occasional side of french fries, remember to moderate your intake and balance out small portions of less-healthy fatty food with more generous portions of fresh vegetables, lean protein, and fiber-containing foods.
Avoiding alcohol and caffeine with Ozempic®
Don’t panic: We’re not going to tell you that you need to cut out your daily cup of coffee when taking a GLP-1 medication like Ozempic®! However, caffeine may affect the semaglutide’s efficacy and mechanism of action by impacting your hydration and blood sugar levels.
As a stimulant and diuretic, caffeine can contribute to dehydration if you aren’t consuming plenty of fluids (water, in particular) at the same time. Caffeine may also cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate, possibly increasing the risk for hypoglycemia when taking Ozempic® at the same time.
The general guidance is that it’s best to limit consumption to no more than one cup of coffee per day when taking Ozempic®—but listen to your body and, most importantly, stay hydrated. If your Ozempic® side effects worsen after caffeine intake, consider cutting back or switching to a beverage with lower caffeine levels, like tea.
This same rule of thumb applies to alcohol consumption. While a drink or two isn’t likely to cause any harm, and there is no known drug interaction between Ozempic® and alcohol, be careful not to go overboard. Alcohol can worsen the side effects of Ozempic®, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Like caffeine, it can also decrease blood sugar. If you have any concerns about caffeine and/or alcohol while taking Ozempic®, talk to your Calibrate medical team.
Who is eligible for Ozempic®?
All Calibrate members will be considered for Ozempic® as clinically appropriate and insurance eligible. Those with a history of any of the following medical conditions should talk to a healthcare provider prior to starting Ozempic®:
- Endocrine tumors in the thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, pancreas, or adrenal glands
- A family history of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2 (MEN2)
- A history of diabetic retinopathy or vision problems
- Active gallbladder disease
- Kidney disease, kidney failure, or other kidney problems
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Thyroid cancer, thyroid tumors, or a family history of thyroid cancer
- Pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant
- Heavy alcohol consumption
Can I take Ozempic® with metformin or other diabetes medications?
Metformin and Ozempic® (semaglutide) are safe to take together and are often prescribed together for type 2 diabetes and weight management.
Talk to your Calibrate doctor if you have any questions or concerns about taking Ozempic® with other prescription drugs, supplements, or over-the-counter medications.
Like other GLP-1s—such as Saxenda®, Wegovy®, and Rybelsus®—Ozempic® is a medication that makes it easier to lose weight and stick to healthy habits. However, it doesn’t produce weight loss on its own: It must be used in combination with other tactics to support metabolic health and avoid weight regain. These tactics may include modifications to what you eat, how and when you exercise, and other healthy lifestyle changes.
Taking Ozempic® as part of the Calibrate Metabolic Reset
Calibrate’s One Year Metabolic Reset combines GLP-1 medication with evidence-based lifestyle recommendations—the Four Pillars of Metabolic Health—to help participants maximize their success with Ozempic®. These pillars include:
- Emotional health
By learning to eat more whole foods and fewer fast-digesting carbohydrates, improving sleep quality, participating in exercise that you actually enjoy, and managing stressors, you’re setting up both your mind and body for real results. With this foundation in place, Ozempic® can work even more effectively to reduce high blood sugar and help you lose weight.
Ready to get started? Find out if you’re eligible today.