Foods to avoid while on Saxenda

Foods to avoid while on Saxenda

 · 7 min read
Last updated and fact checked:

There are no foods or drinks to avoid on Saxenda. However, you’ll need to stick to a diet and exercise plan, as this can help you lose weight - even after you finish your prescription. Reduce your portion sizes and eat slower to experience the full benefits of this drug.

  • Saxenda fights obesity by reducing appetite and increasing the feeling of fullness throughout the day.
  • There are several common side effects of liraglutide, such as vomiting, nausea, and headaches.
  • Following a balanced diet while on Saxenda is important, including healthy foods and regular exercise.
  • You can safely lose weight by following healthy lifestyle changes and low-calorie eating habits.

Foods to avoid while on Saxenda: FAQS

  • What foods make you sick on Saxenda?

    Taking Saxenda may affect your tolerance to certain foods, and you may experience nausea or digestive issues. It's important to discuss any adverse reactions with your healthcare provider, who can offer guidance on managing side effects and adjusting your diet if necessary.

  • Can you eat normally on Saxenda?

    Yes, however, you must monitor your eating on Saxenda to ensure the drug can do its job. This medication reduces your appetite and encourages you to feel fuller for longer. For this reason, you may want to choose smaller portion sizes. You’ll also need to avoid sugary foods and fill your diet with healthy foods to lose weight on Saxenda.

  • How does Saxenda work?

    Saxenda increases the feeling of fullness after eating. This is because the medication tells the brain when you’re full, encouraging you to eat less. Saxenda also reduces the time it takes for your stomach to empty, curbing your appetite.

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Between 2017 and 2020, Forbes estimated that 41.9% of adults in the U.S. were obese. Saxenda is an effective weight loss medication to manage obesity.

Saxenda reduces appetite and increases fullness. It tackles excessive body fat, which can lead to serious medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Although there are no specific foods or drinks to avoid while taking Saxenda, you’ll need to implement specific dietary habits to help this medication do its job. You can safely lose weight and enjoy a healthy lifestyle by following a low-calorie diet and controlled physical activity plan.

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Do I need to follow a diet while on Saxenda?

Sticking to a diet plan while taking Saxenda to reduce fat and maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle is beneficial. 

Although there are no specific foods to avoid on Saxenda, healthcare providers recommend a reduced-calorie diet that limits high-calorie food products. 

It’s best to avoid unhealthy foods and foods high in sugar, including:

  • Fast food.
  • Fizzy drinks and alcohol.
  • Processed foods.
  • Food with high trans and saturated fats, such as fried foods.
  • Processed carbohydrates, such as white bread.

Instead, choose healthy alternatives such as wholegrains and low-fat foods to aid your weight loss journey on Saxenda. Your healthcare professional can refer you to a nutritionist or dietitian to create an effective meal plan alongside your prescription.

Should I change my eating habits?

You may want to change your eating habits on Saxenda. Choosing smaller portions is a good idea as Saxenda encourages you to feel full faster and for longer throughout the day.

Eating slower also gives your brain time to tell your body that you’re full, and it can reduce your chance of overeating while on Saxenda.

Saxenda works by reducing cravings and appetite, so you should listen to your body and stop eating when you feel full, as this is a sign that the drug is doing its job to reduce body weight.

What BMI do I need to take Saxenda?

BMI (body mass index) is a measurement of your height and weight ratio, used to work out if you’re a healthy weight. A score between 18.5 and 24.9 is the ideal healthy weight range for adults.

Healthcare professionals can only prescribe Saxenda if:

  • You have excess weight and a BMI of over 27.
  • You have weight-related medical problems or obesity and a BMI of over 30.

Children aged 12-17 years with a body weight above 132 pounds (60 kg) may also be able to take Saxenda.

Failure to meet these criteria makes it unlikely for you to obtain access to Saxenda.

What is the recommended dose of Saxenda?

The Saxenda starting dose is 0.6mg per day for one week. The dose will increase by 0.6mg weekly until you reach a 3mg maintenance dose. However, your dose of Saxenda may differ depending on your circumstances.

Saxenda is administered as a daily injection using a Saxenda pen in the stomach, upper leg, or upper arm. Speak to your healthcare provider for advice and support about your prescription.

Who can’t take Saxenda?

Saxenda is not recommended if you are over 75 years old.

You should not take Saxenda if you: 

  • Have a liver, kidney, or pancreas condition.
  • Have kidney disease or are on dialysis.
  • Have had an allergic reaction to liraglutide in the past.
  • Have severe heart failure.
  • Have inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease.
  • Have gastroparesis (a condition in which your stomach has difficulty emptying food properly).

Consult your doctor before taking Saxenda if you plan to conceive or breastfeed, as it's unclear if the drug passes into breast milk.

Do I need to exercise while taking Saxenda?

Saxenda is most effective when coupled with a consistent exercise plan, including exercises such as walking, swimming, or low-impact gym workouts.

It’s useful to work out different muscles when you exercise, as this promotes the absorption of sugar from the bloodstream. Exercise converts sugar into energy, regulating blood sugar levels even after an exercise session.

Why might I need to use Saxenda?

Saxenda is the brand name for the weight loss medication liraglutide. Also known as Wegovy or Victoza, this medicine curbs your appetite and makes you feel full, promoting weight loss for those struggling with obesity.

If you have non-diabetic hyperglycemia or are at risk of weight-related conditions, you may be eligible for a prescription of liraglutide. This includes if you have an increased risk of heart attacks, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.

Saxenda is part of a class of medications called incretin mimetics. It contains the active ingredient liraglutide, which mimics GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1), a hormone produced in the intestines that tells the brain when you’re full. This means that you feel fuller faster when eating.

The medication also works by helping the pancreas to release the right amount of insulin when blood sugar levels are high.

Will I keep the weight off after using Saxenda?

Keeping the weight off after coming off Saxenda is possible, but you’ll need to stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan. 56% of people taking Saxenda for three years achieved significant weight loss after one year, with around half of them maintaining this weight loss at the three-year mark.

According to several studies funded by Novo Nordisk, patients on Saxenda lost an average of 18 pounds each. One report claims a weight loss of 13.55% after five weeks of using Saxenda alongside a controlled diet plan and 45 minutes of walking three times per week.

How do I get Saxenda?

Saxenda is available only by prescription in the US. In December 2014, the FDA approved Saxenda for treating chronic weight management, combined with a reduced-calorie diet and physical activity.

A healthcare professional will first recommend lifestyle changes before prescribing Saxenda. You can usually access this prescription if:

  • Diet restrictions and exercise plans have been unsuccessful.
  • Weight loss surgery isn’t an option. 

Will I experience any side effects on Saxenda?

Some of the most common side effects of Saxenda include:

  • Headaches.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.
  • Fatigue.
  • Vomiting.
  • Drowsiness.

Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, particularly if you experience vomiting or diarrhea when beginning treatment with Saxenda.

There are also a few more serious side effects to consider while on Saxenda. If you feel severe stomach pain, seek medical advice immediately. Saxenda can cause gallbladder problems, so looking out for abdomen or back pains is important. You may also experience fever, yellowing of the skin or eyes, and clay-colored stools.

Recent research shows no significant increase in thyroid cancer or pancreatitis risk with Saxenda use.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any severe or uncomfortable side effects when taking Saxenda. 

Will Saxenda interact with my other medications?

Saxenda reduces the time it takes for the stomach to empty, which can affect the efficiency of any medicines that need to pass through the stomach quickly.

Talk to your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications before starting Saxenda: 

  • Medication for type 2 diabetes, as using Saxenda may lead to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Your doctor might adjust your diabetes medicine dosage to prevent this.
  • Blood-thinning medications like warfarin, as your doctor may need to monitor you more closely when using Saxenda.
  • High blood pressure or heart disease medications may require adjustments, including amlodipine, atenolol, bisoprolol, or digoxin.
  • HIV medications such as atazanavir or ritonavir, as using Saxenda may have implications that your doctor should be aware of and monitor accordingly.

Do not take Saxenda with other liraglutide medicines or GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic. Ozempic can cause weight loss and is a common treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Understanding how to take Saxenda

Saxenda is a common weight loss medication that encourages you to feel full and helps you to lose weight safely.

By managing your calorie intake and implementing healthy eating habits, you can help Saxenda do its job.

Image Credit: Pavel Danilyuk at Pexels

Eleanor Jones
Eleanor Jones
Eleanor joined Health Times in 2022 and is an experienced health and lifestyle writer.