There are no specific foods to avoid while taking Ozempic, and this prescription drug is suitable with or without food.
However, there are some lifestyle changes and dietary elements to consider when using this medication. It is also vital to understand the common and rare side effects of taking Ozempic.
Alterations to diet or lifestyle habits will ensure your body gets used to this new medication, which can help our bodies to manage blood sugar levels daily.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is one of the brand names for semaglutide, an FDA-approved diabetes medication produced by Novo Nordisk. This drug controls blood sugar levels for those with type 2 diabetes.
If you struggle with this condition, it is hard for your body to regulate blood sugar, potentially leading to ongoing issues.
A low-sugar diet is enough to manage type 2 diabetes for some. However, for others, medication is necessary to control sugar levels and prevent the dangerous symptoms of diabetes.
Also known as Rybelsus or Wegovy, Ozempic belongs to the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist class of medications (GLP-1).
GLP-1 medication lowers blood glucose levels in the body.
Ozempic reduces the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks for those with heart disease and can also help with kidney problems.
All these conditions are commonly associated with type 2 diabetes.
The active ingredient used in this medication is semaglutide, and it is available as an injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection).
The best injection sites are the front of the thighs, the front of the waist (abdomen), or the upper arm. It is also possible to take this drug as an oral medication, in pill form.
How does Ozempic work?
Ozepmic increases the amount of insulin in your body after a meal, helping your body metabolize sugar and lower blood sugar levels.
For those with type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t naturally produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced doesn't work.
While using semaglutide, extra insulin is introduced into your body at a crucial time, leading to healthier blood sugar control.
It is vital to ensure your body has enough insulin, as a lack of insulin can cause diabetic ketoacidosis, which is when your body runs out of insulin. Some patients need diabetes medication such as Ozempic, Saxenda, or metformin to control this.
Ozempic and appetite
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is linked to lifestyle choices such as poor diet and a lack of physical activity.
Therefore, this medication doesn’t just manage blood sugar; it also deals with one of the root causes of diabetes: obesity.
Ozempic slows the digestive process and reduces food movement in the stomach, meaning you tend to feel fuller for longer while taking this drug.
Due to this function, this medication plays a crucial role in curbing hunger. As a result, patients using Ozempic tend to consume fewer calories, resulting in weight loss for many.
Although the Ozempic brand of semaglutide is only approved as a diabetes medication and not prescribed specifically for weight loss, many type 2 diabetes patients find they start to lose weight during treatment.
Common side effects of Ozempic
Ozempic is a relatively new medication, but there are a few reported common side effects to consider while using this drug.
Some patients experience nausea when first starting semaglutide injections.
Due to the feeling of fullness this medication prompts in your body, you might also feel bloated when taking Ozempic for the first time.
Digestive issues are one of the most common side effects while taking Ozempic. This drug affects the digestive system, meaning it can often cause gastric trouble, such as constipation, acid reflux, gas, and stomach pain for some patients.
Doctors consider these side effects harmless, and any mild side effects should go away after the first couple of weeks.
Still, you should discuss them with your healthcare provider if they become particularly frequent or uncomfortable.
Rare side effects of Ozempic
There are also a few serious but rare side effects of Ozempic. Pancreatitis is one dangerous potential side effect of this medication.
Also known as pancreas swelling, the signs of this condition are:
- Excessive flatulence and burping
- Vomiting and nausea
- Abdomen pains that may seem to come from the back
- A fever
Seek immediate medical advice to avoid continued damage to the pancreas.
The FDA issued a warning about this medication concerning thyroid tumors. Ozempic caused thyroid cancer in some animal testing, but it is unclear whether the drug will have the same effect on humans.
To lower the possibility of developing thyroid cancer while taking Ozempic, you should discuss the dosage and usage of this drug if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 or if a family member has had medullary thyroid cancer (MTC).
Some patients also experience an allergic reaction to this medication. In addition, Ozempic can exacerbate the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy (damaged eye blood vessels).
Ozempic and acid reflux
While there are no foods to avoid while taking semaglutide, acid reflux is one of the common side effects of this medication.
A few lifestyle and diet changes can help manage this uncomfortable side effect and improve your experience of taking this drug.
Avoid high-fat or fried foods, as these can move stomach acid back into your esophagus, causing uncomfortable acid reflux or stomach pains.
Citrus fruit, tomatoes, chocolate, and some wheat products can also worsen the symptoms of acid reflux.
Many patients find that whole grains help with acid reflux. These foods include brown rice, oatmeal, and wholegrain bread. Whole grains are fiber-rich, absorbing excess stomach acid and easing gastric symptoms.
Over-the-counter remedies, like Mylanta, Rolaids, or Tums, can also help.
Ozempic and diet changes
Ozempic reduces appetite and increases fullness, meaning you must consider what to eat.
While taking this prescription medication, it’s essential to stick to the reduced, healthy diet advised by your doctor or healthcare provider.
This is a crucial way to avoid bloating and ensure this drug manages high blood sugar levels and controls your weight.
A healthy lifestyle and diet plan will also help you lose weight while taking Ozempic. Although no foods are entirely off-limits, you may want to alter your diet and choose smaller meals on this medication.
Most patients will feel full faster while eating, and this feeling will last for longer. This is the aim of Ozempic, and it is vital to listen to your body when it feels full.
For this reason, some people eat fewer carbohydrates while taking this medication, as these foods can also lead to a feeling of fullness.
Ozempic and alcohol
Although there are no known interactions between Ozempic and alcohol, many doctors recommend reducing alcohol consumption while taking this drug.
Alcohol can cause a significant change in blood sugar levels. This leads to hypoglycemia for some patients, as Ozempic finds it harder to manage your blood sugar.
Mixing Ozempic and alcohol can cause side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness for many patients.
Drinking alcohol on a long-term basis while taking Ozempic can also lead to pancreatitis, a severe but rare side effect of this drug.
Speak to your healthcare provider for detailed information about the effects of alcohol while on Ozempic.
The risk of hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is another term for low blood sugar and can be experienced as a sudden dip in blood sugar levels. Ozempic may cause hypoglycemia in some patients, primarily if used alongside other diabetes drugs and insulin.
Follow a firm meal plan and keep blood sugar in a healthy range. Sticking to an exercise plan and avoiding any sudden lifestyle or diet changes without consulting a healthcare professional is essential.
You can manage the risk of hypoglycemia by looking out for symptoms like dizziness, sweating, or intense hunger.
Possible drug interactions with Ozempic
There are certain medications to avoid while taking Ozempic.
Drug interactions with Ozempic include:
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline
- Beta-blockers, including atenolol
- Insulin, such as insulin lispro and insulin glargine
- Other diabetes drugs, like metformin
Some drugs can decrease the time it takes for your stomach to empty, meaning Ozempic can’t do its job to manage hunger.
If you have a medical condition, discuss your current medication or treatment plan with a healthcare provider- even if this medication manages type 2 diabetes.
This is because other diabetes medications can also lower blood sugar. Alongside Ozempic, levels can drop too low, and this could cause hypoglycemia.
For those currently pregnant or breastfeeding, it is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. Therefore, it is vital to speak to a doctor before breastfeeding.
Some herbal supplements, such as fenugreek and bitter melon, can interact with Ozempic.
Talk to your healthcare provider before trying out any supplements while taking this medication.
Considering lifestyle and diet habits while taking Ozempic
Ozempic is a valuable, potentially life-saving drug for those with type 2 diabetes.
Although there are no specific foods and drinks to avoid while taking Ozempic, lifestyle, and dietary changes can make taking this drug more comfortable.
Avoid foods that can exacerbate acid reflux to reduce the side effects of this medication, and follow a meal plan to encourage healthy weight loss where necessary.
We must also be aware of the side effects of this medication, and it is essential to look out for signs of hypoglycemia or thyroid cancer while on Ozempic.
It is also essential to discuss any lifestyle changes or possible drug interactions with your doctor.