Ozempic is a medication in the class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1s receptor agonists (GLP-1s).
Manufactured by Novo Nordisk, Ozempic contains the active compound called semaglutide and is indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and chronic weight management. Importantly, Ozempic should be used as an adjunct treatment in addition to behavioral modifications like diet and exercise.
The medication can be taken with or without food.
Technically, there are no foods that are off-limits when taking Ozempic. However, depending on your health goals and provider’s recommendations, there may be some foods that you’ll want to avoid when following a specific diet.
Additionally, there are some foods that can make possible gastrointestinal side effects of the medication worse, including high-fat and high-sugar foods.
Foods to Avoid on Ozempic
Before starting Ozempic, talk to your healthcare provider about their diet recommendations. Depending on your medical history and health goals, there may be specific foods that you’ll want to limit or avoid when adhering to your new, long-term diet.
In most cases, your healthcare provider, dietician, or nutritionist may recommend prioritizing foods rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats and limiting heavily processed foods and foods high in sugar.
While there are no specific foods you need to avoid when on Ozempic, some foods can make possible side effects worse. Depending on how you feel when taking the medication, eliminating certain types of foods may help to reduce these side effects.
When taking Ozempic, you should follow a diet program recommended by your provider to improve your health and, in some cases, support weight loss.
In most cases, greasy, fatty, and fried foods will be limited since eating these foods regularly will not support improved health and weight loss. High-fat foods may also exacerbate common side effects of Ozempic, including nausea.
If you experience nausea, stomach pain, constipation, vomiting, and diarrhea while taking Ozempic, talk to your healthcare provider about avoiding high-fat foods in order to reduce the occurrence of these side effects.
Food that is high in sugar may also increase the risk of nausea or other possible gastrointestinal side effects when taking Ozempic.
If you have type 2 diabetes or other health conditions, including elevated A1C levels, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, you may want to avoid sugary foods for health reasons. For more guidance, reach out to your healthcare provider for customized diet recommendations.
Alcoholic beverages are permitted when taking Ozempic. However, drinking large amounts of alcohol can lower your blood sugar.
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 while on Ozempic can increase the risk of pancreatitis and should be avoided when taking this medication.
Talk to your healthcare provider about how to safely consume alcohol while on Ozempic.
Strategies they may recommend include limiting your consumption to 1-2 alcoholic drinks per day and only drinking alcohol with meals. However, alcohol will increase your daily intake of calories and will not be helpful if you are trying to lose weight.
Some calorie-dense foods, including high-fat and fried foods, may make some side effects of Ozempic worse.
Though calorie-dense foods aren’t off-limits when taking the medication, they may not be encouraged as part of a weight-loss-promoting diet. The results of one study found that after 12 weeks on Ozempic, participants had a lower relative preference for fatty and calorie-dense foods.
These preferences may be a reflection of how high-fat and calorie-dense foods increased the incidence of nausea and other gastrointestinal side effects. Be sure to talk to your provider, dietician, or nutritionist about which foods will help to support your results when taking Ozempic.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a GLP-1 medication indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It has also been approved by the FDA to support chronic weight management.
Ozempic (semaglutide) was developed by Novo Nordisk, and FDA-approved in 2017. Ozempic is an injectable medication and is usually injected once a week, with or without meals.
Ozempic should be taken alongside a diet and exercise program to help control blood sugar levels in adults with and without type 2 diabetes. Research also shows that Ozempic can help to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes and blood vessel and heart disease.
Ozempic has some possible side effects. The most common side effects are gastrointestinal, including:
Unfortunately, serious side effects are also possible. If you experience any of the below symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:
- Ongoing pain that begins in the upper left or middle of the stomach but may spread to the back, with or without vomiting
- Rash; itching
- Swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, tongue, or throat
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Decreased urination
- Swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
- Vision changes
- Fainting or dizziness
- Pain in upper stomach
- Yellowing of skin or eyes
- Clay-colored stools
- Rapid heartbeat
Do Certain Foods Worsen Ozempic Side Effects?
There are some foods that can worsen the possible side effects of Ozempic.
Foods that can make side effects worse include:
- High-fat foods
- Fried foods
- High-sugar food and drink
If you experience nausea or other gastrointestinal side effects when taking Ozempic, some strategies may help:
- Avoid high-fat and high-sugar food/drink
- Eat bland, low-fat foods (like crackers, toast, or rice)
- Eat more slowly
- Eat foods high in water, like soups
- Drink clear or ice-cold beverages
- Don’t lie down immediately after eating
Who Is Ozempic For?
Ozempic is a medication for people with type 2 diabetes, elevated A1C levels, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
It’s also approved for use in people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater or in people with a BMI of 27 or greater who also have a health condition, like type 2 diabetes or hypertension.
Ozempic should not be used by individuals with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
You should also tell your healthcare provider if you’re pregnant or have a personal or family history of:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Acute kidney injury or kidney problems
- Gallbladder disease
Before taking Ozempic, it’s important to tell your healthcare provider about any medications, supplements, or vitamins you’re currently taking. Though you can take Ozempic with some diabetes medications, it should not be combined with any other GLP-1 or weight loss drug.
When to See a Medical Provider
If you’re interested in controlling your blood sugar, managing your type 2 diabetes, and/or supporting long-term weight loss, reach out to your provider to see if Ozempic is right for you.
Keep in mind that Ozempic is not a “quick-fix” solution for weight loss.
To effectively and safely reap the benefits of the medication, you need to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations to ensure that you’re consistently incorporating lifestyle changes while on this medication.
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Frequently Asked Questions
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Effects of once-weekly semaglutide on appetite, energy intake, control of eating, food preference, and body weight in subjects with obesity. (2017).
Possible Side Effects. (n.d.).
Semaglutide, a glucagon like peptide-1 receptor agonist with cardiovascular benefits for management of type 2 diabetes. (2022).
Semaglutide Injection. (2021).