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Weight Loss

What to Eat on Ozempic for Weight Loss: Expert Advice

See why they advise eating even when you're not hungry

Ozempic is everywhere! We hear so many stories of incredible weight loss on the injectible medications, but proper nutrition can help you unlock the full potential of Ozempic and achieve sustainable weight loss. Unfortunately, there is a flood of misinformation out there, with everyone from medspa clinicians to nurses, doctors to social media influencers offering dietary advice that may not be accurate. If you find yourself wondering what to eat on Ozempic, keep reading. We asked registered dietitians for their tips to help you lose weight, manage side effects and develop a positive relationship with food so you’ll experience sustainable results —and long-lasting health.

How Ozempic works

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, works by mimicking the GLP-1 hormone to delay gastric emptying and suppress the hormone glucagon, reducing hunger levels. This mechanism helps promote extended satiety and enhances the awareness of hunger cues. But Kim Shapira, RD, author of What are You Really Hungry For?, emphasizes the importance of focusing on changing behaviors and habits rather than following strict diets while on Ozempic. “People should be cautious about following any sort of restricted plan while taking these medications and should focus more on changing their behaviors and habits so they can maintain their weight loss and health benefits.”

Indeed, when combined with lifestyle changes, the medications can lead to successful weight management outcomes.

Is Ozempic a weight-loss miracle drug?

While Ozempic offers promising weight-loss benefits, integrating dietary and lifestyle adjustments is crucial for long-term success. Deena Adimoolam, MD, an endocrinologist specializing in obesity medicine, stresses the importance of combining the injections with lifestyle changes. She points out, “Celebrity endorsements oversensationalize the use of these weight-loss injections. These medications are not a miracle cure to weight loss.” She highlights the need for a holistic approach that includes diet, exercise and behavior modifications. “The weight-loss injections are a tool that can be used with lifestyle changes, which will help get you to your weight loss goals.”

“I have patients that came to me because they just wanted these medicines and they didn’t want to change their lifestyle. I can tell you they had minimal benefits with weight loss,” says Dr. Adimoolam. “My patients who are most successful with these medications are the ones who use these as a tool in combination with diet and exercise.”

Related: Your Guide to Ozempic and the New Weight-Loss Drugs: Top Experts + Real Women Tell All

What to eat on Ozempic

Unfortunately, the fat loss from Ozempic is often accompanied by significant loss in muscle. Not only does the decrease pave the way for unsustainable results, mostly because of the drop in metabolism, but it negatively impacts your immune system and longevity. That’s why protein is so key. It helps prevent muscle loss and supports weight management. Prioritizing lean sources of protein such as poultry, fish, tofu and beans will minimize side effects and promote satiety and aid in weight loss. Incorporating sufficient protein in your diet is essential for maintaining muscle mass and supporting metabolic health. While there are no specific protein intake recommendations for people taking Ozempic, aiming for 0.8 – 1 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, as per the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is a good starting point.  So if you weigh 165 lbs, you’d aim for 60 grams of protein a day.

Must-Read: Little-Known Ozempic Side Effect Is Worse for Women over 50: MDs Explain & Advise

Eat a variety of food

what to eat on ozempic: Woman mixing delicious superfood salad ingredients with wooden spoons in kitchen
Kseniya Ovchinnikova/Getty

A balanced diet while on Ozempic should include a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. “In the beginning when your appetite is low, and your body fat is high, you will not feel hungry. It is essential to continue to eat small meals often and have your food choices be full of fiber and protein,” recommends Shapira.

 Emphasizing fiber-rich foods like beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds can help with satiety and bowel regularity. “The fiber will prevent constipation and the protein will prevent muscle loss,” explains Shapira.

Related: Ozempic Can Be a Sneaky Cause of Hair Loss — Dermatologists Reveal How to Restore Volume

Don’t forget fats

mixed nuts in bowl. Mix of various nuts on colored background. pistachios, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts and brazil nuts.
Mykola Sosiukin/Getty

Incorporating healthy fats into your diet is also crucial for optimal nutrition while on Ozempic. Mono- and polyunsaturated fats in olive oil, nuts, seeds and fatty fish offer numerous health benefits and can increase satiety. However, it’s important to consume fats in moderation and avoid large high-fat meals to prevent digestive issues while taking Ozempic.

Consider smoothies

what to eat on ozempic: Morning breakfast natural organic smoothie with yogurt and strawberries
Svitlana Romanenko/Getty

When it comes to meal planning, try creating well-tolerated options like smoothies, soups and easy-to-digest balanced meals. These options can help manage side effects like nausea and food aversions and ensure that you’re getting the necessary nutrients while supporting your weight-loss journey. Incorporating dairy products rich in protein and calcium, as well as fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, can also enhance your diet while taking Ozempic since they’re easier to tolerate and enhance gut health for better digestion.

Eat often

Portrait of smiling retried woman enjoying yogurt as healthy snack in home kitchen
JackF/Getty

“It is essential to make lifestyle changes at the same time you’re starting these medications,” says Shapira “These include eating meals frequently about every 3 to 4 hours. This will help offset some of the side effects. When there is a lack of food or too much food in your stomach, the symptoms can be worse.”

Related: Does Ozempic Make You Tired? Docs Share the Surprising Reason + Easy Energy Boosters

Eating mindfully can speed results

Mindful eating practices can help you develop a healthy relationship with food and prevent overeating. Taking time to savor your meals, avoiding lying down immediately after eating and having your last meal at least three hours before bedtime can support digestion, while leaving the opportunity to practice mindful eating. By implementing mindful eating habits, you can enhance the effectiveness of Ozempic and achieve long-term success in your weight-loss journey.

Related: Mindful Eating Can Be A Food Lover’s Secret to Automatic Weight Loss, Say Psychologists

What food to avoid on Ozempic

what to eat on ozempic: Crispy Fried Chicken with French Fries
GMVozd/Getty

There are no specific foods that need to be completely avoided while on Ozempic. But it’s a good idea to limit fried foods, sugary items, high-fat meats and alcohol to manage side effects and enhance your progress. These foods can also hinder your weight-loss goals, so it’s important to consume them in moderation. “The name of the game is blood-sugar control, and in order for this to happen we need to be eating small frequent meals. This will also help your body with consistent weight loss and training your mind for a weight-maintenance lifestyle,” advises Shapira.

Related: ‘Glucose Goddess’: 4 Brilliant Hacks That Dramatically Improve Blood Sugar and Couldn’t Be Easier To Do

One-Day Sample Meal Plan on Ozempic

Below is a sample meal plan to follow while on Ozempic. (Calorie and macronutrient needs may vary based on your weight, height, health status and goals).

Breakfast

Herb omelette with chives, cherry tomatoes and parsley with panini toasts. Coffee and orange juice. Breakfast
Dzevoniia/Getty
  • Omelet: 3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, with a load of non-starchy veggies such as spinach and mushrooms, using nonstick cooking spray.
  • 1 slice sprouted grain bread
  • ½ cup melon
  • Water with fresh lemon and mint leaves

Morning snack

what to eat on ozempic: "Wedges of green and red apples surround a pool of organic peanut butter on a white plate, which rests on a rustic wood table."
RockStyleConMan/Getty
  • 1 medium apple with 1 tablespoon natural nut butter

Lunch

Greek salad with vinaigrette dressing topped with grilled chicken souvlaki
VeselovaElena/Getty
  • Grilled Chicken Salad: A large serving of mixed greens, 4 oz of grilled chicken breast, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and carrots, dressed with 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp of olive oil.
  • ½ cup roasted chickpeas, to add fiber and protein.
  • ½ cup of raw sauerkraut on the side for a bonus of fermented foods to aid digestion
  • 1 cup of green tea

Afternoon snack

what to eat on ozempic: Studio shot of hummus and baby carrots
Jamie Grill/Getty
  • Carrot and Cucumber Sticks with 2 tbsp hummus

Dinner

Healthy salmon steak and vegetables
Kanawa_Studio/Getty
  • Salmon: 4 oz baked salmon for healthy fats and protein.
  • Cauliflower: for added fiber and antiinflammatory properites
  • ½ sweet potato sliced in wedges like “fries”
  • 1 cup fennel tea

Evening snack

Rustic homemade dark chocolate
Emilija Manevska/Getty
  • 1 oz +70% dark chocolate

Bottom line

Optimizing your diet while on Ozempic requires a comprehensive approach that includes a balanced diet, mindful eating practices and lifestyle habits conducive to weight management. These medications are a game changer and can help reverse metabolic dysregulation, but they need to be taken with the full understanding that they do not change bad habits,” says Shapira. By following expert advice and focusing on essential food groups while incorporating mindfulness techniques, you can unlock the full potential of Ozempic for sustainable weight loss. Consulting a registered dietitian for personalized guidance and support can further enhance the benefits of Ozempic and empower you to achieve your long-term health goals.


For more on Ozempic, click through the links below!

Little-Known Ozempic Side Effect Is Worse for Women over 50: MDs Explain & Advise

Rybelsus vs Ozempic: Could a New Pill Version of the Weight Loss Drug Beat Out the Injectable? Two Doctors Weigh In

Berberine Is the Natural Ozempic That’s Helping Women Over 50 Lose Weight

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