The 6 best foods to eat while taking Ozempic
LAST UPDATED: Sep 21, 2023
5 MIN READ
Ozempic can alter food cravings and appetite and side effects can include nausea, especially if you eat high-calorie meals.
Whether you are using Ozempic to treat diabetes or off-label for weight management, a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of your treatment.
While there’s no specific regimented diet for people on Ozempic, it’s a good idea to focus on consuming vegetables, lean protein, and dairy while avoiding processed and sugary foods.
HERE'S WHAT WE'LL COVER
If you’ve been prescribed Ozempic for type 2 diabetes treatment and weight loss, you’re likely wondering what the best foods are to help you control your blood sugar levels and lose weight faster. Since Ozempic works best when combined with lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, the foods you eat can make a big difference in how much weight you lose.
Let's break down some of the best foods to eat while taking Ozempic to maximize its benefits around blood sugar control and weight loss.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic (semaglutide), helps improve blood sugar control (glycemic control) in people with type 2 diabetes when combined with lifestyle changes. It belongs to a group of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. These medications mimic the effects of a hormone in response to eating food called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, signals the liver to stop releasing stored glucose, and slows gastric emptying, aka how fast food moves through your stomach.
Ozempic requires a prescription from a healthcare provider who will discuss the benefits and potential side effects of taking this medication. Ozempic is not FDA-approved for weight loss, but healthcare professionals can prescribe it off-label if they believe it is an appropriate course of treatment for a particular patient.
Ozempic Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.
How Ozempic works for weight loss
Ozempic helps with weight loss, particularly when combined with exercise and diet changes. Ozempic helps people lose weight because of its impact on gastric emptying: GLP-1 agonists slow food moving through the digestive tract. Food slowly emptying from the stomach helps you feel full for longer. You may also feel satisfied with less food than before taking Ozempic.
The increased feelings of fullness make it easier for people to feel satisfied with smaller portions of food and make it easier to follow a balanced diet. Some people may even find they lose weight without changing the types of food they’re eating because they naturally feel satisfied with smaller portions of whatever they eat.
Still, eating a balanced diet and regular exercise while taking Ozempic helps with weight loss, blood sugar control, and improving overall health.
The best foods to eat while taking Ozempic
The good news is, there are no foods that you have to eat or have to avoid while taking Ozempic. Still, Ozempic and other GLP-1 medications will be most effective for weight loss and blood sugar control when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Generally, eating healthy foods and avoiding foods high in sugar, calories, and unhealthy fats while taking Ozempic helps.
Here are some of the best foods to include in a balanced diet while taking Ozempic for blood sugar control, weight loss, or both:
Protein may be the most important food group in supporting weight loss. Protein is an essential macronutrient that the body uses for energy, building muscle, repairing tissue, and many other functions.
A 2017 study found a high-protein diet helps preserve muscle during weight loss. Maintaining muscle mass during weight loss helps ensure more of the pounds lost come from fat mass.
Try to add a mix of animal and vegetable protein sources. Examples of foods high in protein include:
Lean cuts of beef and pork
Beans and legumes
Non-starchy vegetables are among the best food groups to add to a healthy diet. They’re nutrient-dense foods, meaning they provide lots of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber while being relatively low in calories. Research shows vegetables add many vitamins and minerals essential for the human body, making them an important part of anyone’s diet.
Adding non-starchy vegetables also supports weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness without adding many calories.
Try to add a variety of colored vegetables to your diet. Each color represents different nutrients. For example, carotene produces the orange pigment seen in carrots and converts to vitamin A by the body.
Here are a few of the non-starchy vegetables you could include in your diet:
Green, leafy vegetables - kale, spinach, arugula, etc
Whole fruits contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Like non-starchy vegetables, fruit provides many nutrients essential to health.
Over the years, the fruit has sometimes been called “bad” for health because they naturally contain sugar. But a 2016 study found including fruits in a balanced diet helps support weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. However, consuming fruit juice or fruit packaged with added sugar may not be as helpful. Both types provide more sugar that may negatively impact blood sugar levels.
Since fruit contains fiber, it also helps people stay full longer. Try to consume mostly fresh fruit, canned fruit without added sugar, or frozen fruit without added sugar.
Here are a few types of fruit that could be included:
Fad diets stop here
If appropriate, get effective weight loss treatment prescribed for your body.
Whole grains undergo less processing than refined grains. Refined grains, like white bread, are typically stripped of most fiber and nutrients. In some types of fortified refined grains, these nutrients are added back in during processing. Because of the extra processing, opting for whole grain options is best.
Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that take longer for the body to digest because they contain fiber. Research shows that whole grains boost gut health and support healthy blood sugar levels and weight loss.
Whole grains include:
Whole grain pasta
Whole wheat bread
Whole grain rice
Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are excellent plant-based protein foods. Plus, they’re loaded with fiber, potassium, folate, and other nutrients. The combination of protein and fiber helps support your feelings of fullness, which as discussed above can make it easier to stick to a balanced diet.
Some research found people who consumed more beans had a lower body fat percentage and smaller waists than those with low bean intakes.
Examples of beans and legumes include:
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are considered a healthy source of dietary fat. Some people may hesitate to add nuts to their diet because nuts tend to be calorie-dense. However, fat helps support feelings of fullness, feeling satisfied with food, and other body functions.
The healthy fats, protein, and fiber found in nuts could help you stay feeling full for longer and support your weight loss journey.
Here are some nuts you could include in your diet while losing weight with Ozempic:
Remember, there is no specific diet or foods you have to include or avoid when you’re taking Ozempic. The best thing you can do is combine the different foods mentioned in this article with what you enjoy eating to build a lifestyle that’s sustainable for you. Be sure to talk with your healthcare team about any questions regarding Ozempic and what foods are best for you.
If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Balakrishna, R., Bjørnerud, T., Bemanian, M., et al. (2022). Consumption of nuts and seeds and health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic disease, cancer, and mortality: an umbrella review. Advances in Nutrition, 13(6), 2136–2148. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmac077. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9776667/
Cava, E., Yeat, N. C., & Mittendorfer, B. (2017). Preserving healthy muscle during weight loss. Advances in Nutrition, 8(3), 511–519. doi: 10.3945/an.116.014506. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5421125/
Food and Drug Administration. (2017). Ozempic highlights of prescribing information. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/209637lbl.pdf
Kim, J. Y. (2021). Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight loss and weight loss maintenance. Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome, 30(1), 20–31. doi: 10.7570/jomes20065. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8017325/
Slavin, J. L. & Lloyd, B. (2012). Health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Advances in Nutrition, 3(4), 506–516. doi: 10.3945/an.112.002154. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/
Sharma, S. P., Chung, H. J., Kim, H. J., & Hong, S. T. (2016). Paradoxical effects of fruit on obesity. Nutrients, 8(10), 633. doi: 10.3390/nu8100633. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5084020/
Tucker, L. A. (2020). Bean consumption accounts for differences in body fat and waist circumference: a cross-sectional study of 246 women. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2020, 9140907. doi: 10.1155/2020/9140907. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7294352/
Wu, W. C., Inui, A., & Chen, C. Y. (2020). Weight loss induced by whole grain-rich diet is through a gut microbiota-independent mechanism. World Journal of Diabetes, 11(2), 26–32. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v11.i2.26. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6969707/