There are no specific foods to avoid while taking Ozempic, and this drug is suitable with or without food.
However, there are some lifestyle changes and dietary elements to consider when using this medication.
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.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is one of the brand names for semaglutide. This medication controls blood sugar levels for those with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
If you struggle with this condition, it is hard for your body to regulate blood sugar properly, 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.
Ozempic belongs to the glucagon-like peptide-1 agonist class of medications (GLP-1), and it lowers blood glucose levels. It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes, and it can help with kidney problems. All of these conditions are commonly associated with type 2 diabetes.
This medication is available as a semaglutide 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 medication in tablet form.
How does Ozempic work?
Ozepmic increases the amount of insulin in your body after a meal, helping your body metabolise sugar and reduce blood sugar levels.
For those with type 2 diabetes, the body does not naturally produce enough insulin or the insulin produced does not work. While using semaglutide, more 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 medication such as Ozempic or metformin to control this.
Ozempic and appetite
This medication doesn’t just manage blood sugar; it also deals with one of the root causes of diabetes: obesity.
Ozempic slows down the digestive process and reduces food movement in the stomach, meaning you tend to feel fuller for longer while taking this medication.
Due to this function, this medication plays a crucial role in curbing appetite, resulting in weight loss for many patients.
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 medicine.
Due to the feeling of fullness this drug prompts in your body, you might feel bloated when taking Ozempic for the first time.
You might also experience gas and burping while taking Ozempic. This drug affects the digestive system and can cause gastric side effects such as constipation, acid reflux and stomach pain.
These side effects are considered harmless by doctors. Still, you should discuss them with your healthcare provider if they become particularly frequent or uncomfortable. There are also a few over-the-counter remedies that can help.
Rare side effects of Ozempic
There are also a few serious but rare side effects of Ozempic. Pancreatitis is a dangerous 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.
In the United States, the FDA has issued a warning about this medication concerning thyroid cancer. Ozempic has caused thyroid cancer in some animal testing, but it is unclear about the effect on humans.
To lower the possibility of developing thyroid cancer from taking Ozempic, you should discuss the dosage and usage of this medication if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 or if a family member has had medullary thyroid cancer.
Some patients also experience an allergic reaction to this medication. In addition, Ozempic can also exacerbate the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy (damaged eye blood vessels).
Ozempic and acid reflux
While there are no foods to avoid while taking semaglutide, one of the common side effects of this medication is acid reflux.
A few lifestyle and diet changes can manage this uncomfortable side effect and improve your experience of taking this drug.
Avoid high-fat foods, as these can move stomach acid back up into your oesophagus, causing uncomfortable acid reflux or indigestion pains.
Citrus fruit, tomatoes, chocolate, and some wheat products can also worsen the symptoms of acid reflux.
Ozempic and diet changes
Ozempic reduces appetite and increases fullness, meaning that you need to work out what to eat.
While taking this medication, it is essential to stick to the reduced diet advised by a doctor or healthcare provider. This is a crucial way to avoid bloating and make sure this drug manages high blood sugar levels and controls your weight.
Sticking to a diet plan will also help you lose weight while taking Ozempic. Although there are no foods that are entirely off-limits, you may want to alter your diet.
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 reduce carbohydrates while taking this medication as these foods can lead to a feeling of fullness, too.
The risk of hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is another term for low blood sugar, and it 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. It is also essential to stick to an exercise plan and avoid sudden lifestyle or diet changes without consulting a healthcare professional.
You can help yourself manage hypoglycemia by watching 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
- Other diabetes drugs, such as metformin
If you have a medical condition, discuss your current medication or treatment plan with a healthcare provider- even if this medication currently manages type 2 diabetes.
For those currently pregnant or breastfeeding, it is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. Therefore, speak to a doctor before breastfeeding.
Considering lifestyle and diet habits while taking Ozempic
Ozempic is a valuable, potentially life-saving medication 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. It is essential to look out for signs of hypoglycemia and discuss any changes or possible medication interactions with your doctor.