Ozempic helps people lose weight by making them feel full, so they eat less. You may well be wondering whether that means you need to make any changes to your diet while taking it.

The answer is yes, you do. There’s no specific foods that are off-limits with Ozempic, but it’s recommended that you make healthy changes to your eating habits while using it. Plus, it might be a good idea to steer clear of certain foods that can make your side effects worse.  

Let’s dive into the advice around diet and Ozempic.  

Ozempic and your diet

But before we talk about specific foods, it’s important to understand how Ozempic works and why this is related to your diet.  

Semaglutide is the active ingredient in Ozempic. It works by copying the actions of a natural gut hormone called GLP-1, which means that it brings on the same effect as the hormone: making us feel full.  

One way it does this is triggering the release of insulin, which helps the body turn the food we eat into energy. Insulin release after a meal signals that we’ve eaten enough to meet our energy requirements, and so don’t need to take in any more. Semaglutide also slows the movement of food through the stomach, so that we feel fuller for longer.  

Yet this feeling of fullness in itself doesn’t cause weight loss: it reduces our appetite. Us eating less as a result is what affects our weight.  

Semaglutide drugs like Ozempic work alongside changes in diet, not separately to them. They’re meant to be used to supplement the effects of a healthy diet and regular exercise on weight. There’s no evidence that the drug works when used on its own as a standalone treatment.  

So, making beneficial changes to what you’re eating (and exercising regularly—but in this article, we’re focusing on diet) is really important in getting the most out of the drug’s effects. Plus, it’s currently recommended that Ozempic is taken for a maximum of two years, so those habits will help you to maintain your weight loss after you stop using it.  

Which foods should I eat when taking Ozempic?

The main advice is to eat a nutritious, reduced-calorie diet while taking Ozempic.  

In clinical trials, semaglutide was shown to be effective when people ate 500 calories less per day than what they burned (this is called a calorie deficit) and exercised for 150 minutes per week. After following this schedule for 12 weeks, people lost an average of 6% body weight.

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends a 600 calorie per day deficit for sustainable weight loss. They also suggest diets that reduce the amount of calories consumed by lowering the fat content of your meals.

What works best for you might look different from the above, and that’s okay. The most important thing is that you’re getting all the essential nutrients you need and are eating foods that nourish your body.  

Remember that diets which are too restrictive and not nutritionally balanced do more harm than good. For one, they don’t work because they aren’t sustainable, but they can also encourage unhealthy attitudes and behaviours around food. If the idea of making changes to your diet makes you stressed or nervous, ask your healthcare provider for advice.  

Beyond the above, it’s a good idea to follow general advice for eating a healthy, balanced diet. Our weight loss programme combines weight loss medication with weekly advice from a dietician to help you figure out what that looks like for you—and to build habits that last. Check your eligibility by filling out this short form.

But to give you an idea, UK clinical guidance suggests eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, having moderate amounts of dairy products and protein-rich foods like meat and eggs, and reducing consumption of foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.  

Can diet help with Ozempic side effects?  

It might. Because of how Ozempic works to slow the movement of food through the stomach, it can bring on a range of gut symptoms like nausea, diarrhoea, heartburn, and constipation. Certain foods might offer some relief.  

But in any case, side effects from Ozempic tend to be mild or moderate and go away on their own.

Eating foods that have ginger in them could help with nausea, which is one of the most common symptoms of Ozempic. It might also help to relieve stomach pain.  

Foods lower in fibre

If you have diarrhoea, eating foods that are lower in fibre like white bread might help make your stool firmer and be gentler on your bowels.  

Keeping up your fluids  

Drinking enough fluids is a good idea for your health anyway, but it can be especially important if your Ozempic side effects—like vomiting or diarrhoea—have made you dehydrated.  

Stick to water and squash, taking small sips if you’re feeling sick. Avoid alcohol, fizzy drinks, and caffeine.  

Bland foods

Bland foods, like white bread, are also generally a good option for an upset stomach as they’re easier to digest. These foods tend to have a soft texture, are low in fibre, aren’t spicy, and are gentle on the gut.  

What foods should I avoid when taking Ozempic?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for what you shouldn’t eat on Ozempic, but some foods might make it harder to lose weight or intensify the drug’s side effects.  

High-fat, greasy foods

Greasy foods tend to be high in fat and calories, and often they’re high in salt, too. Think pizza, burgers, and crisps.  

They’re not recommended as part of a healthy diet aimed at supporting weight loss and can also make people taking Ozempic feel sick. Eating meals high in fat has been shown to cause nausea in people with slowed emptying of the stomach.  Plus, eating too much greasy food can make you bloated and gassy, which are also both side effects of Ozempic.  

Foods with a high glycaemic index (GI)

Your body breaks down the food you eat into sugar (glucose) so it can be used as fuel. But some foods are broken down faster than others—and this can cause your blood sugar to rise quickly. These foods are said to have a high GI.

High GI foods are generally those high in added sugar or that have refined grains, which means that all the fibre and nutrients have been stripped out of the grain during the manufacturing process. They’re also sometimes called simple carbohydrates or simple sugars. Some foods that fall into this group are sugary, fizzy drinks, white bread, pastries, and sweets.  

Earlier, we explained how Ozempic stimulates the release of insulin after you eat, which helps the body absorb sugar from the food we eat so it can be used as energy. This also keeps our blood sugar (glucose) under control, which can help to support weight loss.  

When blood sugar is too high (beyond what your body needs for energy) even more insulin is released—and the body can take this as a sign to store the excess sugar as fat. This can work against your efforts and make it harder to lose weight. On the other hand, foods with natural sugars, like fruits and vegetables, and carbohydrates made with whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet. These also tend to be digested more slowly, meaning that your blood sugar will rise gradually rather than spike, and usually have other health benefits like containing fibre and essential vitamins.

Large portions

Ozempic works by making you feel full, which means that you can feel perfectly satisfied from smaller portions than you’re used to. Eating bigger plates, even if they’re the same meals you had before starting Ozempic, might make you feel uncomfortable or queasy, like you’ve overeaten.  

And because the gut can take longer to empty when taking Ozempic, eating smaller meals can also help to reduce the pressure on the stomach—which can make you feel less bloated and help with symptoms like feeling sick.  

Making healthy diet changes on Ozempic

Working towards your health goals isn’t a race: it takes time and patience, but the prize is well worth it. To get there, you need to build healthy, lasting habits around your diet.  

But you don’t have to do it alone. Our weight loss programme combines a repeat private prescription for weight loss medication with regular check-ins and weekly advice from a dietician. We’ll be with you every step of the way, cheering you on and sharing in your success.  

In fact, studies have shown that people tend to lose more weight when they have access to both weight loss medication and the support they need to help them make healthy lifestyle changes.

Fill out this short form to check your eligibility for the programme—it takes less than five minutes. Ozempic may be suitable for people who have a BMI of 30 or more (or 27 or higher for those from certain ethnic backgrounds) and who have at least one other health problem related to their weight.  

People who are pregnant and breastfeeding, or who have type 1 diabetes, shouldn’t take Ozempic. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you have a history of issues with your kidney, thyroid, or pancreas before taking weight loss medication.  

There have been some reports of people having thoughts of self-harm and suicide since taking semaglutide drugs. If you experience this, contact your healthcare provider right away.  

Sometimes, the first step in making a change feels like the hardest. But through our weight loss programme, we’re here to make your weight loss journey as smooth and sustainable as possible. Check your eligibility right now by filling out this short form—we’ll be in touch to sort the rest.