***This article is for general informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease. The information in this article is not a substitute for medical care or advice provided by your healthcare team. Please consult your doctor or dietitian for specific, personalized treatment.***
First, let me just say as a dietitian, I do not typically tell people to avoid certain foods unless they’re allergic or intolerant to something or have celiac disease, an immune reaction to eating gluten. I believe and preach that all foods can fit into any lifestyle.
But, sometimes what and how you’re eating may prolong unpleasant side effects of certain medications. In this article, we’ll cover foods you may need to avoid and include while on Ozempic to make sure you’re getting the most benefit out of this medication.
For more detailed information on eating with diabetes, download my free handout, Basic Nutrition Info for Diabetes.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic, or semaglutide, is a once weekly injectable medication used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults. Your doctor may consider this drug for you as it helps lower A1c and protects your heart. It may even help you lose some weight, although it’s not a weight loss medication (1).
How does Ozempic work?
There are three ways Ozempic works.
First, it tells your pancreas to only release insulin when blood sugar is high. Some medications, like glipizide, tell your pancreas to release insulin no matter what, which can lead to low blood sugars.
Second, it tells your liver to quit making and releasing too much sugar between meals and overnight. If your blood sugars are already high, you just don’t need that extra sugar from your liver.
Finally, it slows down your digestion which makes you fuller faster.
Common side effects of Ozempic
Because Ozempic slows down your digestion, many of the common side effects involve your tummy such as (2):
- Stomach pain
How to make Ozempic work best for you
While the side effects aren’t pleasant, there are ways to prevent them or at least reduce their frequency. To make sure Ozempic works the best for you, try the following:
- Eat slowly
- Do not overeat
- Stop eating before you start to feel full
- Take Ozempic as prescribed and try not to miss doses
- Exercise or get in some joyful movement at least 30 minutes per day
- Try to avoid greasy, fatty foods
Ozempic foods to avoid
Remember how I said Ozempic slows down your digestion? Fat in food does the same thing. Ozempic + greasy, fatty foods = an extra slow digestive system which can make you feel yucky. Now, you may not be able to avoid fatty foods all the time but try limiting them as best as you can.
Foods that are considered fatty/greasy and you may want to avoid, especially if you have nausea while taking Ozempic include:
- Deep fat fried food (onion rings, french fries, cheese balls, donuts, fried chicken)
- Potato chips
- Ice cream
- Pork sausage links
Nausea relief while taking Ozempic
If you do consume the above foods or just experience nausea in general from taking Ozempic, here are some tips from the manufacturer for nausea relief:
- Eat bland, low-fat foods such as white bread, crackers, rice, and soup
- Do not lie down after eating
- Get in a bit of movement, even if it’s just stretching
- Drink clear, ice-cold drinks such as ice water
Eating for better blood sugars while on Ozempic
Finally, since we’ve discussed what foods to avoid, we’ll now cover what foods to include while taking Ozempic to better manage your diabetes.
We all could include more nutritious foods into our diets, but especially if you have a chronic disease like diabetes. Try looking for three main food categories next time you sit down for a meal/snack: carbs, fiber, and protein.
Carbs may include foods such as whole grains, fruits, starchy veggies, beans, and milk. Fiber can be found in many foods with carbs, but in this case, our focus is on low carb sources of fiber. These include non-starchy veggies, nuts, and seeds. Protein can come from meat, eggs, cheese, Greek yogurt, tofu, fish, and peanut or nut butter.
Combining carbs, fiber, and protein reduces post meal/snack blood sugar spikes, helps you feel fuller longer, and adds variety and nutrients to your food. A perfect food example of this is a sandwich. Aim for whole grain bread for carbs, non-starchy veggies for fiber, and your choice of lean protein and/or cheese for protein.
Ozempic provides great benefits like protecting your heart and lowering your A1c. You want to reap those benefits for as long as you can which means you’ll likely be taking this medication for a period of time.
Make sure you feel your best while improving your health with Ozempic by limiting/avoiding fatty, greasy foods, getting in daily movement, and incorporating more nutritious foods into your diet.
For a more detailed guide on eating with diabetes, download my free handout, Basic Nutrition Info for Diabetes.
Megan is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, and a Certified Insulin Pump Trainer. She has a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Iowa State University. She has had type 1 diabetes since she was 11 years old and has taught diabetes education for many years.