Pros and Cons of Ozempic for Weight Loss According to a Dietitian

ozempic pros and cons

Ozempic is a popular topic in weight loss discussions, so I’ve put together a list of the pros and cons of ozempic for weight loss to consider before making a decision.

In the quest for weight loss, individuals often seek various avenues to aid their journey. One option gaining a lot of attention is semaglutide, better known as Ozempic. 

As a registered dietitian passionate about fostering healthy relationships with food and sustainable weight loss, I understand the curiosity surrounding this medication. However, it isn’t something to jump into blindly. 

In this article, we’ll dive into what Ozempic is, its pros and cons for weight loss, and why building new habits remains my top recommendation for achieving long-term success.

What is Ozempic?

You’ve likely seen ozempic advertised on TV and credited by some celebrities for their weight loss achievements. Ozempic, scientifically known as semaglutide, is a medication approved by the FDA for treating type 2 diabetes and, more recently, for weight management. It belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. 

How Does Ozempic Work for Weight Loss?

Ozempic works for weight loss by mimicking the action of a hormone called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1). GLP-1 helps regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin release, reducing glucagon secretion (which decreases blood sugar), and slowing down stomach emptying. This can lead to feelings of fullness and reduced appetite. 

By activating GLP-1 receptors, Ozempic can help control appetite and food intake, leading to weight loss over time. Additionally, Ozempic may also have effects on the brain’s reward system, reducing cravings and promoting healthier eating habits.

Pros of Ozempic for Weight Loss

Here are 3 pros of ozempic to keep in mind.

1. Effective Weight Loss

Clinical trials have shown that Ozempic can lead to significant weight loss when combined with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. However, many outcomes are dose-dependent and longer term studies are needed.

What the Science Says

A systematic review and meta-analysis analyzed eight randomized controlled trials involving 4,567 patients. Semaglutide was found to induce significant weight loss compared to placebo, along with reductions in body mass index and waist circumference. 

It also showed positive effects on blood pressure, C-reactive protein, and lipid profiles, but led to more adverse effects, mainly gastrointestinal reactions. The results suggest that semaglutide can lead to significant weight loss with acceptable safety in this patient population. 

In a retrospective cohort study with 175 people, ozempic was shown to help weight loss efforts after 3 and 6 months. However, long-term effects and weight loss maintenance was not examined.

2. Blood Sugar Control

As mentioned before, Ozempic contains semaglutide, which aids in blood sugar control by mimicking a hormone that regulates insulin release and inhibits glucagon secretion. By stimulating insulin production and slowing down stomach emptying, Ozempic helps lower blood sugar levels after meals and improves insulin sensitivity. 

Its mechanism of action helps individuals with diabetes maintain better control over their blood sugar levels, and significantly reduced HbA1c.

3. Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Events

Some studies suggest that Ozempic may lower the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, in people with preexisting heart disease and who are overweight or obese.

Cons of Ozempic for Weight Loss

Here are 3 cons of ozempic to keep in mind.

1. Side Effects

Like any medication, Ozempic may cause side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. These side effects are usually mild and tend to improve over time. Age and body weight, but not sex, were linked to increased risk of gastrointestinal adverse effects.

2. Cost

The cost of Ozempic (semaglutide) can vary depending on various factors such as your location, insurance coverage, dosage prescribed, and whether you’re using the brand-name or generic version. Generally, Ozempic tends to be more expensive than some other medications used for weight loss or diabetes management.

Without insurance, the average monthly cost of Ozempic can range from several hundred to over a thousand dollars. However, many insurance plans cover at least a portion of the cost of Ozempic, reducing the out-of-pocket expenses for patients. Some manufacturers also offer patient assistance programs or savings cards to help offset the cost of the medication.

3. Long-Term Safety

While short-term studies have shown promising results, the long-term safety and efficacy of Ozempic for weight loss are still being studied. Like any medication, long-term safety concerns may arise, particularly concerning potential adverse effects such as gastrointestinal issues, pancreatitis, thyroid tumors, and cardiovascular events. It’s essential to consider the potential risks before starting this medication.

Why You Are Not Losing Weight on Ozempic

You may have already tried ozempic, and have been asking yourself, “Why am I not losing weight on ozempic?” There are several factors that could be at play.

1. Dietary habits

Even with medication, weight loss often requires a combination of medication, diet, and exercise. If your diet is high in calories or unhealthy foods, it can counteract the weight loss effects of Ozempic.

2. Physical activity

Regular exercise is essential for weight loss. If you’re not engaging in enough physical activity, it may hinder your weight loss progress.

3. Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions or medications can interfere with weight loss efforts. It’s essential to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying issues.

4. Dosage

The effectiveness of Ozempic can vary depending on the dosage prescribed. If you’re not seeing results, your healthcare provider may consider adjusting your dosage.

5. Individual response

Everyone’s body responds differently to medications. While some people may experience significant weight loss with Ozempic, others may not see the same results.

The Importance of Building New Habits

While Ozempic can be a valuable tool for weight loss, it’s crucial to remember that it’s not a magic solution. There isn’t enough research yet about the long-term impact of ozempic on weight loss success. And if you take ozempic without changing your habits, your weight will bounce back like a tennis ball. You may even gain back the weight you lost, plus more.

Because of this, building new habits around nutrition, exercise, and mindset is essential for long-term success. That is why lifestyle modification is my recommended approach for weight loss. It’s the method that has worked with thousands of my clients, who now have a lifelong understanding of healthy habits to maintain their weight loss. My clean Kevin lost 185 pounds by carefully cutting down calories and changing habits.

Healthy Weight Loss Habits to Focus On 

lifestyle habits instead of ozempic for weight loss

So, what are the habits I recommend starting with? Here are some tips for incorporating healthy habits into your lifestyle.

1. Focus on Whole Foods

Emphasize nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. These foods provide essential nutrients and help keep you feeling satisfied.

2. Practice Mindful Eating

Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues, eat slowly, and savor each bite. Mindful eating can help prevent overeating and promote a healthier relationship with food.

3. Stay Active

Find physical activities you enjoy and make them a regular part of your routine. Whether it’s walking, dancing, or yoga, staying active is crucial for overall health and well-being.

4. Seek Support

Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or a healthcare team who can offer encouragement and accountability on your weight loss journey.

Final Thoughts: Pros and Cons of Ozempic for Weight Loss

In conclusion, Ozempic can be a valuable tool for weight loss, particularly for individuals struggling with obesity or type 2 diabetes. However, it’s essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons and understand that medication alone is not a substitute for healthy habits. 

By combining Ozempic with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and mindfulness practices, individuals can achieve sustainable weight loss and improve their overall well-being. However, my recommendation is to prioritize lifestyle change and attention to the nutrition component before considering a weight loss drug.

As a registered dietitian, I encourage my clients to approach weight loss as a journey towards better health, with the goal of fostering lifelong habits that support their long-term goals. I offer a custom 4-month weight loss program that over 3,000 clients have found success with. Schedule a free 20-minute call to discuss how we can work together to reach your goals.


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