Weight loss injections like Ozempic® and Mounjaro® are getting a lot of attention right now, and the list of celebrities who are publicly admitting to using them seems to be increasing every day. The consensus seems to be that they lead to effortless weight loss, but what’s the catch?
These are FDA approved drugs and can be used safely for conditions like obesity and diabetes—under a doctor’s supervision, of course. But there are some things that you should talk through with your doctor before making the decision to try these medications.
Here are some things to consider.
This is not intended to offer or replace medical advice. Instead, this article highlights information that may help to inform the conversation with your doctor about whether these medications make sense for you.
Potential for nutrient deficiencies
One way that these drugs work is by reducing appetite. It can feel like your body is refusing food, even if you want to eat more or you know you should eat more. In some cases, the reduction in appetite may become so extreme that you’re not eating enough to meet your nutritional requirements. In the short-term, it might be okay, but over time your body may not function as optimally as it could.
You’re less hungry on Ozempic or Mounjaro in part because they slow digestion. But, this could come with the range of effects that slowed digestion brings along: heartburn, gas, abdominal discomfort, bloating, constipation, etc. It’s a good idea to work with your doctor or dietician on fiber targets to keep your digestive discomfort in check.
Possible loss of muscle mass
If it’s hard to eat enough and your digestion is slowed, it could be extra difficult to meet your protein requirements. Protein digests more slowly than carbohydrates and makes you feel full, so when all of these mechanisms are slowed down, you could have a hard time meeting protein requirements. Over time, this could lead to loss of muscle mass, which could lead to an increase in falls and fractures.
Some people approach this issue with hydrolyzed protein powders or amino acid supplements, which are proteins broken down into their building blocks.
If you’re going to try weight loss injections, work with your doctor or dietician on strategies to
meet your nutritional needs.
Rebound weight gain
It’s a common experience that people who come off of weight loss injections gain the weight back, and in some cases gain back more than they lost.
These drugs are intended to improve insulin sensitivity, and if it was effective, you may find that after you’ve stopped the medication, you go back in the direction where you started.
Talk to your doctor or dietician about the balance of protein, fat, and fiber that will help keep your insulin from the ups and downs that come with starting and stopping these types of drugs.
Question: have you tried going sugar free?
Ozempic and Mounjaro are strong drugs and they do come with risks—risks that can be mitigated by working with your doctor—but risks nonetheless. Before going that route, have you considered going sugar-free for a few months and seeing how your body settles into that? For some people, it may be enough to hit the reset button on your blood sugar and kickstart your weight loss.
Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of all of your options, and after an informed discussion, together you can make the best decision for your unique circumstance.
- Ida S, Kaneko R, Imataka K, et al. Effects of Antidiabetic Drugs on Muscle Mass in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Curr Diabetes Rev. 2021;17(3):293-303. doi:10.2174/1573399816666200705210006
- Blum, D. An Extreme Risk of Taking Ozempic: Malnutrition. New York Times, April 21, 2023. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/21/well/eat/ozempic-side-effects-malnutrition.html