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20 Things to Avoid While on Ozempic

These things could impact your Ozempic experience.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Ozempic can be highly effective for weight loss, but there are definitely some unpleasant side effects to contend with, as the makers of the drug, Novo Nordisk, warn about. Nausea, constipation, and stomach pain are common, but avoiding certain foods and behaviors can make a difference. Here are 20 things to avoid while on Ozempic to make the most of the medication and encourage healthy weight loss.

Too Much Sugar

Different sugar on dark table

Added sugars and sugary sodas can spike blood sugar. Novo Nordisk, the maker of Ozempic and Wegovy, recommends that people avoid sugary foods while on the drug. "If you are taking medication to lower your sugar levels, it is advisable to avoid excess sugar consumption," Dr. Dina Peralta-Reich, MD, FAAP, FOMA, tells Parade. "Failure to watch what you eat and keep your sugar levels elevated may prevent you from seeing the intended results of the medication," she shares."

Ultra-Processed Foods


Ultra-processed foods can make the side effects of Ozempic worse. "This medication slows down gastric emptying and the dense food will move much slower through your intestines, which can make you feel sick [and experience] nausea, vomiting, reflux and abdominal pain," says Dr. Peralta-Reich. "Someone may not see the results they're looking for either."

High-Fat Foods

Symbol of a public toilet

Foods high in saturated and trans fats can make side effects of Ozempic worse. Some people complain of diarrhea and stomach pains. "I've seen an almost dumping syndrome-like response in people taking GLP-1s when they eat simple carbohydrates and high-fat foods," Dr. Shauna Levy, a specialist in obesity medicine and medical director of the Tulane Bariatric and Weight Loss Center in New Orleans, tells TODAY.

RELATED: 20 Incredible Ozempic Success Stories of All Time

Sitting All Day

Female office worker in glasses rubbing tired eyes, exhausted from overworking, sitting at workplace in office.

Staying active is important while on Ozempic. Regular exercise is not only important for health, it can prevent muscle loss. The goal should be fat loss, and getting strong.

Not Hydrating

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Don't forget to drink your water and stay hydrated. Drinking water can help with side effects of Ozempic, especially nausea. recommends drinking clear or ice-cold drinks to combat any nausea and discomfort.

Too Much Alcohol

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Avoid alcohol on Ozempic, experts advice. "One, it's just empty calories. Two, it tends to make people make decisions that they otherwise might not make," says Dr. Levy. "It could increase hunger, and the whole point of GLP-1s, or at least one of the points, is to decrease hunger. So it sort of negates their purpose."

Be Mindful of Portions

Healthy diet plan for weight loss, daily ready meal menu. Close up Woman weighing lunch box cooked in advance,ready to eat on kitchen scale. Balanced portion with healthy dish. Pre-cooking concept

Ozempic keeps food in the stomach longer, so bigger portions can cause discomfort. "Understanding that overall portions are smaller on these medications, we want to optimize nutritional intake and consume the 'best' calories available," obesity medicine physician Dr. Christopher McGowan tells TODAY. "The focus should be on lean protein, healthy fruits and vegetables, adequate fiber and adequate fluid intake."

RELATED: 20 Things You Need to Know About Ozempic and Weight Loss

Be Mindful of Coffee


"Overall, coffee is perfectly fine to consume, but for some individuals can lead to stomach irritation," says Dr. McGowan. "Therefore, I recommend drinking coffee in moderation, such as one to two cups a day. Patients should also be mindful of calorie-dense additives, like cream and sugar."

Don't Skip Meals

Unhappy Woman refusing to Eat her Pizza Dish in a Restaurant. Disgruntled customer not liking the meal sending it back

It's easy to skip meals when on Ozempic, but make sure you're getting enough nutrition. Some people have even become malnourished as a result of not eating. ​​ "It's never healthy to not eat," Dr. Janice Jin Hwang, the division chief of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine tells the New York Times.

Don't Consider It a Quick Fix

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Ozempic should be part of a long-term health plan. "It's important to note that if you start taking either of these drugs for weight loss, your body may get used to it, establishing a new normal," says UC Davis Health. This can cause your weight to plateau. Research has shown that if you stop taking Ozempic (or Wegovy), it's likely that you will gain back the weight you lost.

Same Unhealthy Lifestyle

Bartender pours alcoholic drink into small glasses on bar

Don't continue an unhealthy diet and assume it's ok because of Ozempic. "You can likely lose weight on semaglutide medications without changing your diet and activity behaviors, but these lifestyle changes will make the treatment more effective," Richard Siegel, MD, tells the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. "Also, we don't know if weight loss will have the same health benefits if one does not change their behaviors."

RELATED: What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Taking Ozempic

Protect Your Health

Montreal, CA - 16 November 2023: Ozempic semaglutide injection pens. Ozempic is a medication for obesity

Some doctors warn that taking Ozempic can make people complacent about their health. "It is important to remember that obesity is heterogenous, chronic and complex," Vijaya Surampudi, MD, physician nutrition specialist and assistant director of the UCLA Weight Management Program (RFO), tells UCLA Health. "There is no cure for obesity. It requires lifelong treatment that's not one size fits all."

Carbonated Beverages


Ozempic slows down digestion, keeping food in your stomach for longer. This causes a feeling of fullness and some unpleasant side effects for some people like belching. Stick to still water as carbonated beverages can make stomach issues worse.

Long-Term Goals

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If you plan on only taking Ozempic or Wegovy for a short while, it's likely your weight will come back on. "In one trial of Wegovy, people regained about two-thirds of the weight lost within a year of stopping the drug," Dr. Siegel explains. "Lifestyle changes can help maintain weight loss, but it's unusual to maintain all weight loss once you stop any weight loss medication."

Refined Carbohydrates


Refined carbohydrates tend to spike blood sugar, which is exactly what Ozempic is meant to treat. You don't have to cut these foods out entirely, but be aware it makes it harder for Ozempic to do its job. "Foods like white bread, white rice, crackers, or even cereals may seem like better choices than foods with added sugar, but refined carbohydrates still metabolize as glucose in the body," Christine Fallabel, MPH, tells Diabetes Strong.

RELATED: 10 Side Effects of Rapid Weight Loss

Watch Out For High Fiber

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While many green vegetables are low GI, be careful about the fiber. "If you're not used to eating a lot of vegetables, you may experience side effects such as bloating and gas, until your body has acclimated to eating a more fiber-filled diet," Fallabel says.

Junk Food


Junk food—which you should be avoiding either way for weight loss purposes—often contains high levels of sodium. "Ultra-processed foods are high in sodium, saturated fats and added sugars, which contribute to a range of health problems," Elizabeth Ko, MD, and Eve Glazier, MD, tell UCLA Health. These include an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lowered immune response, certain cancers, dementia and early death."

Spicy Foods

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Ozempic can cause acid reflux due to slow digestion. Spicy foods can make acid reflux worse, experts warn. However, if acid reflux is not an issue, people can probably enjoy spicy foods if they wish.

Always See a Medical Professional

GDANSK, POLAND - MAY 2022: obese fat man preparing Semaglutide Ozempic injection control blood sugar levels

Ozempic should only be prescribed by a medical professional. "Typically, I prescribe Ozempic for diabetes and have more often prescribed Wegovy for weight loss," endocrinologist Alyssa Dominguez, MD, tells Keck Medicine. "I have used Ozempic, sometimes, off-label for weight loss, though getting insurance approval for that can be challenging."

RELATED: 12 Tips to Maintain Weight Loss After Using Ozempic and GLP-1 Medications

Fried Foods

French fries in hot fat in a deep fryer

Fried, greasy foods can make Ozempic stomach issues worse. "Foods high in fat can make digestive side effects worse. Since food hangs around longer in the stomach, it has more time to cause problems," Sarah Bullard, MS, RD, LD, tells Signos. "Some studies have shown that consuming too much fat can increase symptoms of fullness, nausea, and bloating in individuals with digestive issues and heartburn. Reducing fat intake resolved symptoms."

💪🔥Body Booster: A whole foods Mediterranean diet is ideal while taking Ozempic.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more