- Stephanie Thomson
Reasons to see a registered dietitian while taking Ozempic, Wegovy (Semaglutide) or Mounjaro
These medications so popular right now, and a huge, potentially lifesaving, help to those who need them to jumpstart weight loss to prevent an obesity related disease such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as many cancers and arthritis. (For this article, I'm only talking about weight loss and not if you already have type 2 diabetes.)
The way they work is by acting similar to a hormone in our body called GLP-1. This hormone, and these drugs, slow down food absorption in the stomach so you feel fuller longer, regulate insulin and blood sugar, reduce inflammation and signal to your brain that you're full. Mounjaro (tirzepitide) is a GLP-1 agonist, as well as a GIP agonist. This combined with GLP-1 makes it even more effective at decreasing appetite and promoting weight loss. Put in more simple terms, these drugs are making it easy to stay in a calorie deficit, because the people taking them don't feel hungry and aren't having food cravings for less healthy foods. This makes it important to see a registered dietitian while taking Ozempic, Wegovy or Mounjaro.
If you're taking one of these medications for weight loss there are some important things to consider. First off, make sure that you're getting the medication from a qualified medical doctor. There are now medi spas offering unregulated, compounded versions of the medication. A qualified doctor will monitor your health while you're on the medication. Research is suggesting that while there is a loss of fat mass, there is also a lot of muscle mass lost. This makes sense, as it's what happens when going on a low calorie fad diet that induces rapid weight loss. If you can, it's a good idea to get a body composition measurement so you can monitor your percentage of fat and muscle loss. It's critical that you're meeting your increased protein needs and doing some resistance exercise that is safe for you to preserve as much muscle as possible. It's also important that you're getting adequate calories and quality nutrition to maintain health. There are some patients taking the medication that have no appetite at all. The medications can also make your sense of thirst less noticeable so it's very important to make sure you're staying well hydrated. Think pale lemonade colored urine. Working together with a registered dietitian can help ensure that you're nourishing your body, and help you find high quality foods to eat, as well as help you to develop healthy lifestyle habits in general. This is important for when you're weaned off the medication so you don't go back to the habits you had prior to the drug. You may need to stay on the medication indefinitely to sustain your results, but that will be discussed with your physician.
The bottom line, as much as these medicines can help people that have struggled with obesity for so long, losing weight takes commitment and consistency, and there are no short cuts. It's still important to nourish your body in a healthy way and have an overall healthy lifestyle. Dietitians can help you get and stay on the right track.