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If you are considering Semaglutide, read this!

With the HUGE buzz about Ozempic (AKA Semaglutide, GLP-1 receptor agonist medications), I want to make sure that you have accurate information.

I am a Registered Dietitian and health coach so you can imagine what my gut instinct is saying (stay away).  BUT to be fair, I am trying to be open minded and fully research this class of medication, because it’s new to all of us and people are getting results.

Beware – Be cautious – Do your homework!

You need to know these facts when considering Semaglutide!   Obesity in the US is above 40%!  With this alarming stat and all the health concerns that go all with obesity, pharmaceutical companies are working hard and fast to create new weight loss drugs.  It’s obviously a HUGE money market so please do your research.

No long term data!  In 2017, the drug, Semaglutide, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.  In 2021, the same drug was approved, at a higher dosage, for the treatment of obesity.  For weight loss (at the higher dose), this class of medication is brand new and we know very little about long-term effects.

Already, there are many reported side effects: Stomach issues (diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting), Dehydration (dry mouth, headaches), Gallbladder problems (severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever), Heart palpitations (rapid or irregular heartbeat), Kidney injury (decrease in urine, swelling in feet and hands), Pancreatitis (severe stomach pain that spreads to back, fever, nausea, vomiting), Thyroid Cancer (new mass in neck, trouble swallowing or breathing).

Do you need to be on these drugs forever?  The research is clearly saying YES.  When the medication is discontinued, appetite will increase quickly, blood sugar levels will rise, and most likely, the weight will come back on (especially if healthy lifestyle habits were not implemented).

It’s expensive!  Not all insurance covers Ozempic or Wegovy or may vary in the amount it covers. Out of pocket costs are around $1000 per month depending on the pharmacy.

Beware of generic drug options of Semaglutide!  With shortages and high prices for these meds, the FDA allows for “drug equivalents” to be made by compounding pharmacies without FDA approval or screening. When you see a discounted Ozempic or Wegovy from compounding pharmacies, it most likely is not Semaglutide and can actually be hazardous!  Big weight loss companies, such as Weight Watchers, have been buying up some of these compounding pharmacies to add these drugs into their program offerings. If you are considering taking Semaglutide drugs, please make sure they are coming from Novo Nordisk or Eli Lilley and are not a “generic” form.

What is Semaglutide? How does it work?
Semaglutide, pronounced by the medical community as Suh-MAG-gla-tyde, is a once a week injectable drug in a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. It mimics the GLP-1 hormone in the body that is released in the gastrointestinal tract in response to eating.

Medications in this category include Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, Trulicity, Victoza, and Saxenda.  These drugs are GLP-1 (or combined GIP/GLP-1) receptor agonists.

💊One role of GLP-1 is to prompt the body to produce more insulin, which reduces blood glucose (sugar).  

💊GLP-1 in higher amounts also interacts with the parts of the brain that reduce appetite and signal a feeling of fullness.  

💊GLP-1 also affects the gastrointestinal tract by slowing down the movement of food through the gut, making you feel full longer.  

3 BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS (whether you decide to take Semaglutide or not)
Human GLP-1 and GIP are hormones and part of the body’s incretin system, which regulates blood sugar, appetite, fullness, and cravings. They are amazing hormones which many people are lacking.

Human GLP-1 is produced in the intestines in response to food intake (especially carbs and fat).  

💡Takeaway #1 – If you skimp on the carbs (low-carb diet), you will not make as many of these hormones that aid in weight loss.

The fact that GLP-1 is made in the intestines means that production is directly linked to digestion.  

💡Takeaway #2 – If your digestion is off (you suffer from bloat, gas, bowel troubles or reflux), then this may be the main reason why you are deficient in GLP-1 and struggle with weight.  Good news is that you can increase your natural production on GLP-1 by improving your digestion with practical lifestyle habits.

P.S. – If you struggle with digestion and go on this medication, it’s important to know that you will be more likely to experience exacerbated GI symptoms on Semaglutide.  AND if you discontinue the drug without healing the gut, you will never make enough GLP-1 hormone and will always struggle with weight.

In clinical studies, average weight loss was 10%-15% of body weight in participants that used Semaglutide (in conjunction with behavior change strategies) versus 3% reduction of body weight with Placebo.

To be real, only 5% of body weight loss is expected in real-world use.

💡Takeaway #3 – In order to see profound results on Semaglutide, lifestyle behavior modifications of diet, exercise and stress reduction are absolutely essential.  This includes optimization of digestion, detoxification, hydration, balanced nutrition and physical activity to prevent lean muscle mass loss.  

P.S. – If you are on this class of medication and discontinue at some point, the only way to sustain some level of weight maintenance is through these healthy habits and metabolic strategies.  Otherwise, the weight will come back on because you will still be deficient in GLP-1 hormone.

If you’d like to learn more about how other diet strategies (like keto and intermittent fasting) affect the metabolism, then I’m excited to teach you how to heal your metabolism with real-life solutions.

What you should do next …

Register for my Nutrition Class: 3 Realistic Solutions to Rev Your Metabolism so you can Drop Weight Naturally Without Deprivation. And after class, you will receive a gift (My Favorite Balanced Breakfast Recipe Book). I recommend you register early; spaces are limited! 

Sign-up for my 3-Day Eating Reset: Tame your sugar cravings without feeling deprived. You will receive my step-by-step guide to stabilize your blood sugar with a done-for-you menu plan, simple recipes, and shopping list.

Schedule a FREE Metabolism Mastery Call: This is a no pressure phone conversation with our health coaches.  Let’s dive into your specific challenges and goals to figure out what next steps are best for you.


About the Author

Hello, I’m Betsy Markle.  I’m a Registered Dietitian and Holistic Nutritionist with over 20 years of experience. Living a busy life with 3 kids and a passionate career, I understand the importance of realistic nutrition, exercise, and balanced living.

Women tend to put the needs of everyone else before their own. My passion is to empower women to create a healthy lifestyle that they love and can stick with forever.

Here at Sunshine Wellness, we are proud to help women lose weight effortlessly, overcome cravings, and revive energy so they can heal their metabolism, ditch the diet mentality, and love their bodies.

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