Considering Ozempic? Breaking down GLP-1 Weight Loss Medications

Are you considering taking the weight loss medication Ozempic? Then join Sports Dietician Amber Velasquez and Coach Crystal in this informative episode to understand the facts behind it!

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Crystal O'Keefe: Welcome to the MetPro Method Podcast. I am your host, Crystal O'Keefe. Today I am joined by MetPro Coach Amber Velasquez, and today we are discussing the Diet Drugs Mounjaro and Ozempic. Amber, thank you so much for being here today.

Amber Velasquez: Hi Crystal. Thanks so much for having me. I'm really excited to talk about this.

Crystal O'Keefe: I am too. It is quite the hot button topic. So, tell me a little bit about what you do every day so we can talk through why it's important to talk through these diet drugs.

Amber Velasquez: Yeah, so I'm a registered dietician. I'm also a licensed dietician in the state of Florida, and what I do is I help people.

Navigate their health and nutrition, so they can make the best decisions for themselves. And sometimes it does come down to deciding if drugs for weight loss are the best choice of action.

Crystal O'Keefe: I know it seems like every few years there's a new diet drug that hits the market and gets everybody all excited.

So yes. So what are these drugs, what are these specifically?

Amber Velasquez: Yeah, so Ozempic and Mounjaro, they're part of the drug class. They're called glucagon-like peptide receptor agonist, so GLP-1 agonist. They were originally created to help type two diabetics control their blood sugar. Along with diet and exercise.

Okay. Keyword along with diet and exercise. And so they're both administered as injections once a week, patients can give themselves the injections. It's typically done in the abdomen or like the thigh, and they were mainly approved for weight loss, specifically for people with a BMI of 27 or higher and have at least one weight related medical conditions.

So, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.

Crystal O'Keefe: So originally these were not just designed quote unquote just to lose weight.

Amber Velasquez: Correct. They were recently approved for weight loss, I believe in 2021. So, it's been pretty recent, but yes, it was originally created for those diabetic patients.

Crystal O'Keefe: So, if they, okay, so if they're made for diabetic patients, then how exactly do these drugs work?
Like what are they doing inside of your body?

Amber Velasquez: Yeah, great question. So, in the body we have a natural hormone called GLP-1, and this helps our bodies control blood sugar in diabetics that is kind of, uh, modified where it does not work as well. So GLP-1 is typically released by our intestines in response to food intake, and so that helps us regulate blood sugar levels.

By stimulating the secretion of insulin, it slows down the absorption of glucose in the gut, and it also reduces the production of glucose by the liver. So, in diabetics, all of that is kind of mangled up where it doesn't work as properly as it should. So, the medication binds to the GLP-1 receptor, and this activates them to act in the same way that the GLP-1 hormone is supposed to act.

And so, the GLP-1 receptors are actually proteins that are found in the pancreas and neurons on the brain. So here, just in simpler terms, the GLP-1 receptor mimics the GLP-1 hormone.

Crystal O'Keefe: Okay, so in other words, you're taking a drug to do something that your body is designed to do for diabetics.

It's not doing, um, or at least not doing to its full capacity. So yes. Okay. Now, what are the benefits of it for a person who's not necessarily diabetic but is in that obese category, they're hitting that BMI of 27 or more. What are these drugs doing for them if their hormones are working properly already?

Amber Velasquez:: Right. So it still acts in the same way. It helps those hormone. React a little bit better. Um, so they have been shown to promote weight loss because it decreases their appetite and it slows down the gastric emptying so they're not as hungry. And then when they do eat, It digests more slowly so that they stay full longer.

So yes, it still acts in the same way and it can reduce weight loss because they're not consuming as many calories.

Crystal O'Keefe: Okay. All right. Now I have seen this everywhere. It's been on the news, all the, both of these drugs, they've been everywhere. Why are people having so much trouble finding them and being able to actually get these prescriptions filled?

Amber Velasquez: Yeah, so there were a lot of shortages on the medications. And then when the Covid pandemic hit, it really disrupted the supply chain and the manufacturing operations. And so many insurances will not cover either of these medications as well. So, they'll either require their clients to try other medications first, um, and then it's also hard to get because they're really expensive.

So, the average monthly cost of Ozempic is 900 to a thousand dollars a month. That's without insurance. Um, and then Mounjaro is even a little bit more, it can get up to $1,500 a month without insurance. Whoa. And so it also was really hard for people to find as well, because people that weren't diabetic were purchasing these medications.

Um, and the issue with that is the people that really need it for their diabetic management, they were having a hard time finding it because people were getting it just for weight loss.

Crystal O'Keefe: Yeah. That's super not good. Yikes. Yeah. Are there side effects? either category you're in, if you're taking this and it's a weight loss medication, or you're taking this and you're diabetic and you're taking it for weight loss?

Amber Velasquez: Yes. There are actually quite a few side effects and it's very common to experience the side effects. So typically you'll, you'll see nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, um, loss of appetite, headaches, dizziness, fatigue. Um, you can even have injection site reactions. So, infections.

Oh, redness, swelling. Um, and I personally was just recently working with a client who. He was a doctor himself and was taking this for weight loss specifically. He was non-diabetic, but he experienced pretty much every single one of those side effects after about a month of taking it. And him and I came to the conclusion that that was not beneficial for him.

So I think it's really important that people really seek out advice from their doctor or a dietician and really weigh out the pros and cons. are the pros more beneficial than the side effects that can come along with it?

Crystal O'Keefe: Yeah. And so, if that makes sense. It totally makes sense. Do we know if there's like a timeframe on that?

So, for example, you start taking a medication, sometimes it's like, oh, I have to get used to, my body has to get used to it. It might take a couple days. This sounds like this went on for a while for the client you were working with.

Do you know if in general these side effects have like a certain timeframe or this is just an ongoing side effect?

Amber Velasquez:: It seems to be pretty ongoing, like from the moment he started taking it. So, after his first injection, he started experiencing the side effects that first week, and then they just continued. He tried to push through because it was helping him lose weight, but he felt terrible. Hmm. And I was like, okay, let's really think about this.

Like, do you want to feel good and I can help you with your nutrition and exercise, or do you want to keep feeling this way and just not feeling yourself? He was having a hard time performing at work. He was having to call out sick because he had nausea and vomiting. He couldn't get out of bed some days.

So, it's really important to really weigh out all side effects, all the pros and cons, and really determine if that is really beneficial for you.

Crystal O'Keefe: And what happens when you stop taking them. Do we know? Has there even been enough research done?

Amber Velasquez: There hasn't really been enough research. There are a few studies that show once diabetics stop taking it, their blood sugar levels may increase and the symptoms of diabetes kind of return.

Um, and then for people taking it for weight loss, once they stop taking it, their appetite returns. And so that just leads to an increase in calorie intake. Um, , but at the same time, it's been shown that their appetite increases, but their gastric emptying remains slow. So, in that case, they're eating a lot more, not being able to digest it very well.
So it leads to a lot of other GI issues as well. Um, and then it's also been shown that most people that come off of those medications experience two thirds to a hundred percent or more of that weight regain.

Crystal O'Keefe: So to be effective, you're looking at being on this for forever or, um, being very prepared for that and having something in place to keep you from regaining the weight.

I don't know what that would look like, but something.

Amber Velasquez: Yeah, exactly. And so that's why it's super important. Even, you know, when the FDA approved it, it says in combination of diet and exercise. Without those, I mean, yeah, you're definitely looking at regaining that weight. And to be honest, diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes are really the only proven method to keep sustainable weight loss off.

Crystal O'Keefe: Yeah. And, um, you know, I just got done recording, uh, a four-part series with Angelo, uh, where he talked about all of these, the different research things that Met Pro has done. Like we've, he looked at a whole bunch of different research to talk about like, what does calorie restriction do to weight loss?

What does, um, carbohydrate restriction do? Uh, what does exercise do without any other type of intervention? And, and when you look at each one of those things by themselves, none of them work by themselves. You have to have other things at play. And that's why where the, the key phrase that you just said, diet and exercise come into play.

And, and when you say diet and exercise, some people might be hearing, restrict, restrict, restrict, but you don't mean that. You mean a healthy diet.

Amber Velasquez: Absolute restriction will initially produce weight loss, just like any, any diet will, but restriction isn't going to give you sustainable weight loss. You have to find a way to maintain those healthy habits, eat a sustainable amount where you're not feeling deprived.

If you feel restricted, the chances of you sticking with that diet are very slim.

Crystal O'Keefe: That makes perfect sense. All right. Uh, well, my personal opinion is this drug sounds scary this is my personal opinion, my anecdotal feeling on this is as I have heard all, um, diet drugs throughout my lifetime, there has always been about five to 10 years later something that comes up and says, oh gosh, we had a problem with X, Y, Z.

I hope that that is not the case for people that are taking Ozempic. Is there anything else that we should make sure that listeners know about Ozempic and Mounjaro?

Amber Velasquez: Yeah. I would say the biggest thing to take into consideration is that these drugs, along with any other drugs they're not magic pills, they're not quick fixes to weight loss.

They may produce weight loss initially, but you have to look at the long-term effects. Um, without diet and exercise and lifestyle changes in general, nothing will be sustainable. Um, and so that's what we really work on educating here at MetPro is it's all about building those healthy, consistent habits that you can do long-term.

That's why we don't restrict, we allow you to eat more food and still accomplish your goals because that's sustainable and that's what's going to get you those long-term benefits.

Crystal O'Keefe: Absolutely. Amber, I really appreciate you walking through all of this.

Um, there's a lot of, a lot of noise coming from the world about these drugs right now. So, I think that it's good to get to the root of it. So, thank you again.

Amber Velasquez: Yeah, of course. Thanks for having me. I’m really happy to educate on these things. because no offense to medical professionals that prescribe these drugs, but they don't always educate the clients what they're actually getting into.

So, it's really important to hear. Um, a dietician's perspective on it.

Crystal O'Keefe: Absolutely. I totally agree. Well, listeners, that's all for this week. You can find all the MetPro Method episodes anywhere you get podcasts, or you can go to Please be sure to follow the show and rate and review that lets other people know what they can expect.

You can also learn more about MetPro at I'm your host, Crystal O'Keefe, and I will be back next week. Until then, remember, consistency is key.

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