Every year there seems to be a new diet trend, medication, or magic pill that claims to have the answer to meet your weight loss goals – at least for a price.
In this article, we’d like to dive deeper into a new medication and how it stacks up to our methods here at MetPro.
That medication is semaglutide medications.
Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus are all semaglutide medications. Semaglutide medications are usually administered via weekly subcutaneous injections (Ozempic & Wegovy). Some do come in tablet form (Rybelsus).
The medication manages blood sugar. It’s prescribed to patients with type two diabetes to lower blood sugar levels and decrease body weight. Ozempic specifically helps lower the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.(1)
Studies have found these medications have the side effect of weight loss. Remarkably, weight loss was also observed in nondiabetics as well.
As a result, it is now under official review as a weight management medication for overweight and obese individuals.
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist. It works by binding to receptors in the body that cause the pancreas to release more insulin, and also reduce glucagon release.
This combination leads to feeling full longer and decreased appetite, in part due to delayed gastric emptying (1).
However, it’s not a magic pill. The studies on semaglutide paired the medications with diet and exercise plans to achieve weight loss (1, 2).
It’s important to note that Ozempic is not approved by the FDA for weight management in the absence of type 2 diabetes. So far, Wegovy is the only medication in this class that is currently approved for this. Yet, Ozempic leads to weight loss as well (2). The only actual difference in these medications appears to be the label.
Does It Work & Are There Benefits Long-Term?
Let’s get into the research (3). Randomized controlled trials of nondiabetic patients were treated with semaglutide medication and intensive lifestyle counseling for diet and exercise for 48 – 68 weeks. Here’s what they found:
- Mean weight loss in one study was 15% (the placebo group lost 2%).
- Another study had similar results in mean weight change (16% vs 6% in placebo group). Around week 60, weight loss plateaued.
- Another study looked at weight maintenance among nondiabetic participants. This study involved 20 weeks of medication. Some participants continued the medication for 28 more weeks, while the other group served as placebo. The group with medication lost 8% body weight on average, while the placebo group saw a 7% body weight gain. Participants who stopped using the medication regained their lost weight.
- Another study (4) looked at whether similar results occurred in a regular clinical setting. Researchers looked at 175 patients (a mix of diabetic and nondiabetic patients). They found average total body weight loss at 3 months was 5.9%, and at 6 months was 10.9. Further research will need to observe longer follow-up periods to assess long-term weight loss maintenance.
From the research, it appears that continuing to take the medication leads to weight loss. However, it is unclear whether there is data to support that weight loss is maintained once the medication ends.
What drives weight loss is blood sugar control and decreased total caloric intake. These results above can occur with physical exercise.
Like many medications, these don’t come without side effects. Some of the reported side effects have been:
- Nausea and gastrointestinal upset are common as the dose increases (3)
- Abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting (5)
- Headache, dizziness, tiredness. Low blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes (1).
- Risk of overdose if used incorrectly, which may lead to severe nausea, vomiting, or low blood sugar (1)
- Animal studies showed thyroid tumors and cancers, though it is not known if semaglutide may cause thyroid problems in humans (1)
- Possible severe side effects include: vision changes, mood changes, symptoms of pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, kidney problems, and changes in heart rhythms (1)
Starting not to sound as great now, right?
Let’s look at the price tag of these semaglutide medications. In the US, Ozempic is $849/mo. Wegovy, which is the brand actually approved for weight loss, is $1300-$1400/mo with a GoodRx discount. Insurance will only cover costs for a small minority of obese individuals for Wegovy. It only covers Ozempic for uncontrolled diabetes.
What Does MetPro Do In Comparison?
At MetPro, our method retrains the metabolism to function faster. We design each meal with a glycemic load in mind, measuring how quickly a food causes our blood sugar levels to rise. Our system also encourages spacing out caloric and carbohydrate intake throughout the day. These strategies result in natural improvements in blood sugar stability and satiety.
Through education and support, MetPro’s coaches teach lifestyle and habit change. As a result, clients are more likely to maintain their progress long-term.
MetPro does not have negative side effects for healthy individuals. It’s important to note that MetPro is not a clinical nutrition program.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, it must be managed and meet certain requirements to sign up. This is a safety measure as our method involves carbohydrate manipulation.
We aren’t saying these medications will or will not work for you, but they may not produce the desired results without lifestyle and nutrition changes.
This medication does have evidence to support its effectiveness in weight loss and weight management. Especially when used in conjunction with exercise and diet. It is also worth noting that placebo groups receive diet/exercise intervention.
Individuals may need more support to develop healthy lifestyle habits by themselves. These habits are essential for supporting long-term weight maintenance after stopping the medication.
MetPro offers coaching, education, and accountability that support long-term weight loss and maintenance.
The secret to long-term, sustainable health is to have the support to develop healthy lifestyle habits that last a lifetime with or without medication.
2. How do Mounjaro, Wegovy & Ozempic compare for weight loss?
3. Semaglutide for weight loss
4. Weight Loss Outcomes Associated With Semaglutide Treatment for Patients WIth Overweight or Obesity
5. Ozempic vs. Wegovy (Semaglutide) For Fastest Weight Loss
6. Wegovy Review – 14 Things You Need To Know