Healthcare provider explaining to patient which foods to avoid while taking Ozempic®

Which Foods to Avoid While Taking Ozempic®: Here's What You Need to Know

Medically reviewed on July 14, 2023 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

If you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or a weight-related condition, like high blood pressure, your healthcare provider may recommend starting Ozempic®—a drug designed to increase your insulin production, reduce your appetite, or make you feel full. [1]

However, it's important to remember that Ozempic® is typically prescribed in tandem with a personalized diet and exercise program. Whether your healthcare provider helps you create specific meal plans or simply offers guidelines for meals and workouts, you might wonder which foods to avoid while taking Ozempic®.

While neither the FDA, Ozempic®’s manufacturer, nor a quality medical research organization (like the New England Journal of Medicine) has explicitly outlined nutritional guidelines for Ozempic® foods to avoid, we’re exploring foods that people with Type 2 diabetes or those struggling to manage their weight may want to avoid on their treatment journeys. [2]

What Is Ozempic® Used For?

While Ozempic® for weight loss might just seem like the latest celebrity fad diet drug, healthcare providers prescribe it for people with one (or both) of the following specific conditions [3]:

  1. Type 2 diabetes – If you have Type 2 diabetes, your body’s cells don’t respond normally to insulin. [4] Insulin—produced by the pancreas—is a hormone that alerts your cells that it’s time to use blood glucose for cellular energy production. In people with Type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond to insulin (a condition called insulin resistance). As a result, your pancreas makes an abundance of insulin and your blood sugar spikes because your cells aren’t using those sugars for energy production. High blood sugar can contribute to heart disease, kidney disease, and even vision issues. [4]
  2. Weight-related health conditions – Healthcare providers also prescribe Ozempic® for patients with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other cardiovascular issues that are the direct result of obesity or being overweight. [3] These issues are often comorbid—occurring because of or at the same time as—Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Still, patients don’t need to have diabetes to be prescribed Ozempic® as long as their cardiovascular condition is directly related to their body weight challenges. [3]

While Type 1 diabetes and diabetic ketoacidosis can impact your weight management, Ozempic® is not prescribed to specifically treat these conditions—its primary purpose is to help people with a variety of conditions manage their body weight to improve their cardiovascular health.

Does Ozempic® React to Certain Foods? 5 Foods to Moderate

While researchers are still compiling data on how Ozempic® responds to certain foods, there’s no clear evidence that Ozempic®’s mechanism of action is impacted by the foods you eat. [3]

However, certain foods can impact your:

  • Insulin response [5]
  • Blood sugar rise [6]
  • Weight loss process [7]

For the remainder of this guide, we’ll talk about the foods you may want to avoid while taking Ozempic® if you’re trying to lose weight. Ultimately, Ozempic® will continue to help you feel fuller and suppress your appetite no matter what you eat; but, if you’re still trying to make healthy choices during your treatment plan, carefully consider how the following foods could impact your weight management strategy. Knowing these foods can help you avoid any potential Ozempic® weight loss side effects.

1. Carbohydrates

Healthcare experts and scientific researchers agree: carbs aren’t inherently bad for you. In fact, a 2018 study of over 15,000 participants found that high-carb and low-carb diets were associated with increased mortality risk [8]:

  • People getting less than 40% or more than 70% of their calories from carbohydrates were linked with a higher mortality risk.
  • People consuming moderate amounts of carbs (getting 50 to 55% of their daily calories from carbs) had the lowest mortality risk in the study group.

As you create your eating plan, pay close attention to your carbohydrate intake to maintain moderation. Better yet, consider replacing refined carbohydrates or starchy foods, like white bread and refined breakfast cereals, with whole grains like whole wheat bread and brown rice to reap additional nutritional benefits. [9]

2. Sugary foods and drinks

While Ozempic® is designed to help regulate insulin production and blood sugar, it doesn’t respond specifically to the sugary foods you eat. [3] Instead, it mimics a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), triggering insulin production and, therefore, decreasing blood sugar levels. As a result of both of these processes, you may feel reduced food cravings or feel more full after eating a meal or a snack. [1]

That said, people looking to lose weight should still consider reducing their intake of food or drinks with added sugar. Why? Here are some reasons [9]:

  1. Added sugars—those that don’t naturally occur in foods—contribute calories to your diet without providing much nutritional value. While added sugars might make you feel temporarily energized, they’re not used as efficiently for cellular energy production as naturally occurring sugars. [10]
  2. For people with normal insulin production and response, eating a healthy, balanced diet will produce all the insulin needed to maintain healthy blood sugar. [11] With help from weight loss medication like Ozempic®, people with weight-related cardiovascular issues or Type 2 diabetes may achieve the same. [1] But consuming added sugars can unnecessarily increase your blood sugar, potentially contributing to blood sugar-related health issues like heart or kidney disease.

3. Caffeine

Multiple studies show that caffeine can stimulate insulin production, reducing blood sugar levels in people with normal insulin responses. [12]

However, this might produce unexpected results for people taking Ozempic®.

Many Type 2 diabetics have already developed cellular insulin resistance to some degree.4 As a result, their pancreases are already producing a heightened level of insulin to try to kickstart cellular use of blood sugars. Excessive caffeine intake in people with already-elevated insulin could induce hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. [13]

If you’re using a prescription drug like Ozempic® to regulate your insulin production or blood sugar levels, ask your healthcare provider for caffeine intake recommendations to prevent the negative impacts of low blood sugar—these symptoms often include [14]:

  • Shaking
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fast heart rate

Everlywell Weight Loss Support

4. Alcohol

While neither medical experts nor the manufacturer of Ozempic® has specifically recommended decreasing alcohol consumption while taking the drug, there are two important elements to consider in the conversation about Ozempic® and alcohol [15]:

  1. Reduced cravings – Anecdotally, many people taking Ozempic® report losing their cravings for alcohol—even people who routinely had a few drinks every night. While scientists are still collecting data on why Ozempic® (and other semaglutide drugs) impact our cravings, you might discover that you’re disinterested in alcohol (or even some of your favorite foods) once you start taking the drug.
  2. Early evidence in additional studies – In a 2021 study, a research team discovered that rodents and non-human primates taking GLP-1 agonists (like semaglutide) showed a reduced tendency to consume alcohol and recreational drugs. [16] It’s still unclear whether or not these findings translate to humans, but the team theorizes that GLP-1 receptor agonism may impact dopamine regulation, reducing alcohol and drug cravings specifically.

While health experts haven’t made any explicit claims related to combining Ozempic® with alcohol, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider about consuming within moderation as you work on weight management or with regard to any of your medications.

5. Fruits and Vegetables High in Natural Sugars

Although Ozempic® doesn’t respond specifically to the sugars you consume—from natural or artificial sources—you may consider moderating the amount of high-sugar fruits you consume while taking the drug to lose weight. [1]

Generally speaking, naturally-occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables are healthier additions to your diet than added sugars like high-fructose corn syrup. For instance, a recent rodent study discovered that while foods with added sugars increased caloric intake over time and initiated a glycemic response (blood sugar rise), natural fruit juices did neither. [17]

So, why limit high-sugar fruits if they’re generally healthy? Because Ozempic® is likely to change your appetite. As your hunger decreases overall, it’s important to maintain healthy nutrition by eating a healthy diet with balanced amounts of:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats

Eating nothing but low-protein, low-fat fruits and vegetables while taking Ozempic® might produce unexpected results during your weight loss plan. Consider talking to your healthcare provider about developing a healthy, varied eating plan personally tailored to your goals.

Which Foods Can You Eat While Taking Ozempic®?

Technically speaking, you can eat anything you’d like while taking Ozempic®—health experts and semaglutide manufacturers haven’t provided any official dietary recommendations yet.

However, remember that:

  1. Your appetite will change – One of the primary purposes of Ozempic® is to reduce your appetite—and, as a result, your food intake. [2] So, you might find that your past cravings have decreased.
  2. You still need vitamins, minerals, and nutrients – Even though you’ll likely eat less while taking Ozempic®, you still need to consume essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. While you certainly could eat nothing but candy and still lose weight on Ozempic®, this diet would likely result in severe malnutrition, which can cause additional health problems.
  3. The goal is to reduce your weight-related health risks – If you and your healthcare provider have identified foods that have the potential to negatively impact your cardiovascular health (or other aspects of your wellness), moderate these accordingly. Remember why you’re taking Ozempic® in the first place: to decrease your risks of weight- and Type 2 diabetes-related health conditions. Your prescription medication treatments and your diet should reflect this goal.

Learn More About Your Health With Everlywell

What are the foods to avoid while taking Ozempic®? Ultimately, you should avoid foods that negatively impact your health and nutritional profile. With a qualified healthcare provider, you can develop meal plans and exercise strategies to help you meet your overall health goals while taking Ozempic®.

If you’re looking for passionate, professional health experts, look no further than Everlywell. Through our telehealth services, we can connect you with licensed providers for online weight management support. Our clinicians offer help for the whole you: because you’re so much more than the number on the scale.

Reach out to us today to schedule your first appointment.

Why Am I Gaining Weight When I Barely Eat?

Does Drinking Water Help You Lose Weight?

Understanding Ozempic® vs. Mounjaro® for Weight Loss


  1. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Medications containing semaglutide. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. May 31, 2023. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  2. Blum D. An extreme risk of taking Ozempic®: Malnutrition. The New York Times. April 21, 2023. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  3. Semaglutide injection. MedlinePlus. February 15, 2023. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  4. Type 2 diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 18, 2023. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  5. 5 best foods to improve insulin resistance. Nebraska Medicine. May 31, 2023. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  6. Ellis E. What is glycemic index. November 19, 2019. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  7. Food and diet. Obesity Prevention Source. April 8, 2016. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  8. Moderation wins again: Low- and high-carb diets are bad for your health. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. August 17, 2018. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  9. Know your limit for added sugars. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. January 13, 2022. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  10. DiNicolantonio JJ, Berger A. Added sugars drive nutrient and energy deficit in obesity: A new paradigm. Open Heart. 2016;3(2). doi:10.1136/openhrt-2016-000469 Manage blood sugar. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. September 30, 2022. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  11. Reis CEG, Dorea JG, daCosta THM. Effects of coffee consumption on glucose metabolism: A systematic review of Clinical Trials. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine. July 2019. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  12. Hypoglycemia. MedlinePlus. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  13. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. December 30, 2022. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  14. Blum D. Some people on Ozempic® lose the desire to drink. Scientists are asking why. The New York Times. February 24, 2023. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  15. Klausen MK, Thomsen M, Wortwein G, Fink‐Jensen A. The role of glucagon‐like peptide 1 (GLP‐1) in addictive disorders. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2021;179(4):625-641. doi:10.1111/bph.1567. URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
  16. Monteiro-Alfredo T, Caramelo B, Arbeláez D, et al. Distinct impact of natural sugars from fruit juices and added sugars on caloric intake, body weight, glycaemia, oxidative stress and glycation in Diabetic Rats. Nutrients. 2021;13(9):2956. doi:10.3390/nu13092956 URL. Accessed June 8, 2023.
Everlywell makes lab testing easy and convenient with at-home collection and digital results in days. Learn More