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The Uncomfortable Truth about Ozempic

The newest weight-loss drug trend is here, and it is disruptive. The promotors of the drug, which are wide ranging and curiously connected to Ozempic’s parent producer, Novo Nordisk, are shouting Ozempic’s name from the highest peaks they can climb, notably the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Oprah’s media conglomerate. Even Elon Musk has tweeted about taking it. The drug in different forms is hitting the market full force (anyone remember Phen-phen?) and it seems everyone is taking notice. 

Barron’s website predicts that semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, will be worth tens of billions of dollars to its producers. Already their stocks have seen a surge. This Ozempic craze is so wide-spread that Barron’s reports the stock prices for huge industries such as carbonated soda and restaurant corporations are down as analysts predict fewer people will be eating out. In another article, they reported concern that the craze for this drug could break the healthcare system because of its widespread administration and high costs for insurers, private and public. 

Yet, with all this buzz and hype, have we paused in the fervor to ask what exactly it is, how it works, what the long-term effects are, and if we should be prescribing it at all? And, even a salient query, is why have Ozempic’s detractors been silenced, removed from social media, and denied a platform. What is not being said here?

Semaglutide was originally developed as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes as it works to slow down digestion and increase insulin production which can help maintain lower blood-sugar levels. Essentially, the food you eat will take longer to break down through your digestion. This leads those injecting the drug into their body once a week feeling fuller for longer. One study, funded by the makers of Wegovy, showed that people taking semaglutide ate a simple breakfast and then a 35% reduced energy intake for lunch and 18% reduced energy intake for dinner. This led to an overall 24% reduced energy intake. This then resulted in lower body weight after the 12-week study. 

Let’s break this down. By taking in 24% less energy, it means people are eating less food overall. It is no wonder that if anyone ate nearly a quarter less of their usual diet, their body would begin to feed itself off of the energy stored as fat and muscle. That’s all. That is how semaglutide works. You eat less, and you lose weight. No added health benefits. You are not harnessing more of the energy within your food. You are not replenishing your muscles with more vital nutrients. You are not becoming more active or achieving better overall health. Ozempic and other semaglutide drugs help the body shed weight by forcing starvation. 

What is really happening inside the body is not reported in any of the studies sponsored by the drug makers. Semaglutide inhibits your body’s natural process of digestion. Read that again. Digestion is slowed down and, in ways, is less effective. Foods that take longer to break down, such as those that are high-fat or high-fiber, stay in the body undigested for longer than normal, causing discomfort and dangerous inflammation. It is a simple formula: if food makes you feel uncomfortable to eat, you eat less food. Perhaps their marketing strategy is off; perhaps: “semaglutide—makes starving yourself the only option.”

It is no surprise, then, that the overwhelming reactions to semaglutide are nausea; constipation; flatulence; painful stools; abdominal pain; heartburn; hair loss; fatigue; headaches; inflammation of the gut, colon, and pancreas; diarrhea; stomach paralysis; and greater risk of complications during surgery … among others. Because of the reluctant digestion, those taking semaglutide are at a higher risk for gut and pancreatic inflammation, and therefore are at a higher risk for pancreatitis, the leading cause of pancreatic cancer, which even when caught at early stages has a very low survival rate. It also can lower bone density and raise the risk for thyroid cancer.

Food that stays in your GI tract longer becomes a source of discomfort. Digestion can be sluggish and painful. Naturally, people will avoid discomfort and thus avoid foods that take a little longer or are more complex to digest.

An incomplete list of foods to avoid while taking semaglutide are: 

  • Alcohol (wine, beer, liquor)
  • Hamburgers or other forms of red meat
  • Cheese
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts
  • Fried foods
  • Butter
  • Oil
  • Whole grains
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Sweet beverages such as juice
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Starchy vegetables 
  • And the list goes on …

Yes, even cauliflower, everybody’s friend, can be distressing to the body. It may seem like there are very few options left. So what can be eaten? On Ozempic’s website, they have some recommendations of what will not exacerbate the discomfort of the drug.

They include:

  • Foods with high water content, such as soup
  • Crackers
  • Toast
  • Rice
  • Clear, ice-cold beverages

End of list. 

They also suggest to eat slower, eat smaller meals, and go for a walk after eating to lessen the painful side-effects of the drug living out its week-long half-life in your bloodstream. For the drug to work, they are prescribing a soup, rice, and water diet with increased exercise. That is a scary enough diet without the weekly shot. Even the success stories of those taking it for years, as reported by NBC News, mention that they can’t eat certain foods or a bigger meal because it would make them sick. 

Ozempic itself is not a diet, it is drug-induced starvation with pain and sickness as punishment for breaking its austere demands.

Invented in 2012, approved for diabetic patients in 2016 and as an anti-obesity drug in June of 2021, there is no research done on the effects of long-term usage. No one knows how this will permanently alter your GI tract, your microbiome, digestion, and overall health. Yet, as of summer of 2023, there were 60,000 new prescriptions a week for the drug.

We only know the short-term consequences so far. We only know it is creating a starvation situation in the body and that the body will react. We don’t know when or how severe that reaction will be. More likely than not, unless everyone continues the $800-$1200 a month protocol, there will be an increased epidemic of eating disorders in former Ozempic patients, once the body can listen truly to its natural signals. And it seems like the makers of semaglutide are trying to cash in on this craze as quickly as possible, before the curtain comes all the way up. 

Our prediction at The She Center, where we have effectively treated all manner of eating disorders, is that this will be just another fad diet that will fade out once the dangers are fully realized. It will be replaced by something else and step out of the spotlight, leaving in its wake hundreds of thousands of bodies forever harmed. Big Pharma will make money—they always manage to—and it will be those who sought help who are left alone to deal with (and pay for) the aftermath.

And that is the big secret they don’t want to share. The drug is unstudied, marketed as an easy fix, and expensive. And when it causes harm, or fails to work, the big companies with deep pockets will blame the consumer and then try to sell them their newest fad cure. 

Regulating cravings may not be as simple as a once-a-week injection—at least at first. But we know how it is done. We have an effective method to help one take control of cravings, and guess what? It is done without any drugs—none—and without therapy. Side effects may include lasting relief, more spare time, greater overall satisfaction with life, a sense of community, feelings of elation and freedom, happiness, and the urge to share the solution with family and friends. Just don’t tell Big Pharma. They don’t want you to know what we can teach.