Ozempic may be 'interesting' for weight loss, according to nutritionists
It may have been created to treat type 2 diabetes, but Ozempic is increasingly prescribed by doctors for weight loss. If some nutritionists consulted by Métro are not against such use of the drug, they nevertheless issue some warnings. Overview.
“This can be interesting for some patients, says Sarah Normandin, nutritionist specializing in weight management and intuitive eating at Reference nutrition. [However], I think we have to take the time to properly assess whether we have the right candidate for this kind of medication.”
This “good candidate”, according to her, is someone concerned about their body type, who potentially suffers from a condition that prevents them from controlling their weight naturally or from feeling satiety. Patients must demonstrate that their efforts to lose weight have been unsuccessful, despite healthy lifestyle habits. To do this, a meeting with a health professional is necessary, ideally added to that with a nutritionist.
The nutritionists can then propose – without being able to prescribe – relevant medical solutions to help patients. Among these is the injection of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic.
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For Diana Ayoub-Fawaz, dietitian and nutritionist, however, Ozempic is not an option. As studies on the long-term effects of the drug are lacking, she prefers to suggest, when necessary, other medical solutions for weight loss, such as Contrave or Xenical.
“If there are extensive studies showing that there are no long-term harmful effects and that we can stop it without regaining everything [the lost weight] I would be open to prescribing it with accompaniment by a professional. But for now, I don't see the point,” she says.
Although she offers Ozempic from time to time, Sarah Normandin nevertheless believes that this treatment is far from suitable for everyone. foods, that drug [Ozempic] won't work very well for her,” she explains. In the same way that we do not perform bariatric surgery on someone who already does not eat much: we will not have the expected results.
If consulting a nutritionist is not mandatory to obtain the drug, collaborative work between the different health professionals is advocated by the nutritionists interviewed by Métro .
“Interdisciplinary work is important. A good nutritional assessment is necessary” before prescribing any treatment for weight loss, thinks Sarah Normandin Yes, the services of nutritionists can be expensive at the time, but since the drug costs a few hundred dollars a month, as much initially make sure it works for patients and works, she argues.
And what about mental health?
The physical criteria are not the only ones to be considered for obtaining Ozempic, informs us the nutritionist Claudia Houle, colleague of Ms. Normandin, whose expertise focuses on diabetes. The mental suffering associated with being overweight can, on its own, justify the prescription.
“If the person has no physical health problem, but their high weight is affecting their mental state, this may be an indication to prescribe [Ozempic]” provided that the person is aware of the advantages and disadvantages associated with it. taking the medication, summarizes Ms. Houle.
And the prescription can be obtained even if one suffers from eating disorders – except anorexia – as a temporary buoy: “It's stressful to recover from an eating disorder, because nutritionists will encourage you to eat and you will continue to exceed your mental limits while you recover.”
The medication – not necessarily the Ozempic – is therefore considered to soothe the anxiety linked to a temporary feeling of loss of control over one's appearance, assure the two nutritionists from Reference Nutrition. In this case, when the patient’s relationship with their food and their body has improved, the use of the drug can be stopped.
Ms. Ayoub-Fawaz also endorses this medical approach to the use of medications that regulate hunger (other than Ozempic), while reiterating that weight loss treatment cannot fix a mental disorder.
Health before weight
During the treatment, which consists of one injection per week, it is necessary to ensure that the body has enough nutrients to function well, and not to rely solely on the feeling of satiety that the drug provides. This will allow the body not to store more reserves, which will promote weight loss and, above all, better overall health.￼
“We say “weight loss”, but what is desired with the treatment is fat loss. When you lose weight, especially quickly, you lose muscle mass and this is not a desired situation either for health” or for maintaining a “healthy weight” in the long term, specifies Claudia Houle.   ;
Since physical activity is an integral part of a healthy routine and is often prescribed in conjunction with Ozempic, it is all the more important to ensure that you are getting enough nutrition. “Someone who eats one or two meals a day or very few calories in their day: good luck having the energy to get moving. It does not encourage the development of healthy lifestyle habits,” observes Sarah Normandin.
Claudia herself struggling with type 1 diabetes, specifies that her patients are not necessarily encouraged to go to the gym, but to make sure they move their personal limits on a daily basis.
Is it you or me talking about it?
The two nutritionists at Reference Nutrition indicate that, in their case, it is mostly patients , and not they, who approach the subject of Ozempic first, since they cannot prescribe it. People have been touting the product in ads recently, and Ozempic has been making a lot of noise after rumors about Hollywood stars taking the drug to maintain an hourglass figure began circulating.
The three nutritionists point out that they advocate case-by-case assessment by relying on a face-to-face discussion. Claudia Houle and Sarah Normandin also mention the importance of not judging people who really need the drug for their health.