What foods should you avoid while on Wegovy?

As effective as semaglutide can be for weight loss, it can bring on some uncomfortable side effects, like acid reflux and nausea. One way to lessen them? Adjusting your diet. Here’s the deal.
Published May 1, 2024

This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be regarded as a substitute for guidance from your healthcare provider.

Many people incorrectly believe that GLP-1s like Wegovy are a free pass, where you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight. But the science is clear that this is not the case. Experts recommend that you still pay attention to your food choices when you’re losing weight on a GLP-1—both to support your long-term health (a.k.a. the main reason to lose weight!) and to improve your day-to-day comfort.

In fact, avoiding certain foods and drinks can help manage some of the most common Wegovy side effects. No, this doesn’t mean restricting yourself so that you’re only eating five specific foods a day or that you can never have your favorite dishes again. It just means being a little choosier and connecting the dots between certain foods and how you feel. Here’s what that looks like.

How does Wegovy work?

Wegovy is semaglutide, which is a type of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist, that has FDA approval for the treatment of obesity. Other GLP-1 agonists include Zepbound (tirzepatide) and Saxenda (liraglutide).

GLP-1 agonists like semaglutide are “97 percent identical to a naturally occurring gut hormone (GLP-1) which has four main mechanisms of action,” says Dr. Caroline Messer, M.D., a professor of medicine, endocrinology, diabetes, and bone disease at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

First, GLP-1 triggers the pancreas to increase the amount of insulin the body makes after you eat carbs, balancing your blood sugar and ultimately preventing spikes. In addition to that, “Wegovy decreases hunger cues in the hypothalamus section of the brain and removes ‘food noise’ and cravings from the brain,” says Messer. And finally it slows down how fast the food you eat moves through the gut, creating a longer feeling of fullness.

A key difference is that the medication form of GLP-1, which is taken via a weekly injection, performs those four actions for a longer period of time. And this is what contributes to the weight loss possible with Wegovy: People can lose an average of 15 percent of their starting weight after a little more than a year on semaglutide.

What are the common side effects of Wegovy?

The typical side effects from semaglutide tend to be gastrointestinal and are most intense right after you do the injection. They include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. “In addition, reflux and sulfur-like burps (they taste and smell like rotten eggs) are all frequently experienced side effects,” says Messer. While the exact reason for the gastrointestinal issues is unclear, research shows that it may be caused by the slowdown of food through the gastrointestinal tract. For a complete list of side effects, please visit the Wegovy website here.

The bad news: These kinds of side effects are common—more than 80 percent of patients experience at least one. The good news: Tweaking your food choices, especially in the first 48 hours after the shot, can help, says Dr. Robert Kushner, M.D., professor of medicine in endocrinology and medical education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. If you change the kinds of foods your stomach is slowly digesting, your body could react differently and you could feel a lot less of that gastrointestinal discomfort.

What foods should you avoid while taking Wegovy?

The big thing to keep in mind is that Wegovy and fatty foods—think ones high in saturated fat like fried food—don’t mix well. This is because fat can make certain side effects worse, says Messer. Semaglutide slows the emptying of the stomach, but “consuming dietary fat has the same effect,” says Kushner. “So, the combination of the medication along with fatty foods may worsen the problem and increase side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and heartburn.” Also on the list of foods to avoid while taking Wegovy is anything spicy, which can contribute to acid reflux. Certain beverages should also be kept to a minimum. “Carbonated beverages and alcohol increase the risk of reflux and nausea,” says Messer.

That said, this doesn’t mean you have to swear off champagne and cheese, since the exact foods to avoid on Wegovy might look a little different for everyone. Instead, it’s more important to keep an eye on what you’re eating and try to identify any patterns. “Each person should pay attention to particular foods that may worsen symptoms and avoid them if possible,” Kushner says. This is where food tracking can be useful—what did you eat before you started feeling heartburn or sick to your stomach?

What foods are better options to eat while on Wegovy?

One green-light category is high-fiber foods, since they can help reduce constipation. While the USDA recommendation is at least 25 grams of fiber a day for women and 38 grams a day for men, that can be tough when you aren’t eating a lot due to a lower appetite. “In general, I recommend a minimum of 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories,” Messer says. Fiber can come from veggies like kale and Brussels sprouts, fruit like apples and berries, nuts and seeds like almonds and chia seeds, beans, and whole grains. Bonus: These foods also tend to be packed with nutrients, helping you get what you need to be healthy even though you’re eating less due to a reduced appetite.

Drinking plenty of water is also smart when you’re on a GLP-1. Staying hydrated can help with constipation and can replenish your fluids if you vomit as a side effect. Messer recommends that her patients drink at least 64 ounces of fluid a day.

This is also a good time to prioritize high-protein foods like lean meat and poultry, which are lower in saturated fat, as well as vegetarian options like tofu, lentils, and beans. “It’s important to include ample protein in the diet with each meal, since excessive weight loss may lead to loss of muscle,” says Kushner. Eating more protein can help lessen that muscle loss. Although individual recommendations can vary, 1.0 to 1.2 grams of protein per kg of your current body weight is a good goal for most people.

Will you need to follow a “Wegovy diet” while on the medication?

There is no hard-and-fast Wegovy diet to follow. Instead, try to stick with a balanced eating plan that follows the above advice. “It is recommended to choose low-fat foods, do not skip meals, and keep well-hydrated,” says Kushner.

It also helps to time your meals strategically. For instance, Messer recommends leaving a two-hour window between eating and going to bed to help minimize reflux. She also advises patients to not drink liquids while they’re eating so that they don’t feel too full too quickly. (Remember: You need nutrients, fiber, and protein from food!)

Finally, a short walk after eating can help maintain proper digestion, which can help food make its way through your digestive tract. Plus, physical activity is a good idea no matter what your approach to weight loss may be. You can keep all of those goals top of mind with WeightWatchers GLP-1 Program. It’s specifically designed to help those taking semaglutide improve their health while losing weight.

Bottom line

As promising as Wegovy and other GLP-1 agonists may be, they are medications. And like most other medications, they come with side effects, including: constipation, diarrhea, and nausea. Knowing the foods to avoid while taking Wegovy—like fatty foods, fried foods, anything too spicy, and alcohol—can help keep side effects to a minimum. And while a Wegovy diet isn't really necessary, following a doctor-approved, science-backed eating plan, like choosing low-fat dishes and timing your meals, can help you feel more comfortable, stick with the medication, and improve your health for the long run.


The best Wegovy diet is one that focuses on protein, fiber, healthy fats, and adequate water intake while reducing saturated fats and spicy foods. Just as important as what you eat is how you eat: Make sure you eat regularly throughout the day and don’t drink too much liquid with meals.

Wegovy primarily uses appetite suppression to help with weight management, but eating whatever you want may lead to unintended side effects. Following a balanced eating pattern can help alleviate side effects and in turn, boost the odds that you stick with the medication. On top of that, eating nutrient-dense foods will help you improve your long-term health while losing weight.

WeightWatchers does not directly prescribe medication like GLP-1s. That said, WeightWatchers Clinic gives members access to board certified clinicians and stigma-free care. Those clinicians can help you determine if a medication like Wegovy is right for you and, if so, prescribe it.

The best way to maximize weight loss is by pairing the medication with a balanced diet and physical activity. Not only will this help you lose the most weight, but it can help you maintain your weight loss and support your overall health for years to come.