This article was originally written by the Sequence clinic team (now known as WeightWatchers Clinic).

What is the diet to follow while taking Wegovy?

Published September 22, 2023

If you’ve recently started an anti-obesity medication like Wegovy, you may be curious about what the best diet to follow is. In this article, we will discuss what Wegovy is, how it can help with weight loss, and our nutrition philosophy while taking the medication.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy (semaglutide) is an injectable prescription weight-loss medication that was approved by the FDA for obesity treatment in June 2021. Wegovy is only available with a prescription from a doctor or healthcare provider.

How does Wegovy help you lose weight?

Wegovy works by affecting several key mechanisms in the body to help with weight loss including appetite regulation, delayed gastric emptying, and blood sugar control:

Appetite regulation

Wegovy belongs to a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs). GLP-1 is a hormone produced naturally in the body that helps regulate appetite and food intake by working on both the gut and the brain. Wegovy mimics the effects of GLP-1 leading to reducing feelings of hunger and increased feelings of fullness. This can help individuals eat less and control their caloric intake.

Slowing gastric emptying

Wegovy slows how quickly the stomach empties after a meal, which can contribute to feelings of fullness and satiety after eating. This effect can help keep you fuller for longer after eating and reduce the frequency and quantity of meals and snacks as a result.

Blood sugar control

GLP-1 medications like Wegovy can also improve blood sugar control by enhancing insulin secretion and reducing glucagon production. In other words, our bodies have a certain set of hormones that help to regulate our blood sugar levels—GLP-1 medications like Wegovy help those hormones do their job more effectively. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes who should aim to keep their blood sugar levels within certain ranges.

What are the average weight loss results from individuals who take Wegovy?

In a placebo-controlled trial of adults without diabetes, “Individuals who received Wegovy lost an average of 12.4% of their initial body weight compared to individuals who received a placebo.”

What is the best diet to follow while on Wegovy?

It's important to note that Wegovy is not a standalone solution for weight management. It should be used as part of a comprehensive medical weight management program that includes dietary changes, increased physical activity, and regular medical monitoring

While taking Wegovy, focusing on a healthy and balanced diet is important to optimize its effectiveness. Moreover, building sustainable nutrition habits sets the stage for weight maintenance with or without medication. While there is no one suggested “diet” for Wegovy, overall dietary patterns are important. Here are some dietary guidelines to consider:

Consume a balanced diet

Aim for a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from all food groups, including:

  • Fruits and vegetables: Incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables into your meals. We recommend these foods make up half of your plate. They are low in calories but packed with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants.
  • Lean protein: Include lean sources of protein like chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, beans, and legumes in your diet. Protein helps you feel full and satisfied and helps to prevent muscle loss.
  • Fiber-rich carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates are rich in fiber, which means that they not only provide the body energy, but they help to keep us satisfied for longer, too. Choose fiber-rich options as often as possible such as starchy vegetables (potatoes of any variety, squash, beets, etc.), beans and legumes (beans of any kind, chickpeas, lentils, peas, corn), fruit (such as berries, apples, and bananas), and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, and oats.
  • Healthy fats: Opt for sources of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil in moderation. We often refer to fat as the “invisible macronutrient” because oftentimes it's included in cooking methods such as roasting, searing, and sautéing. Healthy fats pack a lot of nutrition in a small amount, so be mindful of serving sizes.

Other nutrition considerations:

  • Prioritize eating enough: The goal of all anti-obesity medications is not total appetite suppression or to eat as little as possible. Prioritizing adequate nutrition to meet your body’s needs not only supports your overall health, it also protects your metabolism and ensures your eating patterns are sustainable.
  • Limit foods high in sugar or fat: Be mindful of your intake of sugary beverages and sweets, processed foods, and greasy or fried foods as these can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and may limit progress by impeding the ability to get enough of the necessary nutrients like protein and fiber.
  • Practice good hydration habits: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. The recommended fluid intake is at least 72 oz for women and 100 oz for men.
  • Consume regular meals and snacks: Eating regular meals and snacks can help maintain stable blood sugar levels and prevent overeating. Avoid skipping meals, which can lead to excessive hunger and less desirable food choices.
  • Engage in mindful eating: Practice mindful eating by listening to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Eat slowly, savor your food, and avoid distractions like TV or smartphones during meals.
  • Be patient but persistent: Weight management takes time and consistent effort. Be patient with yourself and stay committed to your healthy eating and lifestyle changes.
  • Intentionally incorporate the foods you love: As a Weight Watchers Clinic member, we’ll never tell you any food is “off limits.” For the sake of sustainability, it’s important to give yourself permission to eat for pleasure and not over-restrict the foods you enjoy!

Remember, these are general nutrition considerations to keep in mind while you are on a GLP-1 medication. If you start a GLP-1 medication, it is recommended to be seen by a Registered Dietitian as they can provide personalized guidance based on your specific health needs and goals.‍

Closing thoughts

Wegovy is a tool to assist with weight management, but it should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle. It's crucial to work closely with your healthcare providers to monitor your progress and adjust your plan as needed. Individual dietary needs may vary, so personalized guidance is essential.