What you eat is an important part of treatment when you’re using semaglutide for type 2 diabetes or obesity. Eating foods that support semaglutide can reduce the chances of side effects and improve your health outcomes.

Semaglutide is the active ingredient in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rybelsus.

It belongs to a class of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. These medications work by mimicking GLP-1, a hormone produced by your intestines. By binding to GLP-1 receptor sites in your body, semaglutide helps regulate your blood sugar levels and reduce your appetite.

Ozempic and Rybelsus are currently approved for lowering blood sugar (glucose) levels in adults with type 2 diabetes, in combination with diet and exercise. Wegovy is the only FDA-approved semaglutide medication for treating overweight and obesity.

Regardless of why you’re using one of these medications, what you eat can influence the side effects you may experience and how well semaglutide may work for you.

Semaglutide has no specific dietary guidelines. When used for weight loss, it’s paired with a reduced calorie diet. If you’re using semaglutide to manage type 2 diabetes, the drug’s manufacturer recommends a diet that focuses on regulating your blood sugar levels.

Within those broad parameters, the “best” foods to eat while using semaglutide are those that align with your health goals and work with the medication’s effects on your body rather than against them.

This includes foods such as:

Foods for delayed gastric emptying and gastrointestinal (GI) health

As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, semaglutide slows down gastric emptying, which means that your stomach empties more slowly after you eat.

Slowed gastric emptying creates a sensation of fullness, but it can also lead to side effects such as bloating, nausea, heartburn, and general discomfort. GI symptoms are among the most common side effects of semaglutide.

Certain foods might naturally make these symptoms worse.

“Semaglutide can cause heartburn, so foods that are spicy, fatty, or acidic may be bothersome,” explained Dr. Lauren Lemieux, an internist and obesity medicine specialist with FORM Health in Boston, Massachusetts.

To support the changes in your digestion, Kara Landau, a New York City-based registered dietitian and a nutrition advisor to the Global Prebiotic Association, recommends consuming a mix of foods that offer prebiotic fibers and resistant starches.

Prebiotic fibers and resistant starches are not easy to digest. They pass through your intestines to your colon, where they nourish beneficial bacteria that support healthy digestive function.

“Additionally, these nutrients play a part in naturally stimulating GLP-1 […] and as such, enable [semaglutide] users to get used to natural ways of keeping their GLP-1 production up (and corresponding satiety hormones working in their favor) for when they select to stop taking the medication,” Laudau said.

Laudau suggests the following foods, which are rich in prebiotic fibers and resistant starches:

  • cooked and cooled whole grains and potatoes
  • legumes
  • lentils
  • kiwi fruit
  • less-ripe bananas
  • undercooked oats (such as overnight oats)

If you experience nausea while using semaglutide, the manufacturer of Wegovy and Ozempic recommends eating bland, low fat foods such as crackers, toast, and rice and focusing on foods that contain water, such as soup and gelatin.

Foods to support blood sugar regulation

Semaglutide works to regulate your blood sugar, but consuming significant amounts of sugary foods and beverages may neutralize some of its effects. High sugar foods can cause quick spikes in your blood sugar, which may make it more difficult to keep your blood sugar levels stable, even with medication.

Foods that promote blood sugar stability are known as low glycemic foods. Your body breaks down these foods gradually, so they provide a slower release of glucose.

Low glycemic food options include:

  • non-starchy vegetables (spinach, kale, cucumbers)
  • whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, barley)
  • legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas)
  • lean proteins
  • avocados
  • berries

High sugar foods are often high in calories as well, which can make weight loss more challenging while using Wegovy.

Foods to focus on with appetite suppression

Because semaglutide can significantly reduce your appetite, Lemieux recommends eating your protein first to ensure that you get enough at each meal.

She typically encourages her patients at FORM to have a source of lean protein at each meal, such as chicken or fish. If they’re following a plant-based diet, she encourages them to include soy, lentils, quinoa, and other plant-based proteins.

“Sufficient protein, in combination with regular physical activity, is crucial to minimize the loss of lean muscle while losing weight on Wegovy,” she added. “I typically recommend 1.2–1.5 [grams of protein per kilogram of body weight], though this may be adjusted based on their current weight or if they have other medical conditions that affect protein recommendations.”

In general, foods to avoid while using semaglutide include those that might contribute to GI distress, rapidly spike your blood sugar, or add unnecessary calories while you’re on your weight loss journey.

Examples of foods to avoid include:

  • fried foods or foods high in saturated/trans fat
  • spicy foods
  • fatty protein cuts
  • baked goods, candy, and ice cream
  • beverages with added sugar, such as regular soda, juice, and energy drinks

If you’ve been prescribed Wegovy for weight loss, the following tips can help you maximize the benefits of this medication.

Start small — literally

To help minimize the risk of GI discomfort and limit portion sizes, Lemieux suggests halving the amount you’d usually eat.

“I typically encourage patients to serve themselves half of what they would normally eat, eat slowly, and wait after they finish their first serving for 15–20 minutes to see if they are still hungry before going back for more,” she said.

Solidify your goals

Lemieux also recommends clarifying your goals for weight loss with Wegovy to help boost your morale and keep you on track when you feel discouraged.

“Explore your deeper goals related to weight loss, outside of just a number on the scale,” she said. “Are you trying to get in better shape to keep up with your young children? Do you want to be able to travel the world comfortably? Will losing weight help your aching knees feel better?”

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables — but get that protein in

To help you feel full longer, the manufacturer of Wegovy recommends eating plenty of fruits and vegetables — but more fruits and vegetables should not replace lean protein.

Landau suggests increasing your protein intake to ensure that you maintain lean muscle mass and that your metabolism remains strong. She indicates that adding a strength-building activity along with protein consumption can help preserve lean muscle mass during weight loss.

Utilize professional support

“Patients taking Wegovy should work with an experienced team, such as a doctor and a registered dietitian, who will supervise your weight loss progress and are committed to helping you lose weight in a healthy way,” Lemieux said.

In addition to creating a meal plan with you, a team of professionals can discuss other key components for successful weight loss, such as stress management, physical activity recommendations, and sleep quality.

Depending on the condition you’re using semaglutide to treat, medication labels recommend consuming a reduced calorie diet or a diet focused on regulating your blood sugar. Beyond these, there are no specific dietary guidelines associated with semaglutide.

Still, eating certain foods may reduce the possible side effects while supporting semaglutide’s effects on your body. Healthcare professionals advise focusing on lean proteins, low glycemic foods, prebiotic fibers, and resistant starches.