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Should You Try “Oatzempic” to Lose Weight? We Asked an RD

April 2, 2024

With diabetes medications like Ozempic all over the news and social media for their weight loss effects, of course there’s now a trendy spin on it on TikTok. The latest viral trend is called “oatzempic” — and as the name suggests, it’s a beverage made with oats that some TikTokers claim can help you drop 40 pounds in two months. So, is this a good idea?

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What is “Oatzempic?”

The “oatzempic” drink contains three ingredients: ½ cup oats, 1 cup water, and the juice of half of a lime.  The type of oats isn’t specified, though typically, reels show quick-cooking rolled oats. Some TikTokers say they use it once a day, others use it first thing in the morning and again at night before bed. In the comments, some say it has a laxative effect, others that it left them bloated and constipated, though some do say they lost weight. Some commenters recommend adding chia seeds to the mixture to help feel full longer.

Is there a connection to the Ozempic drug?

Ozempic is a medication by Novo Nordisk that is used for people living with diabetes. It is known generically as a semaglutide. Approved in 2017 by the FDA for adults living with type 2 diabetes, it’s a weekly injection that helps lower blood sugar by helping the pancreas produce more insulin.

Recently, Ozempic has made headlines because it also can significantly reduce appetite in adults, leading to weight loss. Ozempic is categorized as an agonist of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors, or GLP-1. Among other things, GLP-1, a hormone that our bodies make, slows the emptying of the stomach and affects the way our brains process hunger and satiety, helping us to feel full. Medications like Ozempic essentially work by mimicking the effects of our bodies’ own GLP-1 hormone. Celebrities and social media influencers have been touting the success of Ozempic and other GLP-1 medications, though the claims aren’t always accurate.

“Oatzempic” and the medication Ozempic sound alike, and “oatzempic” is clever, but one is an FDA-approved drug and the other is a whole grain. Oats help keep you satisfied by providing fiber, which aids in satiety. Otherwise, they don’t have anything else in common.

A closer look at oats

The primary ingredient in this tonic is oats. Calling it “oatzempic” is much catchier and sexier than telling folks to eat their oatmeal or make an oat shake. As a registered dietitian, I’ve been promoting the benefits of oats for more than 20 years — and there are many reasons why.

Here’s a look at the nutrition of ½ cup of dry Quaker’s old fashioned oats: 150 calories, 3 grams of total fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 27 grams of total carbs, 4 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. It’s also a good source of thiamin, phosphorus, and magnesium, providing 15%, 10%, and 10%, respectively.

Some of the claims TikTokers are making in terms of feeling full and satisfied and eating less is in line with consuming fiber-filled foods. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that isn’t absorbed into the body. Its main purpose is to help form bulk, which also keeps your gastrointestinal tract healthy. The fiber slows down digestion and thus makes you feel full. If you’re feeling satisfied and full, you’re less likely to snack — hence, it can indirectly make you eat less.

Oats also provide a wide array of health benefits, including for heart health. Research links oats to lowering cholesterol, and also helping with weight control. In addition, specific components within oats offer a variety of health benefits. For example, beta-glucan, which is the soluble fiber in oats, helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Oats also are rich in avenanthramides,  phytonutrients that may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

What about the lime?

Lime juice has few calories, but does provide a healthy dose of the antioxidant vitamin C. There’s a misconception that acidic food will help “burn fat,” but that is not true. The body will neutralize the pH of the acidic food naturally. 

Can “oatzempic” lead to weight loss?

TikTokers are typically consuming these drinks in the morning instead of breakfast and sometimes a second time in the evening. Replacing a higher calorie breakfast like eggs, bacon, or pancakes with 155-calorie shakes can result in some pounds shed due to a lower calorie swap — but not at the rate touted by the online influencers.

In terms of the drastic weight loss reports by TikTokers, as a registered dietitian, I find it worrisome. First, you really need to cut back on calories dramatically to get those types of results. However, the National Institutes of Health defines a safe rate of weight loss as no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week, in conjunction with healthy eating and lifestyle habits (like regular exercise and sleep). Losing weight so quickly without slowly changing your daily habits to make them healthier tends to result in a regain of all the weight lost (if not more) once you return to your usual eating style.

Should you try it?

You know already that quick fixes don’t work, and weight loss comes slower than we want it to. Eating a variety of healthy foods, avoiding packaged junk foods and excess added sugar, managing stress, getting enough sleep, exercising — long-term dedication to these habits is what helps us to live healthy lives. 

Having said that, oats for breakfast is a good idea; I’d just prefer to see people do it in a more enjoyable way than this drink. Instead, try my Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal Cups, Strawberry-Mint Overnight Oats, or Meal Prep Nutty Raisin Oatmeal. All these recipes can fit into a healthy, well balanced eating pattern — or a weight loss diet if you are looking to shed a few pounds.

Read next: 12 Weight Loss Strategies That Are Easy to Follow, Say Experts

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