Recently, numerous public figures and non-celebrities have shared their successful body transformation from drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, which circulated among different social media platforms and put the spotlight on using medication for weight loss. This has allowed medical weight loss to gain mainstream traction given that the aforementioned prescription drugs are used in these programs.
Despite the benefits provided by medical weight loss, the use of prescription drugs to address excess weight has raised questions about any special considerations patients may need to take—like if alcohol needs to be cut out. If you’re somebody who enjoys alcoholic drinks but is looking into medical weight loss, knowing if your favorite beverage can be part of the program is very important.
Read on to find out more.
What is medical weight loss?
Weight loss is generally considered to be a challenging endeavor since factors such as age, genetics, lifestyle, eating habits, and physical activity all influence body weight. Additionally, some people may find it easier to reduce weight simply by exercising more or changing their diet, while the same method is ineffective for others due to biological hindrances. This is where medical weight loss comes in, as it uses FDA-approved medication to target complex limitations that help level the playing field. These programs are designed to help patients who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above or those with a BMI of 27-29 who experience comorbidities including type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.
Apart from the use of prescription drugs, what makes medical weight loss stand out is that it requires close supervision from a healthcare professional. It is only with a doctor’s guidance that patients can be deemed eligible for medical weight loss, and it is these health experts who are responsible for administering the drugs mentioned. That said, undergoing this kind of program still requires significant lifestyle changes like getting more exercise and prioritizing healthier food. This means cutting back on less nutrient-dense food, including most desserts, sweetened drinks, processed snacks, and alcohol.
Can alcohol be consumed during the program?
As a general rule, it is important to first consult with your healthcare provider to check if it’s safe for you to consume alcohol while taking weight loss drugs since all bodies are different. Some might have no problem drinking alcohol during medical weight loss, while others could have an unpleasant experience upon consuming alcoholic drinks. If, aside from obesity, you suffer from another chronic condition, then this may be extra cause for your doctor to recommend you abstain from any drinking.
In the event that your doctor says you can continue to drink on the program, it’s important to note that consuming alcohol may not pose any significant health risks to those undergoing medical weight loss, but it can alter your progress. For example, drinking alcohol makes you retain water and experience a lot more dehydration, which can be mistaken as hunger and lead to overeating. Furthermore, some people may retain water for longer periods of time. This causes bloating and additional weight that can be discouraging for some people who are determined to lose weight. Ultimately, it is your personal choice whether you would choose to drink alcohol (on the assumption that your doctor allows it) while taking medical weight loss drugs, as it affects all bodies differently.
What are the side effects to consider?
There are no drugs that do not come with side effects, and this is important to keep in mind if your doctor clears you for alcohol consumption during medical weight loss. This is because, on top of the side effects of the drug you’re taking, you will need to consider how this acts in tandem with the way alcohol affects your system.
Some of the common side effects associated with weight loss drugs include constipation, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach aches. These can be exacerbated upon drinking alcohol, which is known to cause headaches, dehydration, and irritation along your stomach lining. Interestingly enough, some research has found that semaglutide drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy could also suppress cravings for alcohol, which is another side effect to consider if you’re undergoing medical weight loss.
In closing, in order to lose weight sustainably on medical weight loss, you need to make room for things you enjoy. If this means alcoholic drinks, then it’s crucial to find a happy medium with the aid of a doctor.