This content was reviewed and approved for its accuracy on 06/12/2021 by Professor Frank Joseph

Photograph of Professor Frank Joseph, weight loss expert for myBMI

If you’ve considered taking Saxenda as a part of your weight loss plan, you may be wondering about how it will affect the foods you eat and whether you’ll still be able to enjoy the foods you love most.

 

 

Well, you may be surprised to find that your options are much more open than you might have thought!

 

 

We’re going to take a closer look at Saxenda and the foods that you can eat while you’re taking it, as well as anything you’ll need to avoid during your treatment.

 

 

Let’s start by learning a little bit more about how Saxenda works…

 

 

How does Saxenda work?

 

 

Saxenda contains an active ingredient called Liraglutide, which is a type of medication called a GLP-1 receptor agonist.

 

 

Liraglutide works by stimulating the production of a hormone called insulin in your pancreas while also slowing down the production of a hormone called glucagon.

 

 

This combination means that Saxenda effectively slows down the emptying of your stomach, helps you feel fuller for longer, and helps to reduce your appetite — what a combination!

 

 

If you’re looking to lose weight, you can see how this may help, by decreasing your appetite you’ll find it easier to stick to a calorie-controlled diet and lose weight.

 

 

Are Saxenda and Victoza the same thing?

 

Saxenda and Victoza are two different medications that use the same active ingredient — Liraglutide.

 

 

Victoza is a medication that is used to help type 2 diabetes patients control their blood sugar.

 

It was licensed before Saxenda and is partially responsible for the creation of Saxenda as a weight-loss treatment.

 

 

When Victoza was prescribed to patients with diabetes it soon became clear that they were finding it easier to lose weight than they were before, so the scientists behind it started to research the possibility of using it as a weight loss medication and here we are!

 

 

Saxenda is the first weight loss injection to be licensed in the UK and it’s working very effectively for the patients who have been prescribed it for this purpose.

 

 

What foods should I avoid while taking Saxenda?

 

So now we know a little more about how Saxenda works, it’s time to talk diet.

 

 

As much as we would love to say that you could just inject Saxenda once a day and watch the pounds melt away, it’s not quite that simple.

 

 

With any weight loss plan, the aim will be to reduce your calorie intake enough so that you can make steady progress through your weight loss journey.

 

 

Naturally, this will mean cutting down on high-calorie foods and keeping an eye on portion sizes.

 

 

With that being said, there aren’t any foods that you absolutely must not eat while taking Saxenda, the treatment plan is more focused on making it easier for you to stick to a calorie-controlled diet.

 

 

By reducing your appetite and making your cravings more manageable, Saxenda can help you to eat fewer high-calorie foods and sustain your weight loss over time.

 

 

What can I eat while taking Saxenda?

 

You can eat pretty much whatever you like while taking Saxenda, but that doesn’t mean you should!

 

 

You will need to reduce your calorie intake, whether that is through reducing portion sizes or cutting down on snacks and junk food.

 

 

As long as you consistently eat fewer calories you can choose how that works for you, but we recommend sticking to a healthy and balanced diet.

 

 

If you’re not sure where to start, you could speak to your healthcare team and ask for their help or look into the Eatwell Guide, which can help you to make sure you’re getting enough of the recommended nutrients in every meal.

 

 

Is there a food plan to go with Saxenda?

 

There isn’t a specific diet plan designed to go alongside Saxenda, as long as you’re reducing your calorie intake and getting some exercise you can manage your diet how you want to.

 

 

However, if you’re the type of person who finds it easier to stick to a diet when you have a food plan to follow then there are plenty of options available to you.

 

 

One of our favourites is NHS’s weight loss plan, which is available for free on their app and is designed to help you form new habits.

 

 

This plan will help you to plan your meals, get active, and keep track of your progress throughout your weight loss journey, everything you need to give your motivation a boost!

 

 

Can you take Saxenda on an empty stomach?

 

Yes, you can take Saxenda on an empty stomach, in fact, you can take Saxenda whenever you think will be best for you.

 

 

You may find that taking Saxenda when you take any of your other regular medication can help you to remember to inject it at the same time every day.

 

 

Whether you take it first thing in the morning, last thing at night, with a meal, without a meal, in a hat, with a cat, or while holding a bat, as long as you take it at the same time every day you’ll be fine.

 

 

That being said, some people find that taking Saxenda on a full stomach or on an empty stomach can help them manage any side effects they may be experiencing.

 

 

This can vary from person to person, so let’s look into that a little more…

 

 

Will Saxenda make me feel nauseous?

 

Nausea, or feeling sick, is a very common side effect of Saxenda, meaning that 1 in 10 people will experience it while taking this medication.

 

 

However, if this happens to you you shouldn’t be disheartened, your nausea will often ease off as you continue your treatment and your body gets used to Liraglutide.

 

 

Of course, if you’re concerned about nausea or any other side effects of your medication, you should speak to your doctor, prescriber, or another healthcare professional, just in case.

 

 

If you are feeling sick during your Saxenda treatment, there are a couple of things you can do to help reduce symptoms while your body gets used to the medication.

 

 

For starters, you can try eating bland, low-fat foods or foods that contain a lot of water, these will be easier to digest and will be less likely to irritate your stomach.

 

 

Some of the foods you can try include:

 

 

Other things you can do to try and reduce any feelings of sickness or nausea include trying not to sit down and getting out for some fresh air.

 

 

Naturally, these two remedies go together like a horse and carriage, and avoiding nausea could be a great excuse to go out for a walk and get your exercise in.

 

 

Of course, this could be tricky if the weather is bad or if you have mobility issues, so you could just keep it simple, open a window, stand by it, and breathe some of that lovely fresh air, all that matters is that it helps you feel better.

 

 

If you’re a myBMI patient, you could also ask our healthcare team for some help with managing your nausea symptoms.

 

 

Our prescribers can provide treatments to help you manage your symptoms, for example, an anti-sickness medication for nausea or an antacid for heartburn or indigestion.

 

 

There are a lot of options available to you so don’t suffer in silence, it’s always worth asking the question and our team is happy to help you.

 

 

Will I still feel hungry while taking Liraglutide?

 

Yes, you will still feel hungry while you’re taking Liraglutide, after all, it’s not a miracle drug that will stop you from eating entirely.

 

 

Liraglutide helps to reduce your appetite and cravings, but you will still want to eat, even if you feel less hungry than before.

 

 

This is a big part of how Saxenda works as a weight loss medication, as this hunger reduction is what helps you to stick to a calorie-controlled diet.

 

 

Naturally, this means that you’ll still need to put some of the work in by yourself, making sure you eat a nutritious and balanced diet, even while consuming fewer calories than you usually would.

 

 

At the end of the day, slow and steady wins the race, especially when it comes to weight loss, as this will help you to form healthier habits and keep the weight off long-term, even after your course of Saxenda has ended.

 

 

Does Victoza interact with any foods?

 

At the moment, there are no foods that are known to interact with Victoza, and therefore there are no known interactions with Liraglutide or Saxenda either.

 

 

However, you may find that you feel uncomfortable after eating certain foods, or that some things make you feel more nauseous than others during the first stages of your treatments.

 

This can differ from person to person, so foods that work for you may make other people feel nauseous.

 

 

With that in mind, you’re going to have to go through some trial and error — find out what works for you, what triggers your nausea, and what makes it easier for you to stick to a lower-calorie diet.

 

 

If you’re not sure about your diet and whether it interacts with Liraglutide there are a few things you can do to give you a better idea of what’s happening.

 

 

For example, you could try to keep a food diary.

 

 

Write down everything you’ve eaten every day (or enter it into a food tracking app) as well as any symptoms you’re experiencing, and see if you notice any patterns.

 

 

You may find that your stomach isn’t happy on days where you eat a lot of dairy or fatty foods, or that one particular food just isn’t helping you with your weight loss journey.

 

 

You should also speak to your doctor or healthcare team and ask for their insight.

 

 

Can I drink alcohol while I’m taking Liraglutide?

 

Most people can drink alcohol while they’re taking Liraglutide, whether that’s as Saxenda or as Victoza.

 

 

However, you should try to limit your alcohol intake while you’re taking this medication, and there are a few reasons why.

 

 

The simplest reason is that alcoholic drinks often contain many more calories than you may think, so limiting your calorie intake is sensible when you’re trying to lose weight.

 

 

For example, the NHS tells us that one pint of beer usually contains around 239 calories, which is the same as the average Mars Bar!

 

 

A standard glass of wine will set you back the calorie equivalent of 3 Jaffa Cakes and a double measure of gin is the same as a standard Milky Bar!

 

 

Really puts the number of calories you can drink on one night out into perspective, doesn’t it?

 

Your calorie intake isn’t the only reason why you should reduce your alcohol intake while taking Liraglutide, especially if you have diabetes.

 

 

Drinking alcohol during your treatment can increase your risk of severe or prolonged low blood sugar, which can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms, including:

 

 

Not only will you be at risk of low blood sugar, but alcohol in itself can cause symptoms like nausea and vomiting, which are also side effects of Saxenda.


Doubling up on these symptoms isn’t going to do you any good and could mean that you’re more likely to be sick, which could lead to dehydration – another common problem that alcohol brings with it.


So all in all, it’s best to reduce your alcohol intake and drink responsibly if you feel that you absolutely must have a drink.


Well, there we have it, a whole lot of information about how Saxenda works with your food and what you need to look out for during your treatment.


Remember, if you have any questions or concerns you should speak to your doctor, prescriber, or another healthcare professional, they’ll be able to point you in the right direction as you continue on your weight loss journey.

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