The innovative weight-loss drug Wegovy is making users hate the taste of their favorite sweets.
Americans prescribed the once-a-week shot say they are suddenly repulsed by coffee, certain sweets and fast food.
Wegovy and its sister drug Ozempic, which use the active drug semaglutide, work by replicating hormones that signal the brain that it is full.
These hormones are meant to make a person feel full and reduce cravings. But for people like Staci Rice, 40, of Georgia, they’ve ruined some of life’s simple pleasures.
Ms. Rice had been drinking coffee every day since seventh grade before using Wegovy to lose 50 pounds in six months. She now she can’t hold down a cup.
She told Insider that two of her previous favorite treats, a Chick-fil-A fried chicken sandwich and Kit-Kat bars, have also become repulsive to her.
Kait Morris, a TikToker with more than 6,000 followers, said she could no longer eat a full plate of food and only wanted shakes after using the drug.
Reddit users on a forum dedicated to discussing the drug also complain that they can’t eat their favorite snacks anymore, with one even saying that all food tastes “yuck” now.
According to experts, these taste distortions occur because the drug alters the brain’s ability to tell what is going into a person’s mouth, causing a taste disorder called dysgeusia.
The condition causes certain foods and drinks to appear sweet, sour, bitter, or metallic.
Wegovy has become a highly sought after drug since it first became available in the US last year. It showed the ability to reduce a person’s body weight by about 15 percent over 68 weeks in clinical trials.
Famous users include Elon Musk, who credited Wegovy for his body transformation on Twitter. It is also rumored that Kim Kardashian used the injections.
Staci Rice (left), 40, said she can no longer stand coffee or Kit-Kats after using Wegovy. Kait Morris (right) said Ozempic hurt her relationship with food. His problems with his taste have since passed, she said.
Ms. Rice (pictured) lost 50 pounds with Wegovy after using it for the past six months
Wegovy is a GLP-1 drug that has been heralded for its value as a weight loss supplement.
“Every morning, I would try to make coffee, thinking that one day it would taste good to me again,” Rice said.
She was also a fan of the “Number 1” meal at Chick-fil-A, a 440-calorie fried chicken sandwich with 1,400 grams of sodium and 6 grams of sugar.
Food no longer appeals to him, and the kale salad from the fast food chain is now his go-to order.
Kit-Kats, which she says were her previous favorite Halloween treat, taste indescribably bad to her. All chocolate tastes disgusting to her now.
She also can’t digest ground beef, so she cut it out of dinner at home much to her husband’s chagrin.
WHAT IS WEGOVY?
Wegovy is a brand name for a medicine called semaglutide.
A 1mg dose of semaglutide is already approved in the UK as a treatment for people with type 2 diabetes.
But studies have found that 2.4mg of the drug works effectively as a weight loss medication.
It works by causing the body to produce a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 that is released naturally from the intestines after meals.
The hormone helps control blood sugar and makes people feel full so they know when to stop eating.
The results of a study of 2,000 people over 15 months show that participants lost 15 percent of their body weight on average, which is equivalent to 15.3 kg.
The group received individual counseling sessions from registered dietitians to help them stick to a low-calorie diet and exercise plan, along with weekly injections.
The volunteers reported an improvement in their quality of life and a reduction in risk factors for developing heart disease and diabetes, such as reduced waist circumference, blood fats, blood sugar, and blood pressure. .
But side effects triggered by the drug include mild to moderate nausea and diarrhea, but the researchers said these were short-lived and resolved on their own.
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that mimics the effects of the hormone that occurs naturally in a person’s stomach and pancreas.
These hormones tell the brain that it doesn’t need to eat. This reduces a person’s appetite and reduces food cravings.
It also slows down the emptying of the stomach and increases the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas.
Ozempic, the first formulation of the drug made by Novo Nordisk, was initially designed to help diabetics manage their condition.
However, those who used the drug also experienced significant weight loss.
This prompted the Danish firm to reformulate the drug into Wegovy, which is approved for weight loss.
Common side effects of the drug include nausea, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems.
It is used as a weekly injection into the thigh, arm, or stomach.
However, some users report symptoms like Ms. Rice’s, where her relationship with food has been significantly altered.
Ms. Morris has thousands of followers on her TikTok account, where she talks about her use of Ozempic and shares updates on her weight loss journey.
‘I miss eating. I miss going to restaurants. I miss ordering a normal plate of food,’ she said during a video posted in September.
He also said that he couldn’t eat meat anymore and now he only craves smoothies.
During a video posted on October 14, Ms Morris said she skipped her weekly injection because some of its side effects were “really intense”. She added that she is still committed to taking the weekly injection.
During the nine months that he has used the drug, he has lost 65 pounds.
Ms Morris also added during a video posted last week that she is in a “really good place” with food as some of her side effects have lessened.
On the Reddit r/Ozempic forum, users highlighted their food issues stemming from drug use.
‘Ozempic seems to have changed my taste buds. Suddenly everything tastes…yuck,’ one user wrote in a thread over the summer.
‘…Especially the meat. It tastes really bad to me and I used to love meat. The thought of a steak now makes me nauseous. I used to love food; I rarely ate anything I didn’t like. The taste is just… nasty.
‘Sweet things are too sweet, almost repulsive. The only thing that is still delicious is the fruit and sour stuff that I crave like never before.
Another user shared that they ‘miss enjoying’ food since now they don’t enjoy eating.
‘The food is also disgusting to me. Eating is just weird. Either I’m starving and everything is disgusting or I’m sick to my stomach and can’t eat,” another Reddit user said.
Due to the relatively new nature of this class of drugs, no research is available on how they affect the brain in a way that could impair taste.
Mr Ed Walker, chief scientist at Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand government-funded institution, told DailyMail.com that it could be related to the way the drug is taken.
Because the injections are taken once a week, the body will have days when its GLP-1 hormone levels increase significantly.
This is not natural, as the body only releases hormones when it needs them. The resulting hormonal imbalances could lead to strange side effects, such as taste disturbances.
Dr. Lynnette McCluskey, a professor of neuroscience at Augusta University in Georgia, told Insider that the altered signals are altering a person’s brain.
“Once you start playing with all those signals, and it can be different from day to day, or when you took the drug, you really have great potential for dysgeusia or taste distortions,” he said.
Ozempic helps overweight children reduce their BMI by almost a FIFTH
A repurposed diabetes medication given once a week could reduce almost a fifth of an obese child’s weight, according to a study.
Children ages 12 to 17 who received semaglutide, brand Wegovy, lost an average of 14 percent of their body weight in 16 months.
This translated to 16 percent of their body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight. One in four lost reduced their BMI by a fifth.
For comparison, a control group given diet and exercise advice gained 2.4 percent more weight in the same period and their BMI increased 0.6 percent.
The University of Minnesota researchers who conducted the trial called the drug “the most effective anti-obesity drug for adolescents” to date.
Participants came to them “in tears” because they were so happy with the results, with one participant saying the medication made her “feel better in her own skin.”
The scientists hope their results will ensure that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the drug for use in children, opening up other avenues for weight loss.
The United States is in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic, with one in five adolescents already considered obese, or 14.7 million people.
increasing the risk of conditions later in life, including diabetes and heart disease.
Wegovy, which stimulates areas of the brain that help people feel full after eating, is currently only approved for adults 18 and older in the US.
An injection for weight loss, liraglutide, is allowed for use in children, but it must be given once a day.