If you’ve been anywhere near the world of weight loss recently, you’ll almost certainly have seen the Saxenda vs Ozempic debate raging on, and you might even have seen the news from the BBC about another alternative called Wegovy.
Everybody has a different opinion on these injections. And whether it’s Saxenda, Ozempic, Wegovy, or something else, the trend isn’t going away. So let’s take a closer look.
Let’s start with the two that have been around the longest. Ozempic and Saxenda are prescription medicines that you inject directly under the skin using an injector pen.
Saxenda is a daily injection which was approved in 2010 to treat people with type 2 diabetes by stimulating the release of insulin when glucose levels get too high. Ozempic is a weekly injection which is also prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes. Like Saxenda, it helps your body produce more insulin and suppresses the amount of glucose produced by the liver.
If you’ve heard of the two before, you might be on TikTok. There, the #Ozempic and #OzempicChallenge hashtags are full of people sharing their weight loss results, which are achieved through the side effect of a suppressed appetite.
It’s undeniable that those results are real, but every drug comes with its potential side effects. In the case of Ozempic and Saxenda, those can include allergic reactions, kidney failure, low blood sugar levels, and sagging skin – which are all risks that need to be weighed against the possible benefits.
But. And there’s always a ‘but’. Sometimes a head start leads to lasting change. For people that are very overweight or obese, Ozempic and Saxenda are ways to start seeing results – if combined with exercise and a healthier diet.
In these situations, the possible side effects are a lot less of a risk than surgery or taking no action at all. Although there may be a better alternative if that’s the case for you.
While Ozempic and Saxenda are prescribed to regulate blood sugar levels, there are other drugs out there more specifically designed to help with health problems related to being clinically overweight.
Wegovy is the one in the news at the moment. A recent trial has shown that it “cuts [the] risk of a cardiovascular event in overweight people with heart disease by a fifth.” Like Ozempic and Saxenda, it suppresses your appetite by tricking you into thinking you’re already full, which the study suggests can lead to a roughly 10% reduction in body weight.
Because heart disease is a real concern for anyone that’s significantly overweight, any drugs that reduce that risk are really valuable. And as this study shows a direct correlation between weight loss and a reduced risk of heart disease, Wegovy is a sensible choice if you’re obese. One that might make more sense than Ozempic or Saxenda which are becoming harder for people with diabetes to get hold of as a result of all the hype around them.
However, it’s important to note that the weight loss that happens with Wegovy (as well as Ozempic and Saxenda) isn’t a long-term solution on its own. As soon as you stop taking them, it’s likely that you’ll regain weight unless you’ve been setting good habits around exercising and eating healthy too.
Obesity is a medical condition. It’s not the same as being a little above your target weight and wanting to slim down for the holidays.
If you are obese, talk to your GP or another medical specialist about which of Saxenda, Ozempic, or Wegovy might be a good fit. Under their supervision, you may be able to use them in combination with a better diet and regular physical activity to kickstart your weight loss journey and lay the foundations for better health.
For the rest of us, there’s no real substitute for diet and exercise. And their benefits go far beyond just losing weight and apply to everyone.
With a better diet, you’ll have more energy. Better sleep. Healthier skin. And a more positive mood.
With regular cardiovascular exercise, you’ll have more stamina. Better overall fitness. A More resilient immune system. And much-improved overall health thanks to a stronger heart and lungs.
With strength training, you’ll have a lower risk of getting injured when you do work out. Plus, you’ll have more lean muscle mass, which helps keep your weight stable in a healthy, sustainable way.
None of Saxenda, Ozempic, or Wegovy can do any of that on their own. So if you’re not obese and considering a weight loss injection, the best option for you is to give them a miss. With diet and exercise you’ll feel better. Look better. And keep those medicines available for the people who actually need them.
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