Dieting by design: Using Ozempic as a diabetic weight loss treatment

Sep 30, 2023, 12:50 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2024, 12:14 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — When Nick retired, he noticed that he’d begun to put on some weight.

“I wasn’t as active,” he explained. “And (the doctor) was concerned because I’m only in my 60s.” 

Nick was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He told KSL NewsRadio that over the next several months he was able to lose 20 pounds and start getting his weight under control. But not without consequences. 

Tune in live at 5 p.m. to hear all about dieting by design.

Nick is taking Ozempic. His doctor recommended it to tackle his diabetes. He’d tried metformin and Jardiance, but Ozempic seemed to be the first treatment that actually worked for him.

“Ozempic is something that I really enjoyed being on for the first little while.”

Ozempic is a medicine typically prescribed to adults with type 2 diabetes to lower blood sugar and aid in weight loss. This year, Ozempic became a click-worthy headline after it was attributed as the new blockbuster weight loss drug, commencing a worldwide shortage. 

Nick saw first-hand the results the masses were raving about, but he also saw the downfalls.

The side effects of Ozempic

Not long after Nick began taking Ozempic, he began getting stomach aches. 

“That’s pretty common I’ve been told,” he said. “And in the morning when I eat breakfast, I’m nauseated.”

Nausea would become a new norm for him as well. Right now he can stomach about 900 calories a day. However, the weight has dropped, and he said he feels a lot better. 

“Ozempic has really helped me with my diabetes and losing weight,” he said. “But my problem is the nausea and the stomach aches.”

“It wakes me up at night to tell you the truth,” he continued. “Some nights I wake up at two in the morning and I’m like, ‘Oh, how do I get rid of this?'”

Is Ozempic a life-long commitment?

“These medications are powerful in changing both the functionality of the gut… and also the brain,” said Dr. Christopher Jones. 

Jones is the Medical Director for the Intermountain Healthcare Diabetes Program. He said weight loss medications like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro slow down the gut, making a person feel full faster. This is why they are often prescribed for people with diabetes. 

“Because it slows the gut down, that sugar is not absorbed nearly as quickly, the spikes of sugar in the bloodstream are not so high.”

Ozempic is not necessarily a cure for diabetes, Jones clarified, but it can be a helpful springboard. He said people can achieve significant weight loss in just a few months, but it’s not a one-and-done fix. He cited two clinical studies where once the weight was lost and people stopped taking the drug, the weight quickly returned. 

“You will need to stay on these medicines for a long period of time to keep that weight off,” he said.

Jones said the best way to use Ozempic is with the foundation of healthy habits. Treatments like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro can accelerate weight loss, but a healthy diet and regular exercise work hand in hand with the medicine to address diabetes. 

“If it’s not founded in that, there is a potential for trouble from all of these medications.”

The financial burden

As a medication to target diabetic treatment, medical insurance can alleviate the cost of Ozempic. However, Jones said the popularity of weight loss drugs has put insurance companies in a difficult position. 

“Insurance companies are looking at a huge number of people with a very expensive medication,” he explained. “They’re putting a lot of restrictions on these medications. Some companies put more restrictions than others.”

So what about those who do need these drugs for medical reasons? How do they get it and how much is covered? As the interest grows so could the cost, even with medical insurance.

Jones said the cost of Ozempic can range from $900 to $1,300 a month without insurance coverage. That kind of cost can add up after just a few months of use, and some people may need to stay on the drug for the rest of their lives.  

An additional concern is the growing amount of non-FDA-approved weight loss treatments flooding the market. 

“There are some groups who are getting some compounded semaglutide, the thing that makes Ozempic,” he said. “And they’re finding a way to make it available to people without a typical doctor’s prescription.”

Jones said these Ozempic alternatives can be appealing to people who are looking for treatment, either due to a shortage or to serve their own personal weight loss goals.  

“So they go get this and they are incurring that risk of a compounded non-FDA approved drug.”

Jones’ recommendation

You can be doing everything right — healthy diet, regular exercise — and still be looking for a way to shave off those last few pounds. In those cases, Jones’ said he would not recommend these medications. 

“While satisfying for you and helping you to be who you want to be physically (weight loss drugs) are not likely going to be increasing your health,” he said. “Continuing to focus on good health and being healthy is the most appropriate. Let’s continue with your diet and exercise and recognize and rejoice in the health that you have.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio.

Related: Risks you should know before taking Ozempic

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


Valley Fever in Washington County...

Britt Johnson

Valley Fever cases increase in southern Utah

Valley Fever cases in southern Utah are ticking up. Professor of Epidemiology, Katharine Walter gives advice on how to spot it.

13 hours ago

Utah's pharmacy shelves are feeling the strain as the state grapples with a substancial drug shorta...

Eric Cabrera

Drug shortages in Utah pharmacies leave many without medication

Utah's pharmacies grapple with drug shortages. According to a recent study, Utah is the fourth highest in the country for drug shortages.

1 day ago

Artificial intelligence could be the next tool used in mental health therapy....

Amanda Dickson

Artificial intelligence may be able to help with your mental health

University of Utah researchers are working to understand how artificial intelligence and mental health therapists might work together.

1 day ago

Talking about STI status and testing can be more comfortable if you use a kind yet assertive approa...

Kristen Rogers, CNN

Dating someone new? Here’s how to ask them about their STI status

You’ve just started dating someone new, and things are heating up when you realize you haven’t asked them about their sexual health status. 

2 days ago


Michelle Lee

Exercise can have a big impact on your brain health

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Alex Martinez with Intrinsic Medicine to learn how exercise we can improve our brain health.

3 days ago

The Instagram logo is seen on a cell phone in Boston, USA, Oct. 14, 2022....

KELVIN CHAN AP Business Writer

Instagram begins blurring nudity in messages to protect teens and fight sexual extortion

Instagram says it's deploying new tools to protect young people, including a feature that will automatically blur nudity in direct messages.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Dieting by design: Using Ozempic as a diabetic weight loss treatment