What Foods Should You Avoid While Taking Zepbound?

Learn more about any key foods you should avoid while on Zepbound to optimize treatment and experience a successful weight loss journey.
Published on: December 1, 2023
Updated on: March 5, 2024

Learn more about how FORM pairs patients with a doctor and dietitian to achieve their weight loss goals.

Limit consumption of greasy foods and alcohol while on Zepbound.


Disclaimer: The content made available on The FORM Medical Weight Loss Blog represents the views and opinions of the authors and not those of other entities, such as the manufacturers of products mentioned therein.

Zepbound™ is one of the newest medications to treat those living with excess weight. However, it’s important to recognize that the medication’s side effects can be affected by our dietary preferences. This article aims to provide clarity for those who may be unsure about which foods to incorporate and which to avoid in their diet while using Zepbound. This article will outline the optimal dietary choices to minimize side effects and promote overall well-being during your treatment with Zepbound for weight loss.

The Role of Diet in Zepbound Treatment

Zepbound (generic name tirzepatide) is an injectable prescription medicine that is used along with diet and exercise to promote weight loss in adults living with excess weight. Zepbound is a dual GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist. It triggers the secretion of insulin in response to elevated blood sugar levels but also assists in curbing hunger and cravings as well as promoting a feeling of fullness by its impact on the gut and brain.

Zepbound offers numerous benefits, but as with any medication, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects. Some of these side effects can be challenging, especially when just starting the medication, and may be influenced by the consumption of specific foods. The most common side effects of Zepbound are: 

  • nausea 
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea 
  • constipation 
  • heartburn 
  • abdominal pain
  • gas
  • bloating
  • suppressed appetite
  • headaches, dizziness, and an increase in heart rate can occur as well, though less commonly. 
  • gallbladder disease is another potential side effect, and other rare side effects can also occur.

While there are no strict food restrictions for individuals taking Zepbound, certain foods, especially those high in fat, fried, or greasy, can potentially worsen adverse side effects like nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting. The consumption of sugary foods particularly without simultaneous protein intake may increase insulin output, leading to blood sugar fluctuations that may cause feelings of lightheadedness, shakiness, or sweating. Zepbound is more beneficial when paired with a healthy diet and physical activity, making it important to consider avoiding or moderating specific foods to both minimize side effects and enhance its efficacy. Consulting with your doctor or a registered dietitian before making dietary adjustments is always advisable.

Foods to Avoid on Zepbound

Although no foods are completely off-limits while taking Zepbound, certain types of food can exacerbate some of its side effects or hinder your efforts to achieve weight loss. Symptoms and their intensity can differ from person to person. It’s essential to communicate your symptoms with your medical team. To enhance the effectiveness of your treatment, you might want to think about reducing or restricting the consumption of the following foods:

  • Fried and greasy foods: Consuming these foods may lead to gastrointestinal symptoms similar to some of the side effects associated with Zepbound, such as bloating and abdominal discomfort. Furthermore, these foods are often rich in calories and unhealthy fats, which can hinder weight loss efforts if consumed excessively.
  • Sugary foods: High sugar foods such as candy, soda, desserts, ice cream, specialty coffee drinks, and juices can cause blood sugar spikes that increase insulin output and lead to blood sugar fluctuations. Moreover, they often contribute to weight gain as they lack nutritional value, which can make it more challenging to attain your desired weight.
  • Carbonated beverages: Consuming sodas or other fizzy drinks may result in bloating, burping, and abdominal discomfort, which can exacerbate certain side effects associated with Zepbound.
  • Refined carbohydrates: Foods that contain refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and processed snacks, may lead to raised blood sugar levels and undermine your weight loss efforts. 
  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol while taking Zepbound can lead to blood sugar fluctuations. It may be best to limit alcohol intake to one drink daily for women and two drinks daily for men (1 drink = 5 oz wine, 12 oz beer, or 1.5 oz distilled spirits) in conjunction with your normal meal plan. 

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Foods to Eat on Zepbound

There are a wide variety of foods that can be beneficial when taking Zepbound to support the effectiveness of the medication in lowering blood sugars and assisting with weight loss.  

  • Lean proteins: Chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, eggs, tofu, and tempeh are excellent sources of high-quality protein that can increase fullness when using Zepbound. Prepare these foods by grilling, baking, air-frying, or broiling instead of frying. Combining lean proteins with non-starchy vegetables and modest servings of high-fiber carbohydrates is a highly effective approach for maintaining balanced blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss.
  • Healthy fats: Fat is an important nutrient in the diet, though our bodies only require it in small quantities. Among beneficial fats, unsaturated fats stand out as they have the potential to improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. Dietary fats also contribute to the overall palatability of foods and can help extend the feeling of fullness. Incorporating small portions of olive oil, avocados, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, salmon, walnuts, and flax seeds into meals and snacks can be a healthy way to introduce these beneficial fats into your diet.
  • Non starchy vegetables and fruits: Broccoli, peppers, carrots, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, green beans, kale, cucumbers, and onions are just a handful of the vegetable options that can be incorporated into your meals and snacks to optimize your nutrient intake. These vegetables are not only low in carbohydrates and calories but also unlikely to cause significant blood sugar fluctuations. It’s important to note that the natural sugars in fruit are not off-limits. However, it’s essential to be mindful of portion sizes and consider pairing fruit with a lean protein source or non-starchy vegetables to help mitigate potential blood sugar spikes and increase lasting fullness. For instance, a small apple paired with 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter is a balanced choice. Embracing a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been linked to reduced caloric intake and an increased consumption of essential elements like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Such meals have also been shown to promote prolonged feelings of fullness, which can be beneficial for those striving to achieve weight loss goals.
  • High fiber carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are often favored less among individuals trying to lose weight, but they can be incorporated into a healthy diet through mindful choices. Opting for high fiber carbs such as peas, quinoa, steel cut oats, whole wheat bread, and sweet potatoes can help prevent significant spikes in blood sugars, particularly while coupled with lean proteins. However, it’s worth noting that an increase in fiber intake may lead to gas and bloating, particularly if you’re not accustomed to a high-fiber diet. Therefore, it’s advisable to gradually introduce more fiber into your meals and ensure you stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Water: Adequate water intake is a key aspect of most healthy diets. Water plays a crucial role in promoting satiety, reducing the likelihood of overeating during meals, or succumbing to cravings. It is important to combat the potential side effect of constipation and ensure adequate hydration while appetite is low. 

Getting Zepbound Nutrition Guidance with FORM

Consuming a well-balanced diet full of variety offers both enjoyment and high nutrient value. Mindfully limiting certain foods while on Zepbound can help minimize potential side effects, aid in sustainable weight loss, and keep you feeling your best. 

There are many factors that go into deciding which medication is right for each individual. At FORM, all patients are under the care of a Board Certified Doctor specialized in weight management who will complete a comprehensive medical evaluation, including laboratory testing, to determine which medication and treatment plan is best for them. While medications work differently for each individual, studies show that patients experience 2x more weight loss with medication and lifestyle changes, rather than medication alone. Through frequent visits with an experienced FORM Registered Dietitian, an individualized nutrition plan can be crafted around preferences, lifestyle, and any potential symptoms from medications. 

If you are interested in learning more about FORM, schedule a call or send a message today for more information. You can also take our quiz to find out if you are eligible for the FORM medical weight loss program. 

Zepbound™ and its delivery device base are registered trademarks owned or licensed by Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries, or affiliates.

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