Rybelsus: Foods To Avoid

Rybelsus is a weight loss medication containing the active substance semaglutide. When taking Rybelsus, it's recommended to avoid high-fat meals as they can affect the absorption of the medication. High-fat meals can also slow down weight loss due to high-calorie density. Additionally, alcohol should also be avoided as it can increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). This blog provides further guidance on foods to avoid when taking Rybelsus.
Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the
University of Oxford.

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What is Rybelsus?

To understand what foods to avoid when taking Rybelsus, it is important first to understand what Rybelsus is and how it works.

Rybelsus is the brand name for the active ingredient semaglutide, which is taken as an oral tablet once daily. Rybelsus is a prescription medication for stabilizing blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes [1].

Rybelsus belongs to a group of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, similar to dulaglutide, which work by stimulating the release of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels [1].

Dosing of Rybelsus

Rybelsus is different from Ozempic or Wegovy in that it is an oral tablet taken daily, either in 7 or 14mg doses. It's important to take Rybelsus on an empty stomach and wait at least 30 minutes before eating to ensure the body absorbs enough of the drug [1].

When taking Rybelsus, it is important to maintain a balanced diet with sufficient protein and fibre and daily physical activity [2].

How Does Rybelsus Work?

Rybelsus, with the active ingredient semaglutide, belongs to a group of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists [1, 3]. It has 94% homology to the human GLP-1 receptor, meaning semaglutide is 94% similar to the endogenous form of GLP-1 [4].

GLP-1 is a hormone secreted from the small intestine and promotes insulin secretion. It binds to the GLP-1 receptor in pancreatic β-cells to induce insulin secretion in a glucose concentration-dependent manner [4].

It is released in a glucose concentration-dependent manner, which means that the more glucose you have in your blood, the more GLP-1 will be released, the more insulin will be released and will reduce your blood sugar [4]. This mechanism reduces the risks of hypoglycemia, the scientific name for low blood sugar.

In contrast to other semaglutide formulations, Rybelsus also contains an absorption enhancer that facilitates semaglutide absorption across the gastric epithelium in a concentration-dependent manner [5].

What Foods Should You Avoid When Taking Rybelsus?

Foods to avoid

Take Rybelsus on an empty stomach with plain water. When taking Rybelsus, it is best to avoid high sugar and high-fat foods, but also foods high in fibre if you experience nausea or diarrhoea side effects.

When taking Rybelsus, it's important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet to support blood sugar regulation.

The first important information regarding eating when taking Rybelsus is that it should be taken on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before your first meal. Consuming food or beverages (other than water) can reduce the drug's absorption, making it less effective [3, 6].

You may want to avoid several foods when taking Rybelsus, and you may experience side effects such as nausea or diarrhoea. First, discuss with your healthcare provider whether Rybelsus is an appropriate medication.

Avoid high-volume foods and foods with extra fibre, especially if you also experience diarrhoea.

Discuss this with your doctor if you're taking supplements, particularly those meant to manage blood sugar levels. For instance, the mineral supplement chromium, which some studies suggest may improve blood sugar level management, could cause your blood sugar levels to drop too low when taken with Rybelsus [6].

It is also recommended that people avoid high-sugar and high-fat foods. This is because of several reasons. The high sugar foods increase your blood sugar, which is not recommended in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The second is that high-sugar and high-fat foods are calorie-dense, which means that they will satisfy you for shorter periods of time. If you wish to lose weight while taking Rybelsus, you should reduce your total calorie intake, and high-sugar and high-fat foods will make this more difficult.

In conclusion, while some foods are recommended to avoid, the timing of when you eat in relation to when you take Rybelsus is crucial. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice, especially if you experience gastrointestinal side effects of Rybelsus.

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Klara Hatinova

Klara Hatinova

Klara is a postgraduate researcher in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford. She has worked across a spectrum of hot topics in neuroscience, including her current project measuring reinforcement learning strategies in Parkinson’s disease. Previously, she studied the efficacy of psilocybin as a therapy for critical mental health conditions and examined molecular circadian rhythms of migraine disorders. She completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow and participated in a year abroad at the University of California, where she worked on a clinical trial for spinal cord injury.