This viral drink mimics Ozempic—or does it?

By Julia Ries | Fact-checked by Davi Sherman
Published April 10, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Replacing meals with “Oatzempic,” a four-ingredient smoothie, is the latest weight-loss trend going viral on TikTok, with some claiming it mimics the effects of Ozempic.

  • The popularity of Oatzempic can be attributed to the fact that semaglutide medications are costly and can be hard to find—you most likely have all the ingredients for Oatzempic at home. 

  • While oats are key in a balanced diet for weight-loss, consuming only one type of food can lead to malnutrition, disordered eating, and rapid weight cycling.

As weight loss drugs like Ozempic become increasingly popular—and, for some, prohibitively expensive or inaccessible—there’s been renewed interest among consumers to experiment with various types of herbs and alternative diets to meet their weight-loss goals. 

The latest trend is an oat-based smoothie, dubbed “Oatzempic,” that some TikTokers claim can help you lose up to 40 pounds in 2 months. The blended drink is simple, containing only rolled oats, water, a dash of cinnamon, and a splash of lime juice. 

Oats for weight loss

If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is, dietitians say. While oats have been proven to aid weight loss (as part of a balanced diet), taking part in the trend by replacing entire meals with a low-calorie smoothie can lead to malnutrition, disordered eating habits, weight cycling, and more. 

“Although oats are an ideal grain that promote satiety and [are] high in fiber, with some protein, [they are] not a replacement for a well-balanced meal that complements an active lifestyle with adequate sleep,” Shiara Ortiz-Pujols, MD, an obesity medicine physician at Staten Island University Hospital, tells MDLinx.

Many studies have demonstrated that regularly consuming oats leads to a reduction in body fat, body mass index (BMI), and waist-to-hip ratio.[] Oats also increase satiety after eating, which reduces hunger.

This effect can last for a few hours, according to Mir Ali, MD, a bariatric surgeon and Medical Director of MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA. In addition, oats help lower cholesterol and are an excellent source of fiber. 

While Dr. Ali believes oats may be a useful tool for limiting caloric intake and reducing obesity, consuming them as an oat-based smoothie isn’t anymore beneficial than eating plain oats. “I have not seen any clear scientific evidence that Oatzempic is better or worse than just simple oatmeal,” he says.

Oatzempic vs Ozempic

Eating oats keeps your appetite at bay for longer—Ozempic also decreases appetite. Semaglutide medications such as Ozempic, mimic the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1, affecting how the gastrointestinal tract and brain process food.[]

This delays gastric emptying, reduces appetite, and lessens energy intake. These effects are long-lasting—persisting for about a week—and therefore help people lose weight over time, according to Dr. Ali. 

While the sensations may be similar, oats do not have the same effect as Ozempic. “This drink may help you lose weight; however, to our knowledge, it is certainly not an effective treatment alternative to Ozempic,” Dr. Ali says.

The takeaway: Oats and, perhaps, Oatzempic, may be healthy snacks that promote weight management, but they shouldn’t be used as extreme weight loss solutions or as substitutes for prescription obesity medications. 

The 'Oatzempic diet' is not sustainable

According to Dr. Ali, the main concern with relying on oats—similar to many other weight loss fads—is sustainability: These aren’t meant to be a long-term weight-loss solution, given the potential for malnutrition and other negative health effects. Over time, people may get sick, become malnourished, and eventually gain the weight back, says Dr. Ortiz-Pujols.

She warns against relying on Oatzempic to lose weight, citing concerns about how some people may try this technique due to the medication shortage and/or inadequate insurance coverage for weight loss drugs.

“Limiting oneself to just ingesting oats, lime juice, water, and cinnamon is depriving people of so many of the essential nutrients that they need for optimal nutrition,” says Dr. Ortiz-Pujols.

Growing evidence highlights the health risks of fad dieting and weight cycling, or dramatic changes in weight, which can trigger serious health consequences.[] Eating and chewing food is a crucial part of a healthy relationship with food, according to Dr. Ortiz-Pujols. Drinking your calories can lead to a disordered relationship with food and accelerate the harms of weight cycling. 

“Oats can be an important part of a well-balanced and comprehensive weight loss strategy,” Dr. Ortiz-Pujols says. “However, a diet solely composed of oats is devoid of so many of the other nutrients necessary for optimal physical and mental health.”

What this means for you

Consuming only one type of food can result in things like malnutrition and disordered eating habits—this is why the trend of only drinking oat-based smoothies (aka, Oatzempic) is not a good replacement for semaglutide medications. However, for patients who are not able to access Ozempic, incorporating oats into a balanced diet can help your patients reach their weight-loss goals faster.

Read Next: Ozempic's off-label use creates buzz beyond Hollywood
Share with emailShare to FacebookShare to LinkedInShare to Twitter