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The Best Foods to Eat When Taking Saxenda

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The Best Foods to Eat When Taking Saxenda

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Key Takeaways

  • Saxenda is a prescription medication that helps with weight management.
  • Eating a balanced diet helps increase the effectiveness of Saxenda and boosts your health.
  • Foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich foods help support Saxenda’s benefits and may help you reach your health goals.

Saxenda is a GLP-1 medication that helps teens and adults manage their weight. When taking Saxenda, it is important to eat a balanced diet to help support the actions of this medication. While there are no foods you must avoid while taking Saxenda, some foods may hinder your health goals, decrease the benefits of Saxenda, or give you uncomfortable side effects. Learning how Saxenda works can help you make food choices that help you feel your best.


What Is Saxenda?

Saxenda is a brand-name GLP-1 medication that is a tool for managing weight. It is indicated for teens and adults.

Saxenda is an injectable medication that comes in pre-filled injection pens for daily administration. Injection sites include your thigh, upper arm, or stomach area. You can take Saxenda with food or on an empty stomach. The key is to take it at the same time each day. 

The Food and Drug Administration approved Saxenda in 2014 for long-term weight management in adults. In 2020, they also approved Saxenda for long-term weight management for teens 12 and older.

How Saxenda works

The active ingredient in Saxenda, liraglutide, mimics a naturally occurring hormone in your body known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This hormone’s job is to regulate appetite and digestion. 

Saxenda binds to the same receptors GLP-1 binds to and sends signals to your brain to reduce appetite, increase feelings of fullness, and slow digestion. 

Saxenda has three actions in your body:

  • Increase insulin secretion from your pancreas when you eat to help your blood sugar stay stable.
  • Slow down the rate at which food leaves your stomach, which helps you feel full for longer. 
  • Decrease the amount of glucose (sugar) your liver releases to help your blood remain stable and reduce blood sugar crashes and cravings throughout the day.

It is important to note that Saxenda is a tool that works alongside dietary and lifestyle changes. Without making certain changes, such as increasing your physical activity level and eating nutrient-rich foods, Saxenda may not help with your long-term weight management goals.

Best Foods to Eat While Taking Saxenda

When taking Saxenda, it is a good idea to follow a balanced diet to support the actions of the medication. This also reduces possible side effects and promotes your overall health. 

A balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich foods. These foods provide your body with the nutrients it needs while helping you feel full and satisfied.

By working with a professional dietitian from Nourish, you can develop a personalized eating plan that supports your weight management goals while taking Saxenda. 

Fruits and vegetables

Eating fruits and vegetables are highly suggested while taking Saxenda. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that support your body’s overall health and function. 

The amount of fruits and vegetables you need daily depends on your age, size, gender, and other factors. A licensed Nourish dietitian can help you develop an individualized plan based on your specific needs. 

Fruits and vegetables also contain a high amount of fiber. Fiber is especially important while taking Saxenda as it digests more slowly than other types of foods. This can help you feel full for longer periods of time and help prevent mindless eating. 

Fiber also helps regulate digestion and promotes gut health, which helps you feel better and work towards achieving your health goals. 

Whole grains

Eating whole grains is also important while taking Saxenda. Whole grains include foods such as:

  • Whole wheat bread.
  • Quinoa.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Brown rice.
  • Whole cornmeal.
  • Barley.

Whole grains are different from refined grains, which have part of their nutrition removed during the milling process. Removed nutrients may include fiber, iron, and B vitamins. Whole grains maintain their nutritional value and are better to eat while taking Saxenda.

Whole grains are a good source of B vitamins, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and several minerals. They help keep blood sugar levels more stable and also may help you feel full for longer due to the fiber content. These aspects make it a good food to eat with Saxenda to help you maintain your health.

How many grains you need to eat in a day depends on your age, gender, height, weight, and other factors. At least half the grains we eat should be whole grains. A Nourish dietitian can help you develop an individualized plan based on your specific needs. 

Protein-rich foods

Eating protein is also important while you take Saxenda. Protein is an essential nutrient for functions such as building and repairing muscles and promoting immune function. 

Protein-rich foods include:

  • Meat.
  • Poultry.
  • Seafood.
  • Eggs.
  • Nuts and Seeds.
  • Beans, Peas, and Lentils.
  • Soy Products.

Choosing lean sources of protein helps minimize your saturated fat intake, which helps support Saxenda’s actions. 

How much protein you need to eat each day depends on several factors. An individualized plan can be developed with the help of a Nourish dietitian.

When selecting your proteins, try and choose a variety of proteins rather than eating the same type of protein. For example, try adding beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds to your diet rather than just focusing on meat proteins. Eating several types of proteins helps your body meet its nutritional needs

The Importance of Eating Satisfying Meals

Eating satisfying meals is important while taking Saxenda. Because Saxenda works to reduce your appetite and promote feelings of fullness it is important to choose foods that will help you feel full for longer periods of time. 

Meals that are high in fiber, protein, and include healthy fats can be particularly satisfying as they take longer to digest and promote your well-being. This may help you stay away from mindless snacking throughout the day.

Incorporating a variety of textures and flavors into your meals can help make them more satisfying and enjoyable. This may help enhance your journey to better health.

Side Effects of Saxenda

The most common side effects of Saxenda include:

  • Changes in bowel movements such as diarrhea or constipation.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Skin reaction at the injection site.
  • Low blood sugar.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Change in lipase (an enzyme) levels in your blood.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Serious allergic reaction: Symptoms may include swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, problems breathing or swallowing, severe itching or rash, rapid heartbeat, and feeling dizzy or faint. This is a medical emergency, call 911.
  • Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, symptoms may include dizziness, light-headedness, blurred vision, irritability, anxiety, mood changes, slurred speech, sweating, hunger, confusion or drowsiness, shakiness, weakness, headache, fast heartbeat, or feeling jittery. This is a medical emergency, call 911.
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis): Symptoms may include stomach pain that may radiate to the back with or without vomiting.
  • Gallbladder problems: Symptoms may include upper stomach pain, fever, yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), or clay-colored stool.
  • Kidney problems (kidney failure): Symptoms may include decreased urination, dark urine, and swelling in the lower legs.
  • Increase in heart rate: Symptoms may include heart racing or pounding that may last for several minutes.
  • Depression or thoughts of suicide: Symptoms may include changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. 

Call your doctor right away if you have thoughts of harming yourself or are experiencing symptoms of a serious side effect.

Certain people should not take Saxenda. These include:

  • People with an allergy to liraglutide or any of the other ingredients in Saxenda.
  • People with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC).
  • People with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
  • People who are planning to be pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding.


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