The groundbreaking weight-loss drug Wegovy is causing users to hate the taste of their favorite treats.
Americans prescribed the once-a-week injection say they have become suddenly repulsed by coffee and certain candies and fast food.
Wegovy and its sister drug Ozempic, which both use the active drug semaglutide, work by replicating hormones that tell the brain it is full.
These hormones are meant to make a person feel full and reduce cravings. But for people like Staci Rice, 40, of Georgia, they have ruined some of their simple pleasures in life.
Ms Rice had been a daily coffee drinker since seventh grade before using Wegovy to lose 50 pounds in six months. Now she cannot keep a cup down.
She told Insider two of her past favorite treats, a fried-chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A and Kit-Kat bars have also become repulsive to her.
Kait Morris, a TikToker with over 6,000 followers, said that she could no longer eat a full plate of food and only wanted smoothies after using the drug.
Reddit users on a forum dedicated to discussing the drug also complain of not being able to eat their favorite snacks anymore, with one even saying that all food tastes ‘yuck’ now.
Experts these taste distortions occur because the drug alters the brain’s ability to tell what is going into a person’s mouth – causing a taste disorder called dysgeusia.
The condition causes certain food and drink to seem sweet, sour, bitter, or metallic.
Wegovy has become a highly-sought after drug since it first became available in the US last year. It showed the ability to drop a person’s body weight by around 15 per cent over 68 weeks in clinical trials.
Famous users include Elon Musk, who credited Wegovy for his body transformation on Twitter. Kim Kardashian is also rumored to have used the injections.
Staci Rice (left), 40, said that she can no longer stomach coffee or Kit-Kats after using Wegovy. Kait Morris (right) said that Ozempic hurt her relationship with food. Her issues with taste have since passed, she said
Ms Rice (pictured) lost 50pounds on Wegovy after using it for the last six months
Wegovy is a GLP-1 drug that has been heralded for its value as a weight loss supplement.
‘Every morning, I would try to make coffee, thinking that one day it would just taste good to me again,’ Ms Rice said.
She was also a fan of the the ‘Number 1’ meal at Chick-fil-A, a 440 calorie fried chicken sandwich with 1,400grams of sodium and 6grams of sugar.
The meal is no longer appealing to her, with the fast food chain’s kale salad now being her order of choice.
Kit-Kats, which she says were her previous favorite Halloween treat, have an indescribably bad taste for her. All chocolate tastes unpalatable to her now.
She cannot stomach ground beef either, removing it from the dinner lineup at home to the chagrin of her husband.
WHAT IS WEGOVY?
Wegovy is the brand name for a drug called semaglutide.
A 1mg dose of semaglutide is already approved in the UK as a treatment for people with type 2 diabetes.
But studies have found a 2.4mg of the drug works effectively as a weight loss drug.
It works by triggering the body to produce a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 that is released naturally from the intestines after meals.
The hormone helps control blood sugar and makes people feel full so they know when to stop eating.
Results from a study of 2,000 people over 15 months show participants lost 15 per cent of their body weight on average, equating to 15.3kg.
The group received individual counselling sessions from registered dietitians to help them stick to a reduced-calorie diet and exercise plan, alongside the weekly injections.
Volunteers reported improvement in their quality of life and a reduction in risk factors for developing heart disease and diabetes, such as reduced waist circumference, blood fats, blood sugar and blood pressure.
But the drug triggered side effects include mild or moderate nausea and diarrhoea, but researchers said these were short-lasting and resolved themselves.
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) drug that mimics the effects of the hormone that is naturally produced in a person’s stomach and pancreas.
These hormones signal to the brain that it does not need to eat. This reduces a person’s appetite and reduces food cravings.
It also slows down the emptying of the stomach and increases the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas.
Ozempic, the first formulation of the drug manufactured by Novo Nordisk, was initially designed to help diabetics manage their condition.
Those who used the drug also experienced significant weight loss as well, though.
This led to the Danish firm reformulating the drug into the Wegovy, which is approved for weight loss.
Common side-effects of the drug include nausea, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.
It is used via weekly injection into the thigh, arm or stomach.
Some users are reporting symptoms like Ms Rice’s, though, where their relationship to food has been significantly altered.
Ms Morris has thousands of followers on her TikTok account where she discusses her use of Ozempic and shares updates on her weight loss journey.
‘I miss eating. I miss going out to restaurants. I miss ordering a normal plate of food,’ she said during a video posted in September.
She also said she could no longer eat meat and now only has cravings for smoothies.
During a video posted on October 14, Ms Morris said she skipped her weekly injection as some of her side effects were ‘really intense’. She added that she is still committed to take the weekly shot.
Over the nine months she has used the drug she has lost 65 pounds.
Ms Morris also added during a video posted last week that she is in a ‘very good place’ with food as some of her side-effects have subsided.
On the Reddit forum r/Ozempic, users have highlighted their struggles with food born from use of the drug.
‘Ozempic seems to have changed my tastebuds. Suddenly everything tastes … yuck,’ one user wrote in a thread over summer.
‘…Especially meat. It tastes really bad to me and I previously loved meat. The idea of a steak now make me nauseous. I previously loved food—I rarely ate anything I didn’t like. The taste is just … off.
‘Sweet things are way way way too sweet—almost repulsive. The only thing that is still delicious is fruit and sour things which I crave like never before.’
Another user shared that they ‘miss enjoying’ food as they now take no enjoyment out of eating.
‘Food is gross for me too. Eating is just weird. Either I am starving and everything is gross or I am sick to my stomach and can’t eat,’ another Reddit user said.
Because of the relatively new nature of this class of drugs, there is no research available as to how they effect the brain in a way that would damage taste.
Sr Ed Walker, chief scientist at Plant Food Research, a New Zealand government-funded institution, told DailyMail.com it could be related to how the drug is taken.
Because injections are taken once a week, the body will have days where its levels of GLP-1 hormones are significantly spiked.
This is unnatural – as the body only releases hormones as they are needed. Resulting hormonal imbalances could lead to odd side-effects like altered taste.
Dr Lynnette McCluskey, a neuroscience professor at Augusta University, in Georgia, told Insider that the altered signals are messing with a person’s brain.
‘Once you start messing with all those signals — and it may be different from day to day, or when you took the drug — you really have a lot of potential for dysgeusia, or taste distortions,’ she said.
Ozempic helps overweight children shrink their BMI by nearly a FIFTH
A repurposed diabetes drug given as a once-a-week shot could knock nearly a fifth off an obese child’s weight, a study has found.
Minors aged 12 to 17 years old who were given semaglutide — brand name Wegovy — lost 14 per cent of their body weight on average in 16 months.
This translated to a 16 per cent of their body mass index (BMI), a measure of bodyfat based on height and weight. One in four lost shrunk their BMI by a fifth.
For comparison, a control group given counselling and advice on diets and exercise gained 2.4 per cent more weight in the same period and their BMI rose by 0.6 per cent.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota who ran the trial said the drug was the ‘most highly effective anti-obesity medication for teenagers’ to date.
Participants came to them ‘in tears’ they were so happy with the results, with one participant saying the drug made her ‘feel better within my own skin’.
Scientists hope their results will ensure the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the drug for use in children, opening up other avenues for weight loss.
The US is in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic, with one in five teens already considered obese, or 14.7million people.
raising the risk of conditions later in life including diabetes and heart disease.
Wegovy — which stimulates areas of the brain that help people feel full after eating — is currently only approved for adults over 18 in the US.
One weight-loss injection — liraglutide — is allowed to be used in children, but this must be given once a day.