What is ‘oatzempic’? Experts weigh in on weight loss drink trend

▶ Watch Video: How Ozempic, other weight-loss drugs are “changing medicine”

Another weight loss trend is making its rounds on social media — this time in the form of a drink called “oatzempic.” The name combines a reference to oats, one of the drink’s ingredients, with a play on Ozempic, the diabetes drug that’s become popular for weight loss — even though there’s no prescription medication involved.

Some TikTok users claim the drink — made with oats, water and lime juice — can help someone lose up to 40 pounds in as little as 2 months. Experts, however, say to be wary of any trend that promises to purge pounds fast.

Lisa Valente, a registered dietitian and nutrition editor at Healthline, calls the trend “clever marketing for something that has no merit behind it.”

“Blended oat drinks are not the same as prescription drugs. It also seems like a dangerous trend that promotes disordered eating and isn’t nutritionally sound or based in science,” she told CBS News.

Maggie Evans, a registered dietitian and care specialist with virtual cardiometabolic care platform 9amHealth, calls the trend an “extreme measure.”

“As we’ve seen before, whether it’s Master Cleanse, water fasts or other extreme diets, these (trends) may result in short-term weight loss results, but aren’t the healthiest or most sustainable way to achieve that weight loss,” she says.

TikTok has not blocked the term and hashtag (a step it appears to have taken for some other body image-related trends like “legging legs”), but when you search for “oatzempic” on the app, a banner appears saying “you are more than your weight,” with links to resources.

Rapid weight loss issues

“Fast weight loss can be possible when you restrict calories significantly, and this drink is quite low in calories, so if you are using it as a meal replacement, it may lead to fast weight loss,” Valente explains. “However, I wouldn’t recommend it because it is not a safe way to lose weight.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people who take the approach of gradual, steady weight loss are more likely to keep the weight off than people who lose weight quickly.

“If a person stops the oatzempic diet, they’re likely to regain the weight they lost and may end up in a yo-yo dieting cycle,” says Dr. Avantika Waring, an endocrinologist and chief medical officer of 9amHealth. “We know that medically, losing and regaining weight repeatedly can actually make sustaining a healthy weight harder.”

Waring says rapid weight loss can also result in:

  • Loss of lean muscle tissue
  • Hair loss
  • An impact to the body’s ability to regulate body temperature
  • Irritability

“Underfueling the body can also lead to constipation, dehydration, dizziness and menstrual irregularities,” she says.

But, aren’t oats healthy?

Yes, oats are a heart-healthy whole grain that can be part of a balanced diet, experts say, and their high fiber content can also help us feel satisfied and fuller longer. But they’re no “magic solution” for weight loss.

“We don’t have any data to suggest it is effective for weight loss, and it’s likely that having a blended oat drink for breakfast would be as healthy as eating a bowl of oatmeal without added sugars or topped with just fresh fruit — which might also taste better!” Waring says.

Plus, experts note the oatzempic drink is missing key nutrients like protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.

“There are other safer, healthier ways to lose weight that involve making small changes to your diet and don’t remove entire foods or food groups,” Valente says.

Weight loss “hacks” on social media

In general, false or misleading information can be rampant on social media. Experts say they’ve seen increased misinformation regarding weight loss in the past year, specifically related to the interest in drugs like Ozempic.

“Everything from ‘nature’s Ozempic’ — aka berberine, an ineffective and potentially dangerous supplement — to overblown, fear-inducing side effects like ‘Ozempic face’ and ‘Ozempic butt,'” Dr. James Wantuck, co-founder and chief medical officer of PlushCare, previously told CBS News.

Nutrition is also a nuanced topic, Valente adds, making it difficult to explain in a short, 10-second clip online.

“If you have questions about what you eat, I always recommend speaking with a health care professional rather than consulting social media,” she says.

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