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Vial of Ozempic against blue and white background

Chewing gum for 30 minutes might have similar effects to Ozempic, research suggests

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Top dietitian turned TikTok star Abbey Sharp shared with her 799.4k followers that chewing gum is said to trigger the release of appetite suppressant GLP-1 , the same hormone responsible for weight loss in Ozempic users.

We’re in the midst of an Ozempic boom, with roughly nine million prescriptions for the drug being written every three months in the US, according to data collected by Trilliant Health.

The drug, reportedly used by celebrities like Sharon Osbourne (who has been open about her use of it), technically isn’t ‘allowed’ to be prescribed for weight loss in the UK and is only licensed in the UK as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, after it experienced increased demand in July of last year.

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The British government tried to intervene so that those in medical need of the drug (Ozempic was initially crafted for the management of type 2 diabetes, a potentially life-threatening condition), could get access to the medication. However, a loophole that sees doctors being allowed to prescribe drugs they think may benefit their patients means that those with more money and the means for private healthcare can still access Ozempic for weight-loss purposes.

Elsewhere, people are turning to illegal websites and cheaper versions of the drug to get their fix, with one woman ‘almost dying’ after purchasing ‘skinny jabs’ online, as reported by The Sun.

With Ozempic becoming increasingly more costly and harder to get hold of in the UK, many people are turning to the internet to see if there’s any way to mimic its benefits without the side effects and price tag.

In a video that received 10.4k likes on TikTok, dietitian Abbey Sharp addressed claims that chewing gum might have similar appetite curbing effects to the weight-loss drug. But is it true? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Ozempic?

To better understand the claims that chewing gum and Ozempic have similar effects, it’s important to understand how Ozempic works.

“Ozempic is the trade name for Semaglutide, which belongs to a class of drugs referred to as GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) agonists,” says Dr Masud Haq, consultant endocrinologist at AM Aesthetics. “GLP-1 is a gut peptide that’s released in response to the ingestion of food. Semaglutide is a synthetic version of this peptide.”

Dr Masud explains that Ozempic and other similar drugs work by suppressing appetite and promoting a feeling of fullness.

“The obesity brand of Semaglutide, called Wegovy, can lead to weight loss of approximately 15% according to clinical trials,” says Dr Masud. “Ozempic can also contribute to weight loss, but to a lesser extent.”

Wegovy is another form of Semaglutide, just like Ozempic, but was launched by the same company behind Ozempic, Novo Nordisk, after demand for the drug for weight-loss purposes soared. Essentially, they work in similar ways, however Wegovy is generally the preferred drug for treating obesity, while Ozempic tends to be referred for type 2 diabetes control, especially in the UK.

Is Ozempic safe?

As with any drug or weight-loss treatment, there can be side effects. According to the official Ozempic website, the most commonly reported side effects include nausea, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, constipation and vomiting.

“Semaglutide prescribed as either Ozempic or Wegovy is generally safe and effective, providing it’s prescribed to the appropriate individuals,” says Dr Masud. “To lessen the risk of side effects, the drug should be started at a low dose and then gradually increased in a stepwise manner up to the maximum dose if tolerated.”

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@abbeyskitchen Replying to @ryennebe Is CHEWING GUM the OG OZEMPIC?! #weightloss #chewinggum #weightlosshacks #ozempicweightloss #glp1forweightloss ♬ original sound – Abbey Sharp

What’s the link between Ozempic and chewing gum?

In a video posted in response to a question from her followers, dietitian Abbey Sharp said: “Early small studies suggest that, yes, chewing gum can help to stimulate GLP-1 in the gut, which is responsible for the appetite reduction seen on drugs like Ozempic.”

She went on to add that another study showed fullness levels were “significantly greater” and hunger levels were lower in people that chewed gum for 30 minutes per day, compared to those who didn’t. According to Abbey, these findings are consistent with other studies that show that chewing gum can help curb certain cravings.

It’s worth noting, though, that the difference in hunger between participants who chewed gum and those who didn’t only reached levels of 20%. Abbey also states that as the study only measured hunger levels over a course of 30 minutes, it’s likely that hunger would peak after another half an hour or so.

Is chewing gum an effective weight-loss aid?

Abbey starts off her video by saying: “I was hesitant to respond to this question as I think it has the potential to encourage very disordered behaviours.

“This study is by no means suggesting that chewing a stick of gum will fill you up. You’re still going to be hungry if you’ve eaten nothing at all. Please don’t take this research as an invitation to chew gum all day instead of actually eating, but rather, if you like gum and are on a weight-loss journey, it might help you stay on track to maintain a healthy, modest calorie deficit.”

Preliminary research published by the National Library of Medicine found that chewing food slowly and thoroughly helps to control the appetite, which can be beneficial in those trying to lose weight.

Abbey ends the video saying: “More importantly, what I hope you get out of this is to chew your damn food .”

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