Just like nothing good happens after 10 pm at your company’s holiday party, nothing good happens when weight loss advice starts trending on TikTok. The latest debacle? A weight loss trend sweeping TikTok has now led to shortages of an essential diabetes drug.
We have talked about diabetes many times on the Daily Tonic. Still, it is worth reiterating that the disease is a big deal in the U.S. While some cases of type 2 diabetes can be reversed through diet and lifestyle changes, there are still 37.3 million Americans that rely on different types of diabetes medication to manage their blood sugar.
One diabetes drug, Ozempic, is a weekly injection that helps boost insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. The drug also suppresses appetite, which leads to weight loss. For years, there have been rumors of celebrities using Ozempic off-label to lose weight, and now the trend is catching fire on the internet.
It all started earlier this year when Kim Kardashian shed significant weight to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress for the Met Gala. Immediately, rumors began spreading that she had used Ozempic to shed those pounds.
Soon, magazines started calling Ozempic “the worst kept secret in Hollywood,” alleging that movie stars and celebrities regularly used the diabetes drug to lose weight in short periods of time. Videos on TikTok hashtagged #ozempic have now amassed more than 275 million views. Even more troubling, the hashtag #ozempicweightloss has more than 110 million views.
Over 42% of Americans are obese, and many more are overweight. These trends are also increasingly impacting younger age groups, and those generations are looking at TikTok and other social media outlets for help.
Does Ozempic actually cause weight loss?
So is this a viable weight loss solution for some people, or is it just another troubling TikTok trend that is doing more harm than good? Based on the available research, the drug is considered safe. For patients with diabetes and obesity, it can be a great weight loss tool to both help regulate their blood sugar and promote weight loss.
The problem is that now many people are using Ozempic even when they don’t need it. In Hollywood, people use it to lose a few pounds and go from a size 2 to a size 0. Meanwhile, there is someone with type 2 diabetes and 100 lbs overweight that could benefit from the drug, and they are now having trouble finding it.
Due to increased demand and ongoing supply chain disruptions, starter doses of Ozempic are expected to have minimal availability through January.
The key takeaway? As we roll into the beginning of the year, weight loss will be top of mind for many people, and social media will be full of shortcut solutions that seem too good to be true. For most people, healthy and sustainable weight loss is simple and does not require using off-label drugs you heard about on TikTok.
What’s the real way to lose weight and keep it off? Eat mostly unprocessed, whole foods; sleep 7-9 hours a night; drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water daily; and exercise 3-4 times a week. That recommendation may not get millions of views on TikTok, but it works for millions of healthy people.
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