The New Weight Loss Drugs | A Complete Guide


You may have heard just a few people talking about the new weight loss drugs… Well, maybe it’s a bit more than a few. The new medications are being hailed as a total revolution, reversing decades of common knowledge and putting people on the fast track to a healthier life. But there’s a lot to learn about this new class of drugs, and we’re here to share that knowledge today.

Glucagon-like peptide-1, often abbreviated as GLP-1, is a naturally occurring hormone produced by specialized cells in your small intestine. It plays a multifaceted role in your digestive system, acting as a key regulator of several important functions.

Check out our EatLove x YouFit webinar all about weight management with GLP-1s!

Here’s a breakdown of GLP-1’s primary actions:

Appetite Control

GLP-1 acts like a natural appetite suppressant in several ways:

Slowing gastric emptying: After you eat, your stomach takes time to digest and release the food into your small intestine. GLP-1 slows down this process, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Imagine your stomach as a balloon: GLP-1 keeps it inflated for a longer duration, sending satiety signals to your brain.

Increasing satiety hormones: GLP-1 stimulates the production of hormones like peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) which further enhance feelings of fullness and satisfaction. These hormones act as messengers to your brain, essentially telling it “I’m good, stop eating!”

Reducing hunger hormones: GLP-1 also suppresses the production of ghrelin, often referred to as the “hunger hormone.” Ghrelin stimulates your appetite and makes you feel hungry. By lowering ghrelin levels, GLP-1 reduces your desire to eat, particularly between meals.

Reward centers: Studies suggest GLP-1 may influence areas of the brain associated with reward and motivation, making food less appealing and reducing cravings for high-calorie, sugary treats.

This multifaceted approach to appetite control is what makes GLP-1 such a powerful tool for weight management. It not only keeps you feeling full for longer but also reduces your overall desire to eat, making it easier to stick to a healthy diet and calorie deficit for weight loss.

Blood Sugar Control

GLP-1 acts like a conductor for your blood sugar orchestra. It stimulates the release of insulin from your pancreas, the hormone responsible for ushering glucose (blood sugar) out of your bloodstream and into your cells, where it’s used for energy.

Additionally, GLP-1 suppresses the release of glucagon, a hormone that raises blood sugar levels when needed. This dual effect helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Insulin Secretion

GLP-1 isn’t just a trigger for insulin release; it also enhances the efficiency with which your body produces and utilizes insulin. This improved insulin action further contributes to effective blood sugar control.

How GLP-1 Drugs Work

Since GLP-1 has such a significant impact on weight management and blood sugar regulation, scientists have developed medications that mimic its effects. These medications are called GLP-1 receptor agonists

They work by binding to GLP-1 receptors throughout your body, essentially tricking your body into thinking it has more natural GLP-1 circulating. This triggers the same beneficial effects as natural GLP-1, including reduced appetite, improved blood sugar control, and ultimately, weight loss. 

GLP-1 receptor agonists are a class of FDA-approved prescription medications used for weight management in adults with certain criteria, often in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program.

A smiling father doing pushups, weight loss training in a gym with his happy son on his back.

Top GLP-1 Weight Loss Drugs

Of the top eight weight loss medications in this class, two made by Novo Nordisk have the active ingredient semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) and two contain liraglutide (Victoza and Saxenda). The remaining four contenders are all made by Eli Lilly and Company: Rybelsus and Bydureon (liraglutide again), Trulicity (dulaglutide) and finally Mounjaro (tirzepatide).

Benefits and Risks of GLP-1 Weight Loss Drugs

GLP-1 receptor agonists have been shown to be effective for weight loss, with studies demonstrating an average weight loss of 5-10% of body weight. In addition to weight loss, these medications can offer other potential benefits, including:

  • Improved blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular events
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Even better sleep quality, in certain circumstances

GLP-1 receptor agonists are generally well-tolerated, but can cause side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache

These side effects are usually mild and temporary, but it’s important to discuss them with your doctor to determine if GLP-1 medication is right for you.

Weight Loss Success is a Matter of Balance

In addition to considering GLP-1 medications, a full lifestyle change will be necessary to see and keep results. Here are the rest of the weight loss tasks to improve your overall health:

  1. Focus on eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  2. Limit processed foods, sugary drinks and unhealthy fats.
  3. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week.
  4. Make sustainable lifestyle changes you can stick with over the long term.

By following these tips and working with your doctor, you can achieve your weight loss goals and improve your health without any drastic consequences or side effects.

Important Considerations

GLP-1 receptor agonists are not a magic bullet for weight loss. They are most effective when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program like those we can help you build at YouFit.

They are also not suitable for everyone. People with a history of pancreatitis, gastroparesis or certain types of tumors should not take GLP-1 medications.

This article isn’t medical advice and doesn’t fit every circumstance. If you are considering GLP-1 weight loss medication, it is important to talk to your doctor. They can help you determine if this type of medication is appropriate for your individual needs and health history.

GLP-1 receptor agonists are a promising new approach to weight management, but they are not right for everyone. It is important to weigh the potential benefits and risks with your doctor to see if they are a good fit, and remember: taking care of your body is a lifetime responsibility. There are no real shortcuts.

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