TikTok’s Oatzempic Trend: A Nutritionist’s Take

By Ellie Smith

4 weeks ago

Here's why you should swerve the latest 'miracle drink'

As the Ozempic craze continues to sweep across Hollywood, a new so-called weight loss hack is doing the rounds on TikTok: the Oatzempic challenge. It involves drinking a specific oat drink as a meal replacement, and devotees are claiming it can help you lose a significant amount of weight – framing it as a natural alternative to the injectable drug Ozempic. But will it actually help you shed the pounds? And what are the problems with this kind of social media trend?

What Is The Oatzempic Challenge?

The Oatzempic challenge is a social media trend which TikTokers are claiming can help shed upwards of 40 pounds in two months. While the ‘guidelines’ vary, it generally involves drinking a concoction of half a cup of rolled oats with water and lime juice (sometimes with a dash of cinnamon) instead of breakfast every morning for 40 days. The name is a play on Ozempic, a drug used to treat diabetes which a string of celebrities have spoken openly about using for weight loss, including Amy Schumer, Oprah Winfrey and Rebel Wilson. 

Using Ozempic in this way remains a hotly debated, controversial issue, however when it comes to the Oatzempic trend, experts are pretty much agreed that it’s not a sustainable weight loss method. The issue isn’t the ingredients included in the drink oats are renowned for having a plethora of health benefits – but the message and mindset that underlies this kind of challenge. We asked nutritionist Kim Pearson, a specialists in weight loss, for her take.

What Does A Nutritionist Think?

What are your initial thoughts on the Oatzempic challenge?

My initial thoughts are that this does not sound like an appetising breakfast. Or one that I, as a nutritionist specialising in weight loss, would recommend for someone trying to lose weight.

Could the Oatzempic challenge help people lose weight?

If you’re in a calorie deficit, you’ll likely lose weight unless you have an underlying health issue causing weight loss resistance. However, while oats are a good source of fibre, I would recommend consuming protein and a moderate serving of healthy fats alongside oats to slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream. Protein is also important for preserving muscle mass while ensuring that weight lost is body fat. Adding protein, in the form of a high quality protein powder, to your oats will help to fill you up and keep you satisfied until lunch. 

What are the potential problems surrounding the challenge?

The problem lies in taking a reductionist approach to losing weight. Suggesting that one could achieve effective and lasting weight loss through simply swapping their normal breakfast to ‘oatzempic’ is wishful thinking. Most of the clients my team and I work with are educated, intelligent people. They understand the basics of healthy eating. Often their challenges around managing their weight extend beyond knowing that eating oats for breakfast is preferable to a high sugar, processed cereal. In order to achieve successful, long term weight loss, you need to address the root cause of an individual’s weight struggles. That could be a health issue like hypothyroidism, the menopause or chronic stress, or challenges with emotional or non-hunger eating, or a hectic lifestyle meaning it’s hard to prioritise taking care of yourself. Addressing the root cause is key.

If people are looking to lose weight sustainably, what would be your key tips?

  • Structure your meals around a portion of protein, a moderate serving of healthy fats and plenty of vegetables and salad. Avoid ultra processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugars. Keep a food diary in MyFitnessPal for a couple of weeks to ensure you are in a calorie deficit while still meeting your body’s nutritional needs.
  • Make healthy meals that taste good. Be creative. Finding healthy dishes you enjoy will help you stay consistent and ensure you don’t feel deprived.
  • Create accountability. Finding someone to be accountable to and making a plan for how they’ll hold you accountable can make a big difference.
  • Seek professional help. If you have struggled to lose weight in the past, or maintain a weight you’re happy, it’s a good idea to seek expert help. My team and I work with clients to support them in overcoming their weight challenges, achieving their desired weight and maintaining it long term. You can book a complimentary call with me here to find out more. 

Kim Pearson qualified as a nutritionist at London’s Institute for Optimum Nutrition in 2008 and has worked in the field of nutrition and health for 20 years. She specialises in weight loss, metabolic health, and longevity. Follow Kim on Instagram @kimmypearson and find out more about her work at kim-pearson.com.