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March 11, 2024

What to Eat When Taking Rybelsus for Weight Loss and Diabetes Management: Meal Plan Edition

Table of Contents

Balancing your diet alongside Rybelsus can be improved by maintaining a steady carbohydrate intake throughout the day. This dietary approach emphasizes replacing added sugars and heavily processed foods with wholesome, high-fiber, and low-glycemic carbohydrate options. All of which promote better glycemic control. We will talk about what you should consider adding to your meal plan when on Rybelsus.

You will see lean proteins taking center stage while saturated fats and sodium are reduced. This will support blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. While taking Rybelsus, opt for weight loss-friendly foods such as lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains packed with fiber, beneficial fats, and probiotic-rich options. All which we discuss how to crowd in later on in this article!

If you want to learn how to eat while on Rybelsus you can get my free 7-day meal plan by clicking here.

Meal plan when on Rybelsus

Understanding Rybelsus and Its Role in Diabetes Management

Rybelsus is a brand name for a medication called semaglutide, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It belongs to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. They work by helping the body produce more insulin and reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver.

Rybelsus is administered through the use of a tablet which is different than the other semaglutides. Rybelsus can help with weight loss but it’s not FDA-approved for that use. The way Rybelsus works is:

  1. It prompts your pancreas to increase insulin secretion in response to elevated blood sugar levels.
  2. It inhibits excessive sugar production and release from your liver.
  3. It decelerates the process of food exiting your stomach post-meal ingestion.

What is Rybelsus Used For? 

Rybelsus is not FDA-approved for weight loss. However, it’s a common “side effect.” After 6 months, patients taking 7 mg lost 2.4% of their body weight and 14 mg lost 3.4% of their body weight.

Rybelsus (semaglutide) is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. As mentioned, it helps to lower blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin release, slowing down stomach emptying, and reducing appetite.

Why Do I Need to Take Rybelsus 30 minutes before eating?

Taking Rybelsus 30 minutes before eating is important for a couple of reasons:

  1. Optimizing Absorption: Taking Rybelsus before a meal allows it to be absorbed properly into your system. By taking it before eating, the drug has time to start working before your meal. This helps in controlling blood sugar levels after eating.
  2. Reducing Side Effects: Some people experience gastrointestinal side effects like nausea or vomiting when starting Rybelsus. Taking it before a meal may help reduce these side effects, as the drug is absorbed gradually while you eat.

Foods to Eat When Taking Rybelsus: Meal Plan

What I find beneficial to emphasize with my patients are the foods we aim to “crowd” into our diet. Below are just a few examples of those concepts, which can be further enriched with spices and olive oil-based sauces. These additions not only add flavor but also enhance the appeal of foods, giving them that extra zest.

  • Low-Glycemic Index Foods
Low-glycemic foods when you are on Rybelsus

High glycemic foods are those that cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels after consumption. This spike is due to the quick breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates in these foods. Leading to a sudden increase in glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream.

Low-glycemic foods encompass a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as apples, berries, broccoli, and spinach, which are abundant in fiber and essential nutrients. Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans are also low-glycemic due to their high fiber and protein content. Moreover, whole grains like quinoa, barley, and steel-cut oats provide sustained energy.

All of which have a reduced impact on blood glucose levels compared to refined grains.

  • Fruits and Vegetables
Fruit & Vegetables for when you are on Rybelsus

Low glycemic fruits and vegetables include berries (such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries), leafy greens (like spinach, kale, lettuce), broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers. These foods have minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Making them suitable choices for individuals managing diabetes or aiming for stable energy levels.

They are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, supporting digestive health, immune function, and overall well-being. Low-glycemic fruits and vegetables may help in weight management by promoting satiety and reducing cravings for high-calorie foods. Incorporating them into meals can contribute to improved blood sugar control, reducing the risk of insulin resistance and related complications.

  • Lean Proteins
Lean proteins for when you are on Rybelsus

Protein sources can help lower the glycemic index of a meal by slowing down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. When protein is consumed alongside carbohydrates, it slows the rate at which glucose enters the bloodstream. Thereby reducing the glycemic response.

Foods rich in protein, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, tofu, and legumes, can increase feelings of fullness and satiety. All of which may help control appetite and prevent overeating of high-glycemic foods. By stabilizing blood sugar levels, protein-rich foods can assist in managing insulin sensitivity and reducing the risk of insulin spikes and crashes.

Adding protein is an essential nutrient to add to your meal plan while on Rybelsus. It prevents muscle loss while on the medication and keeps your metabolism running!

  • Fiber and Probiotic Rich Foods
High fiber & probiotic rich foods when on Rybelsus

Whole grains are excellent choices for individuals seeking low glycemic foods due to their complex carbohydrate structure, which slows down digestion and prevents rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. Unlike refined grains, whole grains retain their fiber, vitamins, and minerals, offering sustained energy and promoting satiety.

Examples of low-glycemic whole grains include quinoa, barley, bulgur, brown rice, and oats. These foods release glucose into the bloodstream more gradually. Helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of insulin resistance.

Whole grains and fiber-filled foods naturally have probiotic and prebiotic properties that support gut health. Studies have indicated that certain strains of probiotics may help lower fasting blood sugar levels and improve glycemic control in individuals with diabetes.

  • Healthy Anti-Inflammatory Fats
Healthy Anti-inflammatory foods when on Rybelsus

Healthy fats are an important component of a balanced diet for individuals taking Rybelsus. While Rybelsus primarily focuses on managing blood sugar levels, incorporating healthy fats can contribute to overall health and well-being. Sources of healthy fats include avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon and trout.

These fats provide essential fatty acids that support heart health, brain function, and inflammation regulation. When consumed in moderation, healthy fats can also help improve insulin sensitivity and promote satiety, which may aid in weight management.

However, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes, as fats are calorie-dense at 9 calories per gram versus protein which is 4 calories per gram. This is why the meal plan down below provides healthy fat ingredients when you’re taking Rybelsus.

Foods to Limit or Avoid When On Rybelsus

Look, it’s not to say you have to stay away from all these foods forever! What we want to do is optimize our blood sugar control efforts while on the medication. These are food types that we want to consider limiting as part of our diet when on Rybelsus.

  • High-Sugar Foods and Refined Carbohydrates. Consumables containing added sugars, such as snack items, pastries, biscuits, sweets, carbonated beverages, and energy drinks, are linked to increased weight and inadequate glucose regulation.
  • Unhealthy Fats: Consuming abundant quantities of fried delicacies, such as fried chicken, French fries, and onion rings, may amplify the potential adverse effects of Rybelsus. Fried fare tends to linger in the digestive system longer, potentially leading to feelings of nausea or gastrointestinal unease. When you eat a lot of fried foods it’s linked to weight gain and heightened susceptibility to heart disease. Largely owing to their elevated levels of saturated fats.
  • Processed Foods. Foods highly processed like packaged snacks, frozen meals, and sodas usually contain high levels of calories, salt, saturated fats, and/or added sugars. All of which can have adverse effects on our health and hinder our weight loss efforts.

Sample Rybelsus Meal Plan

Rybelsus Foods To Eat for Weight Loss

Sometimes it’s hard to envision what a diet plan would look like when on Rybelsus. But I have you covered with a meal plan will give you some ideas!  Below is a sample day for my 7-day 1500-calorie meal plan, which you can get here for free to follow along!

  • Breakfast: Chia Oats with Kiwi (231 calories)
  • Snack 1: Cucumber, Blackberries & Hummus Snack Box (188 calories)
  • Lunch: Chicken & Asparagus Pesto Pasta (456 calories)
  • Dinner: One Pan Salmon with Green Beans & Roasted Tomato with Brown rice (430 calories)
  • Snack 2: Applesauce, Coconut Yogurt & Strawberries (182 calories)

If you need some inspiration you can get all those recipes and the FREE full meal plan by clicking here.

Meal plan when on Rybelsus

Regular Monitoring of Blood Sugar Levels

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends regular blood sugar monitoring for individuals with diabetes as an essential component of managing the condition.

The ADA recommends target blood sugar ranges for individuals with diabetes, which may vary depending on factors such as age, overall health, and the presence of other medical conditions. Generally, the target ranges for blood sugar levels are:

  • Fasting or right when you wake up: 80-130 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter)
  • About 90 to 120 minutes after meals: Less than 180 mg/dL

I encourage my patients to check their blood sugar at least two times a day. One should be a morning fasting and 90-120 minutes after alternating meals. This way we can capture how your body responds to food and medication. If you exercise or are on your menstrual cycle these all impact your blood sugar!

Communication with Healthcare Providers

Yes, it’s great to track all of this data but it’s not just for you! It’s such a great communication tool for other healthcare providers who are helping you to manage your blood sugars.

I’ve had it where patients were very hesitant to add more medication to their plan but we did everything we could to support a healthy lifestyle. It can be very life-changing when you have the right pieces to allow for blood sugar control and weight loss. Once those are in control, conversations can be had with your healthcare team about reducing some medication, if appropriate!

That data you collect over time is a communication tool for them. Give them meals, days you exercise, when you take your medication, times, and even when you’re stressed. This way patterns can be tracked to support you and your blood sugar.

It’s always advised to seek medical help with any medication adjustments, additions or other patterns of eating to support your health.

Gradual Changes and Seeking Support for Weight Loss and Diabetes Management

The one piece of advice I can give is to not give up! This is why I’m a huge advocate for tracking your food intake, and blood sugars. This way you can see what your body needs and match it to the medication. If you need a healthcare team consider a registered dietitian, endocrinologist, and psychologist to support you on this journey!

Just in case you missed it I created a FREE 1500 calorie meal plan while you’re on Rybelsus. It takes everything that we spoke about in this article and applies it. You can get it here!

**Always seek professional medical advice, as the information presented is not a substitute for professional health. Consulting healthcare professionals before making any significant dietary changes, especially when managing diabetes with medication is important!

What are the side effects to taking Rybelsus?

Some of the listed side effects may include, nausea, stomach (abdominal) pain, diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting, and constipation. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are most common when you first start. Another typical side effect like other semaglutides includes reduced hunger because it slows gastric emptying and reducing intestinal movement, resulting in decreased appetite.

What are other lifestyle tips I should consider when on Rybelsus?

When taking any medication, it’s crucial to prioritize several aspects: being mindful of your eating habits and responding to your hunger cues, engaging in regular physical activity to promote muscle development, ensuring you get adequate sleep, and effectively managing stress levels. These practices collectively contribute to optimizing the effectiveness of medication and maintaining overall well-being.

What happens when you take Rybelsus with food?

It can lower the effectiveness of the drug.

Can you take Rybelsus if you are not a diabetic?

Right now Rybelsus is only prescribed to those who are living with type 2 diabetes. Rybelsus is not FDA approved for weight loss.

What does a meal plan look like when on Rybelsus?

The best place to start is by first selecting a whole fruit or vegetable to fill half your plate, then selecting a lean protein to take up about 1-quarter of your plate. Finally, select a high-fiber starch. You can also access the meal plan here.

Christa is a media dietitian and nutrition consultant in the New York City area. She works with various brands and has been featured in dozens of outlets such as Women’s Health, EatingWell, and Peoples Magazine as a nutrition expert. Being a fact checker for EatingWell Magazine and a Medical Reviewer for Nourish, she brings her extensive experience within the field to provide compassionate, inclusive care using science for intimate and personalized messaging.

Christa brings warm laughter, joy, and medical expertise to any conversation allowing for honest science-based discussions with authenticity at their core.

In her private practice, she works with men and women suffering from emotional traumas that cause binge eating disorders exacerbating their type 2 diabetes, PCOS and insulin resistance.

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