Fat jabs fact vs fiction – myths, benefits & side effects such as nausea & diarrhoea of ‘miracle’ weight-loss injections

IN a world with growing obesity rates, fat jabs have arrived and taken the weight-loss market by storm.The injections have allegedly helped celebrities ranging from Elon Musk and Sharon Osbourne to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson shed the pounds. 7UK health chiefs are investigating 20 deaths that have been reported as being potentially linked to fat jabsCredit: Shutterstock7We asked the experts key questions on these ‘miracle’ jabsCredit: GettyBut there is a dark side to these “miracle jabs”.UK health chiefs are investigating 20 deaths that have been reported as being potentially linked to the injections, it was revealed this month.The curiosity to try the quick fix has driven some to turn to the black market for skinny jabs, which can leave people seriously unwell.To help separate fact from fiction, and arm you with vital information, Vanessa Chalmers asked the experts key questions on injectables.WHAT are the different fat jabs?THERE is one thing all fat jabs have in common — they mimic the hormone (glucagon-like peptide 1) that makes you feel full.Wegovy is the brand name for the drug semaglutide, also found in Ozempic, approved to treat diabetes.Dr Aishah Iqbal, a doctor and weight-loss coach who runs mindoverdiets.co.uk, tells Sun Health: “It works by increasing insulin secretion and delays gastric emptying, creating a suppression in appetite.”Meanwhile, Mounjaro is the brand name for another medication, tirzepatide, and Saxenda contains the active drug liraglutide.Dr Mitra Dutt, a GP from Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor, says: “Mounjaro works by activating two hormonal receptors (GIP and GLP-1), which enhance insulin production, improve insulin sensitivity and work to decrease food intake.”Feeling Full Naturally: Top 5 Foods That Act Like Weight Loss JabsIS it safe to use fat jabs to slim down before a holiday or wedding?IAN BUDD, pharmacist for Chemist4U and MyBMI, says: “Using injectable weight-loss medications for cosmetic reasons or without a medical need is not recommended and can be potentially harmful.“They are not a quick fix or a way to lose a few pounds before a holiday.“Misuse of these medications can lead to serious health consequences and should be avoided.”Dr Iqbal adds: “They are for the management of chronic obesity, so they may not be the first step to take if your weight gain has been more recent or over a shorter period of time.”HOW much weight can you expect to lose with fat jabs?They are not a quick fix or a way to lose a few pounds before a holidayIan Budd, pharmacist for Chemist4U and MyBMIWITH Wegovy, you can expect to see 15 per cent weight loss on average. That is a 31lb weight loss for a person weighing 15st, taking them to 12st 11lb.Mounjaro is more effective, reducing weight by 20 per cent. And Saxenda is the least effective, with five per cent weight loss, on average.Dr Dutt says: “Based on clinical trials, 96 per cent of people were able to lose more than five per cent of their body fat using Mounjaro.“In similar trials, 84 per cent of people lost more than five per cent of their body weight on Wegovy, and 60 per cent on Saxenda.”CAN you get the jabs on the NHS?ELIGIBILITY hinges on having a body mass index of 30-35 (obese category), coupled with weight-related health issues such as hypertension or type 2 diabetes.Dr Iqbal explains: “You need to be referred to the NHS specialist weight management service, usually by your GP.”Mr Budd says: “Access to these medications on the NHS may be considered only in exceptional cases where other weight-loss interventions have been unsuccessful.”Criteria for a private prescription depends on the healthcare provider. He says: “In some cases, the criteria may be similar to NHS guidelines, while in others, it may be more relaxed.”Privately, the jabs cost anywhere from £150 to £260 a month.HOW long do you have to take the jabs for?MR Budd says: “In general, these medications are used for a limited period, usually up to 12 weeks.”Websites touting “15/20 per cent weight loss” refer to clinical trials in which patients were given fat jabs for more than a year. The NHS website says patients’ prescriptions are continued past three to six months only if a minimum of five per cent body weight reduction has been achieved.Mr Budd says: “After discontinuing injectable weight-loss medications, appetite may gradually return to normal, the extent of which can vary.”Although fat jabs appear to be a “magic fix”, Dr Iqbal adds: “These medications should be used alongside lifestyle changes such as dietary changes and exercise.”WHAT are the potential side effects and risks?MR Budd says: “Common side effects may include nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, headache and dizziness. The frequency and severity of side effects can vary, and some people may experience none at all.”Long-term effects of injectable weight-loss medications are still being studied, and the safety profile of these medications over extended periods is not yet fully understood.”Other side effects reported include vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, flatulence and acid reflux.Positive research studies show evidence that semaglutide can reduce the risk of heart failure, heart attack, stroke, addiction, Parkinson’s and even Alzheimer’s.There were concerns that the jabs were linked to both thyroid cancer and suicide but more recent studies have challenged these claims.HOW can you be sure that you are buying your jabs from a reputable place?AN influx of skinny jabs on the black market has resulted in people becoming sick and even risking death.Mr Budd says: “There’s no way to know what you’re putting into your body.There’s no way to know what you’re putting into your bodyIan Budd, pharmacist for Chemist4U and MyBMI”If someone is offering you weight-loss medications with no questions asked, that’s a huge red flag and you should avoid them at all costs.”He says a legitimate prescriber will have their credentials listed in registers provided by the General Medical Council or General Pharmaceutical Council and pharmacies should be registered with the GPhC.ARE there any products that give the same effect?SUPPLEMENT products may be touted as having the same effect as Ozempic..Rachell Hipkiss, a nutritional biochemist, says: “Two particular products keep popping up. Berberine, hailed as ‘nature’s Ozempic’ on TikTok, is a bioactive compound. Glucomannan (Konjac) is a root vegetable native to China.”But neither have the same clinical research backing their effects.Foods that help manage appetite, helping you feel fuller for longer, include oats, avocados, eggs and nuts.What you could try…7Eggs could mimic fat jabsCredit: Getty7Avocados are another food to try out for natural resultsCredit: GettyLIKE fat jabs, there are some foods that Canadian scientists claim could mimic the GLP-1 hormone. It’s worth giving all of these a go – oats, avocados, eggs, nuts and plenty of vegetables.7You could also give oats a tryCredit: Gettyand what to avoid7Be cautious of over-the-counter supplements like BerberineCredit: Time Health7Another one to be careful about is GlucomannanCredit: AlamyYOU should always be cautious of extravagant claims you will see on social media, such as that over-the-counter supplements including Glucomannan and Berbering, are “as good as Ozempic”.


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