Counsel Patients on Nutrition and Following a Balanced Diet Complementary to GLP-1s

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The GLP-1 market is expected to exceed $100 billion by 2023, according to J.P. Morgan Research, with total users in the United States projected to reach 30 million.

According to results of a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 1 in 8 adults have taken glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) antagonist medications. Of those who have taken a GLP-1, 6% were currently taking the drug.1 With such widespread use, addressing nutritional needs and a balanced diet are crucial for patients taking GLP-1 medications.

Nutritionist giving consultation to patient with healthy fruit and vegetable | Image Credit: Kittiphan - stock.adobe.com

Image Credit: Kittiphan - stock.adobe.com

Although GLP-1 medications are approved for the treatment of diabetes and have cardiovascular-related indications, weight loss has been a topic of conversation, with some of these medications even having indications for weight loss when combined with diet and exercise. There has also been a significant push from medical groups such as the American Heart Association (AHA) to recognize obesity as a chronic medical condition. In a recent scientific statement, the AHA addressed gaps in care for patients with obesity, including how to have conversations with patients who might be hesitant to talk to their physician or other health care professionals about their weight.3

When combined with lifestyle changes, GLP-1 medication can help to reduce excess weight, according to the American Medical Association. GLP-1 medications are highly effective for weight loss, but a high-quality diet is equally as important.4

GLP-1 medications can cause significant changes in appetite by increasing the feeling of fullness. Additionally, eating foods high in fat or sugar can cause gastrointestinal upset for patients on GLP-1 medications.

Patients on these medications should be counseled to eat smaller meals more frequently and prioritize protein and whole foods, including lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and healthy fats. Portion control is also crucial, and there are techniques for ensuring adequate portions of proteins, vegetables, and carbohydrate in each meal without counting calories or calculating macronutrients. Finally, getting adequate amounts of fiber and staying hydrated are important for any healthy diet.5

Pharmacists can take steps to provide information and counseling to patients initiating treatment with GLP-1 medications. Additionally, some companies are taking specific steps to address the need for nutritional information and options for this growing patient population.

For instance, Nestlé has announced a new line of food called “Vital Pursuit,” which is designed to be a companion for GLP-1 medications. According to a news release, “The products are high in protein, a good source of fiber, contain essential nutrients, and they are portion-aligned to a weight loss medication user’s appetite.”6

“We know that every consumer on a health journey has individualized needs and considerations, and having options to support those needs will continue to play an important role,” Tom Moe, president of Nestlé USA Meals Division, said in the news release. “Over the past several years, we have been expanding choices across our meals portfolio to address consumer eating habits, and as the market evolves, we’ll continue to expand Vital Pursuit with more product formats for our consumers.”6

The new line aims to provide a balanced diet for individuals who intend to lose weight, making it the first food brand from the company intended for GLP-1 users. The products include a variety of frozen choices including bowls with whole grains, protein pasta, sandwich melts, and pizza. The company intends to make it affordable, with a suggested retail price of $4.99 and less. Furthermore, the products focus on portion and nutrients, including protein, vitamin A, potassium, calcium, and iron. It will also come in gluten-free options as well as air fryer options.6

Vital Pursuit is expected to be available by the fourth quarter of 2024.6

References
  1. Gallagher A. Survey: 1 in 8 Adults Have Utilized a GLP-1 Medication, 6% Currently Are. Pharmacy Times. May 14, 2024. Accessed May 22, 2024. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/survey-1-in-8-adults-have-utilized-a-glp-1-medication-6-currently-are
  2. Significant gaps between science of obesity and the care patients receive. News release. American Heart Association. May 20, 2024. Accessed May 22, 2024. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/significant-gaps-between-science-of-obesity-and-the-care-patients-receive
  3. J.P. Morgan. The increase in appetite for obesity drugs. November 29, 2023. Accessed May 22, 2024. https://www.jpmorgan.com/insights/global-research/current-events/obesity-drugs
  4. Lubell J. In age of GLP-1 agonists, food choices still matter for health. American Medical Association. February 6, 2024. Accessed May 22, 2024. https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/age-glp-1-agonists-food-choices-still-matter-health
  5. Nutrition while taking GLP-1 medications for weight loss. Sentara. April 10, 2024. Accessed May 22, 2024. https://www.sentara.com/healthwellness/articles/nutrition-and-weight-loss-medication#:~:text=Eat%20protein%20first%2C%20non%2Dstarchy,when%20taking%20GLP%2D1%20medications
  6. Nestlé Introduces Vital Pursuit Brand to Support GLP-1 Users, Consumers Focused on Weight Management. Press release. Nestlé. May 21, 2024. Accessed May 22, 2024. https://nestleusa.com/media/pressreleases/vital-pursuit-glp-1-weight-management
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