Losing Weight and Reducing Healthcare Costs: Is Ozempic the Answer?

by Sifter
Judy Seybold
updated February 13, 2024
updated February 13, 2024
The latest magic bullet for weight loss requires a prescription. Originally approved to manage Type 2 diabetes, the drugs Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Wegovy (Ozempic’s spin-off approved for weight loss) are being sought by people looking to lose weight in short time frames. These medications show promising results for weight loss, but as with all quick-fix solutions, there are downsides to taking these drugs: high cost; known side effects like nausea, vomiting, digestive issues; and unknown long-term effects. Worst of all, the weight can come back if the medication is stopped.

But if drugs like Ozempic are not the ideal solution for anyone wanting to lose weight, what’s the best treatment? It’s complicated. There are many styles of eating that can lead to a healthy outcome, and what is "right" depends on the person—their values and preferences, their access to nutritious food, their lifestyle.

Scientific studies have shown that effective and sustainable weight loss is best achieved by following a personalized nutrition intervention program, which can be implemented by various health professionals, including registered dietitians, nutritionists, or doctors. These health professionals use the best available nutrition evidence, together with clinical experience and their patients' values and preferences, to help patients prevent, resolve, or cope with problems related to their physical, mental, and social health. This customized approach can help people sustain diet and lifestyle changes for long-term weight management.

At the same time, technological advances have made it easier for people to become more engaged in their health journey. A recent study found that people who used digital apps with personalized nutrition interventions were able to lose 5 more pounds on average than those who partook in the nutrition intervention only.

For people who are overweight, taking off the pounds (and keeping them off) has personal health benefits and can also have a positive impact on public health. Clinical research shows that losing 5-10% of one's total body weight can lower the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease—chronic health conditions that are costing the U.S. healthcare system nearly $173 billion a year.

As such, it makes financial sense for health systems, health insurers, and employers to help people lose weight. They can do so by supporting scalable, cost-effective Food as Medicine programs that help people achieve their weight loss goals without any of the side effects of "miracle" weight-loss drugs. Food benefit cards, for example, can support weight management by giving a person increased access to nutritious, diet-appropriate foods. Likewise, digital nutrition technology like Sifter can be integrated into a healthy-eating program to help members or employees shop for groceries that fit their dietary needs, including those for weight loss.

Ozempic and the like can help people lose weight, but it's no silver bullet. Given the risks, the costs, and the questionable long-term outcome of using these prescription drugs, a combined approach that integrates healthy nutrition and behavior interventions can help ensure longer term success in the weight-loss race.

Sifter's Shop By Diet grocery platform can be white-labeled for your organization, making it easy for your members to find diet-specific healthy foods across a national network of grocers. Sifter also powers food benefit cards that support weight management goals through diet-appropriate filtered spend. Contact us to learn more about integrating Sifter's nutrition technology into your healthy-eating program so that members, clients, and employees can easily shop for groceries that fit their dietary needs and weight loss goals.


Mathews, A. W., & Smith, R. A. (2023, May 22). Your Company Doesn’t Want You to Take Ozempic for Weight Loss. Here’s Why. Wall Street Journal.

Healthy Weight Loss. (2022, September 19). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Johnston, B. C., Seivenpiper, J. L., Vernooij, et al. (2019). The Philosophy of Evidence-Based Principles and Practice in Nutrition. Mayo Clinic proceedings. Innovations, quality & outcomes, 3(2), 189–199.

Kim J. Y. (2021). Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, 30(1), 20–31.

Fakih El Khoury, C., Karavetian, M., Halfens, et al. (2019). The Effects of Dietary Mobile Apps on Nutritional Outcomes in Adults with Chronic Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 119(4), P626-651  

Harbster, J. (2015, January 16). Battling with the Scale:  A Look Back at Weight Loss Trends in the U.S. | Inside Adams. The Library of Congress.

Obesity is Common, Serious, and Costly (2022, July 14). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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