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Can drinking a blend of oats, water and lime juice help you lose weight? Here’s what nutritionists think about the ‘oatzempic’ trend.

Weight loss drugs continue to gain in popularity, but not everyone who wants them can afford these medications, leaving some people hunting for more cost-effective alternatives. While natural options may seem promising, their effectiveness can be unpredictable. Berberine, for example, has been labeled “nature’s Ozempic,” though it may help more with managing blood sugar levels than aiding in actual weight loss. Meanwhile, psyllium husk — an inexpensive fiber supplement — is sought-after for its ability to temporarily suppress appetite by promoting a sense of fullness, but it’s important to note that fiber alone does not directly cause weight loss.

More recently, there’s been a viral trend involving the consumption of “oatzempic,” a drink crafted from oats, water and lime juice blended together. Its name cleverly references the prescription diabetes medication Ozempic, which is also well known for its weight loss benefits. This trend has gained lots of attention on platforms like TikTok, with claims suggesting it can help individuals shed as much as 40 pounds in two months.

“The oatzempic trend may seem enticing due to its simplicity and potential for rapid weight loss, but it’s essential to approach it with caution,” Vandana Sheth, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of My Indian Table: Quick & Tasty Vegetarian Recipes, tells Yahoo Life. So what are the downsides — as well as any possible benefits — of oatzempic, and can it really help with weight loss? Here’s what experts have to say.

How do you make oatzempic?

To prepare oatzempic, blend a half cup of raw oats, 1 cup of water and the juice of half a lime together until smooth. Drink it on an empty stomach, aiming for one to two servings a day. If you aren’t a fan of the taste, some people add a dash of cinnamon or honey, though the latter will add some calories and sugar.

Why the lime?

It’s unclear why lime juice is a key ingredient, though many suspect it’s primarily for enhancing the flavor of the drink, which has been described as chalky. Plus, lime juice provides a healthy dose of the antioxidant vitamin C.

Despite what some believe, Sheth clarifies, “there’s a misconception that acidic foods like lime juice can aid in fat burning, which is not supported by scientific evidence.” Dr. Amy Lee, head of nutrition for Nucific, tells Yahoo Life that a stomach’s acidity is greater than that of the fruit anyway.

What are the benefits?

Oatzempic’s benefits have been touted by people on social media trying it out for a 40-day challenge, but its impact on health hasn’t actually been researched. That said, oats alone boast many health advantages: They contain antioxidants and are linked with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, lower cholesterol and better blood sugar control. Research also shows potential for oats to help with regulating appetite and maintaining weight.

In just half a cup of oats, there are 5 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, particularly beta-glucan, which helps slow digestion, moves food and waste through the gut and promotes regular bowel movements.

Does oatzempic help with weight loss?

Substituting a meal with oatzempic can support weight loss efforts. However, as Julie Pace, functional dietitian and founder of Core Nutrition Health and Wellness, tells Yahoo Life: “It’s important to understand that this weight loss is primarily due to calorie restriction rather than any unique properties of oatzempic’s ingredients.” With just about 150 calories in a half cup of oats, oatzempic is low-calorie. Its fiber content may also promote a feeling of fullness, leading to less overall eating during the day.

Experts advise embracing this trend with caution since oatzempic does not offer a balanced or sustainable approach to weight loss. “Simply substituting high-calorie meals with low-calorie shakes may result in quick weight loss,” Sheth explains, “but without sustainable lifestyle changes, it may lead to health complications and weight regain once regular eating habits resume.”

Lee agrees: “I don’t think it is a long-term solution. Changing just one meal and its composition is a good start, but overall, one has to be mindful of the rest of the day as well.”

What are the downsides?

Pace says that oatzempic “encourages an unhealthy, unsustainable and restrictive approach to weight loss that is not supportive of overall health and well-being. Sustainable weight management involves making gradual, sustainable changes to diet and lifestyle rather than relying on quick fixes or extreme measures.”

Sheth warns that “rapid weight loss through extreme measures can lead to health complications such as nutrient deficiencies, loss of lean muscle tissue, hair loss and hormonal imbalances.” Not only are trends like oatzempic restrictive, especially if done for an extended amount of time, but they also risk promoting disordered eating habits.

While some people recommend using oatzempic as a meal replacement, experts point out it doesn’t contain nearly enough calories, protein or fat to be considered an equal swap. Generally for meals, you want to aim for about 15 to 30 grams of protein and at least twice as many calories as what’s found in a single serving of oatzempic.

“I do see some people adding protein powder and altering it by squeezing in some good oils,” says Lee. However, these additions change the simplicity of oatzempic and resemble more of a balanced breakfast.

Final takeaways

“If one is trying to just feel full in the morning to start their day strong, there are definitely other ways to do so,” says Lee. Instead of drinking oatzempic, aim for a satisfying breakfast of oatmeal, including fruit, seeds (hemp, chia and flax) and nuts (walnuts, almonds) for added protein, fiber and fat. If you prefer the drink version, consider swapping in milk for water or adding nut butter.

Although drinking oatzempic may increase fiber and water intake, experts agree that prioritizing overall health and wellness with sustainable habits is best if weight loss is your goal, and they note that weight loss alone doesn’t always mean improved health.

Maxine Yeung is a dietitian and board-certified health and wellness coach.

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