What do weight loss drugs mean for a diet industry based on eating less and exercising more?

NEW YORK (AP) Since college, Brad Jobling has struggled with his weight, fluctuating from a low of 155 pounds in his 30s to a high of 220. He spent a decade tracking calories on WeightWatchers, but the The pounds he dropped always crept toward his 5-foot-5-inch frame.

A little over a year ago, the 58-year-old Manhattan resident took a new weight-loss drug called Wegovy. She’s lost 30 pounds and started eating healthier foods and exercising the habits behind many commercial diet plans and decades of conventional wisdom about sustainable weight loss.

However, Joblings’ experience has also altered his perspective on diet. now see obesity as a disease that requires medical intervention, not just behavioral changes. In fact, he believes that he will have to continue taking a drug like Wegovy for the rest of his life even though he has taken it part of the joy out to eat

I don’t see how you can keep (the weight) off without medication, Jobling said. Obviously, it’s all about self-control. But I think it’s less difficult to maintain a healthy diet when you get that assistance.

Like the people’s lives Taking them, recently injected drugs like Wegovy and its predecessor, the diabetes drug Ozempic, are reshaping America’s health and fitness industries. They have proven to be successful in shedding unwanted pounds faster and easier than eating less and burning more calories alone. Such is its disruptive power that even established diet companies like WeightWatchers and brands like Lean Cuisine are undergoing makeovers.

Although celebrities like it Oprah Winfrey They have publicly talked about the drugs as revolutionary, some health experts worry that inexperienced companies will start dispensing prescription drugs along with bad advice and unproven therapies.


At least 3 million recipes for the drug class known as GLP-1 agonists were issued each month in the US in the 12 months ending in March, according to data from healthcare technology company IQVIA. They include semaglutide, the drug in Ozempic and Wegovy, and tirzepatide, the drug in Mounjaro and Zepbound. Morgan Stanley research analysts have estimated that 24 million people, or 7% of the US population, will use GLPT-1 drugs by 2035.

The world’s leading diet programs have taken note of these statistics and incorporated the popular drugs into their existing subscription plans.

WeightWatchers, which was founded in 1963, last year acquired telehealth provider Sequence, which allows members to obtain prescriptions for weight loss medications. WeightWatchers continues to focus on behavior change as the cornerstone of weight loss, but launched virtual clinics that offer personalized exercise and nutrition plans, as well as prescription care, for people who want to lose 20% of their average body weight.

The weight loss space will be led by the recognition that weight loss is a health care issue, WeightWatchers CEO Sima Sistani told analysts earlier this year. This is a paradigm shift because weight loss has been and, unfortunately, often still is seen as a vanity issue.

The Mayo Clinic, which first offered a weight-management plan in book form in 1949, has published an updated version of the longtime bestseller, titled The Mayo Clinic Diet: Weight-Loss Medications Edition.

The Mayo Clinic Diet program has also expanded to include access to weight-loss drugs and advice on managing any side effects, according to Digital Wellness CEO Scott Penn, whose company developed an online platform for in the original program.

New drugs have made being overweight feel more medical as a condition, he said.


Luxury sports club operator Life Time launched a membership program last year that offers comprehensive medical tests, personalized training and a range of alternative therapies such as cryotherapy. Members of the Miora program can also get Ozempic and other weight-loss drugs through the medical staff at a clinic that opened in Minneapolis last year.

Jeff Zwiefel, CEO of Life Time Miora, called the new drugs a game changer for the fitness industry.

We have the opportunity, the obligation and the responsibility to help people achieve results together with medical providers and make sure that’s the way forward,” he said.

Fitness chains rely on the idea that people who take drugs will lose enough weight to overcome any self-consciousness or physical limits that prevent them from exercising. Gym franchise Equinox started a new personal training program in January for prescription holders who want to preserve or increase muscle mass while shedding unwanted pounds.

The world of drug-assisted weight loss is also altering the ambitions of food companies. Sales of SlimFast, a line of meal replacement shakes and snacks sold in supermarkets, have fallen as people turn to weight-loss drugs and retailers shrink space for diet products, the brands’ parent company, Glanbia, told investors in February.

Because the drugs suppress the appetite of people who take them, Glanbia and other companies market their products as a suitable source of nutrients for people who take GLP-1. Swiss multinational Nestle SA believes it can benefit from the drug’s popularity and is expanding its Lean Cuisine frozen meals and OPTIFAST protein shakes.

Diets are cool again, Nestle SA Chief Executive Officer Ulf Mark Schneider told analysts in February. It’s something people used to do quietly on the side, uncertain about its results.

Promising RESULTS and wealth of unknowns

research has shown that about a third of people lose 5% or more of their body weight through diet and exercise alone, according to Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Management Center at Weill Cornell Medical School. By comparison, the diabetes drug Mounjaro helped obese or overweight people lose at least a quarter of their weight when combined with restricted calories and exercise. a new study showed.

But some experts worry about companies marketing of medicines or serve as physical trainers for patients on medication. Dr Cian Wade, a healthcare consultant at global strategy and management firm Kearney, said he was concerned about the proliferation of clinics that do not have as much experience with obesity and related health conditions.

There’s a potential concern that for some patients (clinics) don’t have the right expertise to be able to properly manage the side effects, the nutrition-related issues, he said.

Because GLP-1 drugs are so new, it’s unclear how many patients will do this stay with their drug regimens, which produce intolerable side effects for some people. Another reason why patients may stop taking drugs is cost. A monthly supply of Wegovy costs $1,300 and Zepbound is priced at $1,000.


Lisa Donahey, 54, an actress and singer who lives in Los Angeles, started Mounjaro a year ago under medical care to address her type 2 diabetes. At the time, Donahey, who is 5-foot-7 tall, weighed 260 pounds, and was a veteran of diet plans like Jenny Craig, WeightWatchers, and Nutrisystem.

Since then, his weight has dropped to just under 190 pounds. She goes to a gym. After always being cast as a character actor, she is looking for new roles. After using the medication to kick him, Donahey said he plans to wean himself off Mounjaro once he loses another 40 pounds.

She had a hopeless feeling that she was destined to be this way and she couldn’t do it alone, she said. Now that my weight is under control and the new version of me is emerging, I feel so empowered, excited and hopeful.


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