How remedies like Ozempic, Mounjaroa could transform holiday dinners like Thanksgiving

When Tara Rothenhofer sat down to the Thanksgiving table this year, she said she imagined being able to enjoy instead of stressing about the food on the table.

Rothenhofer said she credits the change to Munjar, a drug she said helped her lose more than 200 pounds.

Before taking Munjaro, Rothenhofer said on a holiday like Thanksgiving, centered around a big meal, she would worry about being able to “make good choices” when it came to food.

“You’re really focused on the food as a whole and not on the holiday,” Rothenhofer told “Good Morning America,” adding of the change she’s seen since starting the drug: “I’ve been able to turn that fear and anxiety into more enjoyment and I’m sure you know, I still eat food that I enjoy. I just make sure I don’t eat so much.”

Tara Rothenhofer told “GMA” Munjaro helped her lose more than 200 pounds

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Likewise, Joe Sapone, who lost more than 100 pounds on Munjar, told “GMA” that for him, gatherings for holidays like Thanksgiving are now more about the company than the food.

“My enjoyment hasn’t really diminished,” he said. “Because it’s as much about being with family and friends as it is about eating food.”

Mounjaro and other weight-loss drugs such as Ozempic and Vegovi have skyrocketed in popularity over the past year as they have proven successful in changing some people’s eating habits and helping overweight and obese people lose weight.

Clinical studies show that drug users can lose between 5% and 20% of their body weight on the drugs over time.

Joe Sapone told “GMA” he lost more than 100 pounds on Munyar.

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The active ingredient in Mounjaro, tirzepatide, works by activating two naturally produced hormones in the body: glucagon-like peptide-1, known as GLP-1, and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, or GIP. The combination is said to slow stomach emptying, making people feel fuller for longer, and suppresses appetite by slowing hunger signals in the brain.

Mounjaro — produced by Eli Lilly and Co. — is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat type 2 diabetes. Earlier this month, the FDA approved the obesity drug Zepbound, which contains the same active ingredient, tirzepatide, as Mounjaro.

The drug is similar to semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Vegovi – both made by Novo Nordisk – but works slightly differently because it targets two hormones involved in blood sugar control, rather than just one.

Ozempic is currently FDA-approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes along with diet and exercise if other medications cannot control blood sugar levels well enough.

Vegovi is essentially the same injectable drug as Ozempic prescribed at a higher dose. The FDA has specifically approved Vegova for patients who are severely obese, or who are overweight and have one or more weight-related conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Possible side effects of all three drugs – Mounjaro, Ozempic and Vegovi – include nausea and stomach pain.

In this undated photo, the Thanksgiving meal is seen from above.

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Dr. Kathryn Saunders, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, said people taking weight-loss drugs should be prepared to manage their expectations when it comes to big holiday meals, such as Thanksgiving.

“It doesn’t completely take away the pleasure that comes from food,” Saunders told “GMA.” “It allows people to eat a few bites and then say, ‘I don’t need to eat a big portion of this. That was enough.'”

Saunders also noted that it may take time for people to adjust to eating different amounts and different types of food when taking drugs like Ozempic and Mounjaro.

“It can definitely take some time for people to get used to eating differently and making different food choices when they’re on these medications,” she said. “So if you don’t change your eating behavior or the content of your diet at all when you take these drugs, then people can get into trouble.”

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