How the new ‘liquid Ozempic’ helped me to scoff my way through Christmas for 3 weeks and STILL lose weight

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with my weight. I was a chubby baby, a chubby toddler, a chubby teenager . . . and so it has gone on.

Now aged 42, I’ve tried every diet and weight-loss gimmick going, with varied success.

I’ve done Atkins (pretty good, until I fancied bread); WeightWatchers (boring); just consuming Diet Coke and cigarettes (brilliant, but obviously short term).

I’ve tried various medications, from taking what amounted to legal speed doled out by a private Harley Street doctor, which left me slimmer, broker and super-anxious, to the weight-loss drug Alli, which limits the fat absorbed by your intestines, and, well, I’ll spare you the gory details, but what isn’t absorbed turns up again. 

That wasn’t a long-term solution either.

Katie Glass (pictured) has tried every diet going with varied success. Now, she tries ‘liquid Ozempic’

Developed by Swedish scientists at a company called Sigrid Therapeutics, it comes in the form of an orally ingested gel, which contains micron-sized particles of silica

Developed by Swedish scientists at a company called Sigrid Therapeutics, it comes in the form of an orally ingested gel, which contains micron-sized particles of silica

Two years ago, courtesy of a dodgy online pharmacy, I even tried a variation on the ubiquitous wonder drug Ozempic (back then simply called semaglutide, the generic drug name), which is now widely available ostensibly as a diabetes treatment but is also used for often-dramatic weight loss.

Injecting it for three months, it did miraculously remove my appetite and made me drop 2st in weight. But it also left me exhausted and nauseous, and after I stopped taking it, the weight just piled back on.

Still, when I heard about a brand-new weight-loss treatment — nicknamed ‘liquid Ozempic’ even though it works in a very different way — I was desperate to try it. 

Particularly after squeezing myself into a skirt that I swear once fitted me and stepping on the scales to see the dial point at a heart-sinking 16st 5lb.

The new product is called SiPore and it is still undergoing clinical trials. It won’t reach the UK market for a while, but I have been given an advance 20-day course so I can test it out. 

Developed by Swedish scientists at a company called Sigrid Therapeutics, it comes in the form of an orally ingested gel, which contains micron-sized particles of silica. 

The claim is that these act as a molecular ‘sieve’, which slows the food-burning process and levels out blood sugar, theoretically meaning more energy, fewer cravings and weight loss.

There’s just one problem. I start my course in the middle of December, right at the start of the festive season, with all its temptations and indulgences. If ever SiPore was given a challenge, then this is it.

The product won't reach the UK market for a while, but Katie Glass has been given an advance 20-day course to test it

The product won’t reach the UK market for a while, but Katie Glass has been given an advance 20-day course to test it

The gel is delivered in white plastic pouches, which I find myself eyeing with suspicion when they arrive at my house. I can’t read the instructions because they’re not in English, and it occurs to me the treatment might be like the Swedish Kälteen Bars in the film Mean Girls and a prank by my editor to make me put on weight. I am not sure I trust them.

Before I consume one, I meet two of the people behind SiPore on Zoom — Dr Eric Johnston, the company’s chief technical officer and a former cancer researcher, and entrepreneur Sana Alajmovic, who is the chief executive officer and co-founder.

The pair tell me how, having witnessed the phenomenal rise of drugs such as Ozempic, which cause weight loss by mimicking the action of a hormone that tells you you’re full, they set their sights on making something ‘more natural’. As Alajmovic points out, with the obesity crisis growing, ‘billions of people will need some form of help . . . and we can’t put everyone on drugs’.

SiPore technology works via a physical rather than pharmacological mechanism, and although it doesn’t feel very natural, Dr Johnston insists it is.

Every serving comprises millions of tiny particles made of silicon dioxide, which is the most abundant mineral on the planet.

‘The entire coral reef is built up of silicon dioxide: it’s in animal meat, it’s in plants, it’s in the Earth’s crust, it is actually everywhere,’ he says.

SiPore technology works via a physical rather than pharmacological mechanism, and although it doesn't feel very natural, Dr Johnston insists it is. Pictured: Katie Glass

SiPore technology works via a physical rather than pharmacological mechanism, and although it doesn’t feel very natural, Dr Johnston insists it is. Pictured: Katie Glass

Once in your small intestine, the particles absorb the digestive enzymes amylase and lipase, which slow the uptake of carbohydrates and fats respectively and directly contribute to weight management. In fact, it claims to reduce the intake of calories from carbs by four calories per gram, and fats by nine calories per gram.

What happens to the silica particles? I’m told they leave the body naturally with the undigested food.

In pre-launch tests, people have reported weight loss of up to 6.5lb in six weeks without changing their diet. Although Dr Johnston notes: ‘This is not a personalised solution. The effects are going to be different for different people, as is the time it takes to lose weight.’

I’m told to take my SiPore sachets twice a day, consumed after a few bites of a meal.

On the first day, I eat the edge of my morning toast and then tear open a packet, carefully squirting it onto a spoon. The gel comes out in the dribbly consistency of PVA glue. I give it a sniff, and find it has a gentle lemony aroma, like Cif.

Sticking out my tongue, I find it tastes mildly of citrus yoghurt. Reassured, I open the sachet and squirt the lot — about three tablespoons — into my mouth.

At such quantities it is rather less pleasant, and I gag. My toast already looks less appealing, though — again unlike Ozempic — SiPore does not work by making food less attractive.

I’ve been advised not to change my dietary habits at all. If the drug Alli makes you avoid fat because of the later, ahem, results, with SiPore you can eat what you like — even cheeseburgers or Christmas cake. For those who have little willpower, this makes the product very appealing.

‘We encourage you to live life to the fullest,’ Alajmovic tells me. ‘Anyway, you are still going to have that pasta, or that glass of wine, right?

‘I know this from my father and my brother, who are diabetic and pre-diabetic. Even though you get a diagnosis, you don’t change your lifestyle,’ she says.

‘What we’re trying to do with SiPore is turn fast food into slow food, so you can still enjoy the things you like.’

And yet SiPore definitely does reduce my hunger. Although the effects aren’t as dramatic as Ozempic (which magically makes you forget about food), SiPore does make me feel satisfied after I have eaten.

By working immediately to stabilise blood sugar, it also reduces hunger pangs.

Normally, blood sugar spikes and crashes after meals, triggering the urge to eat again, but by maintaining it at a consistent level, SiPore avoids this rollercoaster.

I start my day with a bowl of porridge or toast and find the fullness lasts until well beyond lunch.

However — less usefully — when the hunger comes back, it’s as strong as ever and I find myself reaching for the first thing I can see to eat.

Still, it does cut down my portions. I go for dinner with a friend who’s a brilliant chef and find I’m done after a few bites of the pie he’s made.

On another occasion, I buy a sausage roll from my village shop — which makes the most delicious sausage rolls in Somerset — and, in an unprecedented occurrence, find I can’t finish it.

Surging glucose levels cause stress and inflammation, so stabilising them has other health benefits. In SiPore trials, people apparently reported having more energy.

I quickly find this, too. After a bowl of pasta, the kind of carbohydrate-laden meal that would usually send me to the sofa, I head off for a walk.

Meanwhile, I take Alajmovic at her word and don’t change my diet at all. On week one, I eat my usual carb-rich breakfasts followed by a sandwich for lunch, then enjoy dinners of steak and chips and stews.

One evening, exhausted after a long day at work, I head to the chippy and order fish and chips, downing my SiPore sachet as I tuck in.

And yet when I weigh myself at the end of week one, I’ve lost 1.5lb. Given the zero effort I have made with my diet, I am quite amazed.

In my second week on SiPore, the taste doesn’t improve. However, I develop a technique for squirting a whole sachet straight into my mouth and swallowing it in one go.

Thankfully, it seems to have no side-effects. I worried it might result in some unpleasant toilet situations, but Dr Johnston maintains: ‘It is gentler than Alli, which aggressively targets lipase, giving dramatic effects (such as oily stools and diarrhoea).’

Really, the main challenge is remembering to take it. Unlike Ozempic, which you have as a weekly jab, you need your SiPore sachets with you for every meal. I keep some in my handbag and a few in the car so I always have a supply.

As the second week goes on, and Christmas treats start piling up, I find the novelty quickly wears off.

Do I really want to sully something particularly delicious, such as a slice of chocolate yule log or a delicate smoked salmon canape, with a weird citrus jelly taste? ‘No, I’m not eating silicone,’ I explain to friends a hundred times as they ask me what I’m doing necking a sachet of gel at dinner.

I miss the odd one by mistake when I don’t have them to hand. But, on the whole, despite my misgivings, I keep the regime up.

‘I think I’ve lost weight — these jeans are loose on me,’ I tell a friend after a week and a half.

‘I think they’ve just stretched,’ he replies drily. Perhaps I’m imagining things. Perhaps not.

Johnston and Alajmovic claim that with SiPore you lose weight differently compared with other weight-loss drugs. Instead of dropping muscle mass, which is what happens with most normal ‘fast’ diets, on SiPore you lose the dangerous visceral fat found around your internal organs, which weighs less but often goes hand-in-hand with high cholesterol and blood pressure.

In fact, you don’t want to lose muscle mass because it increases your metabolic rate and the speed at which your body burns fat.

The weather gets colder. My meals get heartier. I make cottage pies, pasta and cakes. I meet friends for lunches where I devour three jolly courses with wine. I also give up the cold-water swimming I’ve been doing since the summer.

I realise that I am making SiPore work very hard for its money. Still, I’m optimistic. Though I definitely feel fuller when I am taking SiPore, I start to realise that I am falling into my normal festive pattern of unhealthy eating.

It’s not hunger that’s sending me to the larder, but the munchies after a few glasses of wine, or because my sweet-tooth fancies some biscuits.

I’m conscious that while the silica might be doing their job when I take SiPore with a meal, I’m eating plenty of other calories throughout the day that the ‘sieve’ isn’t there to catch.

At the end of the second week I step on the scales to discover I have lost no weight at all since that original 1.5lb loss!

To say I’m disappointed is an understatement, but I suppose no matter how effective SiPore is at turning fast food into slow food, it won’t turn a mince pie into a salad. I remember Dr Johnston’s warning that SiPore was developed with the aim of reducing and stabilising glucose in the blood, not losing weight.

‘I know everyone wants to compare us with Ozempic, but we developed this product specifically for the blood sugar reduction,’ he told me. Although they have seen weight loss in both their studies, they see it as a positive side-effect rather than the purpose of their gel.

At the final weighing after three weeks on SiPore, I have lost 2lb. A measly half a pound more in the last week. But then I stop and consider the time of year. Usually over Christmas I can put on half a stone. All good habits go out of the window in December — but on SiPore I still lost a few pounds.

Every January, I face a post-Christmas weight situation that feels hopeless. But this time, I can start my New Year diet as though my weeks of festive eating never even happened. And that’s nothing short of miraculous.

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