How do drugs like Ozempic (semaglutide) cause weight loss? What happens when someone comes off of these drugs? In this episode, we discuss how these drugs (GLP-1 receptor agonists) target specific areas in the brain to suppress appetite and facilitate weight loss. We also discuss clinical trials data suggesting that these drugs and/or the weight loss that they facilitate may have cardioprotective effects. Lastly, we will also examine evidence regarding weight regain when coming off of these drugs and common side effects.
Highly processed foods have been shown to lead to weight gain and are thought to drive intake through several mechanisms. Recent research suggests that the effect of combining fats and carbs on appetite might be more than the sum of their individual effects. Highly processed foods, accordingly, might simulate increased intake via the ratio of macronutrients.
Growing scientific evidence suggests that highly processed foods are associated with increased risk of disease. Until recently, scientists were unable to study directly the effects of highly processed foods on humans. In this episode, we review one of the first highly controlled scientific trials demonstrating that ultra-processed foods lead to weight gain.
Some of the earliest changes in obesity are invisible – and they start in the brain. Of particular concern, many of the brain changes that accompany obesity bear striking resemblance to those that occur in brain injury. In this episode, we discuss how overeating can lead to inflammation and neuron dysfunction in specific parts of the brain that control appetite and energy regulation. We review the neuroscience of appetite regulation, energy expenditure, and body fat regulation. Topics include hypothalamic dysfunction of body fat regulation, leptin resistance, neuro-inflammation, and physical changes in the hypothalamus involving microglia (the immune cells of the brain). We also review what is known about avoiding and reversing these changes.