For good reason, weight loss shots have upended the weight loss and pharmaceutical market. For the first time since the beginning of the obesity epidemic sometime in the 1970s, there is hope that we have found the miracle drug, one that you can take and shed off excess weight, the root cause of nearly every chronic disease plaguing our society, economy, and mental health. Such has been their popularity that major grocery retailers have reported a drop in food sales, likely because people are eating less. Moreover, the weight loss induced by these drugs has also proven its anticipated positive influence on other obesity-related comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease. This all sounds like salvation has finally come. However, strong scientific evidence suggests that the metabolic repercussions may hamper patient longevity, ability to maintain a healthy weight and sustain neurological health. In short, we may have kicked the can down the road and perhaps even made things worse for many of us.
In this article, we discuss everything you should know about weight loss shots, including their underlying biological mechanism, clear and undeniable short-term benefits, side effects, means for combating their side effects, and how to avoid making them your “forever” drug.
What are weight loss drugs?
The key ingredient in weight loss shots is a substance called semaglutide. It is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog, similar to a hormone called GLP-1, that naturally occurs in the body. Semaglutide works through its similarity to a naturally occurring hormone in the body called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1). GLP-1 interacts with various areas of the body, including the brain. It is now widely established that semaglutide reduces appetite, decreases food intake, and promotes weight loss. It also slows down food movement from the stomach, which can help decrease appetite. These effects contribute to the overall weight management benefits of semaglutide. Semaglutide is typically injected once a week and is used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, including a low-calorie-dense, low-fat eating plan and regular exercise.
Weight loss shots have proven to be undeniably effective in treating obesity. The weight loss achieved with GLP-1 receptor agonists can vary among individuals. However, clinical trials and studies have shown that these medications can lead to significant weight loss in many cases. On average, people using GLP-1 receptor agonists might experience weight loss ranging from 3% to 10% of their initial body weight over several months of treatment. Although semaglutide was initially developed as a treatment for type-II diabetes and has widely accepted weight loss benefits, it also shows great promise in several other areas, including physical and mental well-being.
Cardiovascular Health: Studies suggest that semaglutide may reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in people with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular disease.
Blood Sugar Control: Semaglutide helps regulate blood sugar levels by mimicking the action of the hormone GLP-1, which stimulates insulin secretion and lowers glucagon secretion.
Kidney Function: Some research indicates potential benefits for kidney function in people with type 2 diabetes, including reduced albuminuria (excess protein in the urine) and possible protective effects on the kidneys.
Appetite Suppression: Beyond weight loss, semaglutide may help regulate appetite and reduce food intake, which can contribute to its effectiveness in managing obesity. Potential Neurological Effects:
Neuroprotection: There’s ongoing research exploring the potential neuroprotective effects of semaglutide in conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.
Gastrointestinal Function: Some studies suggest that GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide positively affect gut health and function.
Bone Health: Early research indicates that semaglutide might positively impact bone health and density, although more studies are needed to confirm this.
It’s essential to note that while these potential benefits are being researched, not all have been conclusively established or approved for clinical use.
The process through which semalutide aids with weight loss is the regulation of appetite and helping one to eat less, thus creating a caloric deficit. Since excess adipose tissue is the critical driver for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic conditions associated with obesity, it is only reasonable that administering semaglutide will have positive results. In one of our articles, we explain how obesity leads to Type-II diabetes.
However, not all weight loss is created equal, and by just creating a caloric deficit, one is most likely to er on the undesirable side of weight loss. Several studies have shown that people’s failure to lose weight despite restricting their diets is due to the notorious “metabolic” slowdown, a phenomenon that reduces the calories a person’s body burns. This closes the gap between calories eaten and burned, thus eliminating calorie deficit, the prerequisite for weight loss. For example, if a person initially burned 2000 kcal per day and ate 1500 kcal daily, the calorie deficit would be 500 kcal daily. If the person’s metabolism slows down to 1600 kcal per day, the deficit is almost completely gone, and thus, by continuing to eat 1500 kcal per day, the person will experience little to no progress. This problem, however, can become much more severe. Abandoning the diet and returning to regular eating habits will not re-ignite one’s metabolism. Several studies, including the one conducted on the participants of “The Biggest Loser,” have shown that going on a diet that reduces your metabolism will cause a long-lasting reduction in your metabolic activity that can not be undone by simply getting off the diet.
By simply restricting caloric intake and not ensuring that metabolism is sustained at healthy levels, one creates the perfect conditions for the abovementioned phenomenon. Ultimately, metabolic slowdown leads one to have to restrict food to maintain weight constantly and, by implication, remain on semaglutide indefinitely since the need for hunger suppression will always exist. Hence, scientists are beginning to realize that, for some of us, weight loss shots may actually be the “forever” shots. The metabolic decline caused by GLP-1 is widely documented and likely caused by hormonal changes and muscle loss. Moreover, in the case of older individuals, muscle loss will negatively impact quality of life by increasing the risk of myoskeletal disorders and injuries and reducing the ability to perform daily tasks.
A recent study that examined participants of a semaglutide trial one year after cessation of the treatment found that approximately two-thirds of the weight was regained, whereas cardio-metabolic variables returned to baseline state prior to semaglutide treatment.
Helping people manage their appetite and make meaningful early gains in their weight loss journey is certainly desirable. We should all be thankful that modern medicine has now given us such a possibility. After all, many who failed to lose weight may have succeeded if given an initial push. However, even in the presence of the seemingly miraculous weight loss shots, the reality remains that there’s no cutting corners in nature, and sustaining a healthy metabolism is a must for maintaining a healthy weight and achieving longevity. The only way to lose weight sustainably is to achieve a calorie deficit that is sustainable for your lifestyle AND your metabolism. Irrespective of how you choose to reduce food, whether it’s by following a ketogenic diet, skipping breakfast, receiving semaglutide shots, or locking your fridge, neglecting your metabolism can be detrimental. Therefore, dieters’ main concern should be preventing their metabolism from slowing down. This can only be attained through a holistic program with the proper training, nutrition, and recovery regimens. For a detailed overview of what such a program should include, read our blog post, “Weight Loss is about Physiology, not Psychology.”