Articles Posted in Weight Loss Treatments

dietdrug-150x150They’re expensive and often uncovered by health insurance. They’re unfamiliar for now to many doctors, especially those in primary care. But — as expected — patients are hearing a lot about the effectiveness of new prescription medications aimed at treating diabetes and how these drugs have another positive outcome:

They help users lose weight, potentially lots of it.

Now, add in the capacity of the internet to spread information rapidly and quickly. And figure in the growing trend for patients to consult with doctors online and to be prescribed drugs by them via telehealth appointments.

diabetesdrug-300x127As medical scientists increase the understanding of diabetes and the role that hormones can play in treating the disease and clinical obesity, doctors, drug makers, insurers, and others in U.S. health care are running smack into familiar, significant problems.

These include issues with public perceptions about weight, diet, and appropriate prescribing of powerful medications, as well as challenges about who pays for what in the nation’s complex health care system.

The latest, evolving tangles concern semaglutide and liraglutide, two drugs in a group that experts at the drug maker Novo Nordisk pioneered to treat diabetes. Investigators developed the drugs as doctors, patients, and researchers suddenly learned more about extreme weight loss through increasingly popular gastric surgeries, finding that the procedures also altered patients’ hormones like ghrelin, popularly dubbed the “hunger hormone.”

covidweight-300x200Health and nutrition experts may get a rare and unexpected chance in the Covid-19 pandemic time to see whether Americans have experienced even a minor reset in their maintaining a more healthful diet, increased exercise, and maybe even reduction in weight gain and its associated problems.

To be sure, these have been times of high stress, and much popular discussion has focused on people’s “Quarantine 15,” the excess pounds packed on in recent days due to worry, couch sitting, and the availability of food in the close confines of the homes to which so many of us have been confined.

And many restaurants, notably fast food vendors, offered high-fat, high-calorie takeaway for weeks now, even as they make plans to re-open.

fatshame-300x230The medical establishment needs to take a hard, long look at its failing efforts to combat obesity and overweight, conditions that now affect just under 40 percent of American adults (93.3 million people) and 20 percent of youngsters (13.7 million) in the U.S.

That’s because doctors and medical scientists have “ignored mountains of evidence to wage a cruel and futile war on fat people, poisoning public perception and ruining millions of lives,” Michael Hobbes has reported in a long, strong story on the Huffington Post.

Hobbes has marshaled an array of available data to wag an unhappy finger at U.S. society, acting on conventional medical wisdom, for blaming and shaming those who are overweight or obese, contending that they lack self-control, discipline, and the personal fortitude to deal with what he says is clearly an uncontrolled medical and public health menace.

Champagne_1050x700-300x200Here’s hoping the holidays are going well for one and all. But, even as they fly away, moderation and some common sense about the seasonal celebrations is worth keeping in mind.

It can pay, for example, to be careful about what you eat in this festive time. Researchers at the RAND Corporation have just issued a study that finds that consumers are “more likely to choose unhealthy foods from November to December, and the subsequent holiday pounds they gain account for 60 percent to 70 percent of the weight they gain per year.” We’re all too inclined, the researchers said, to feast on “nutritionally undesirable foods” such as sugar-sweetened beverages, chocolates, cookies, candy, and ice cream, leading to added pounds that, alas, don’t go away quickly or easily. Bah, humbug, perhaps to these findings based on information on eating habits of 400,000 South Africans who were followed for four years? Or maybe the calorie-conscious might want to consider the Washington Post’s menu of party options and alternatives?

Or how about following the New York Times’ timely report on how the holidays—with their increased eating and drinking and staying up late or sleeping in—confuse our livers, those vital organs that researchers say closely follow circadian rhythms as they help to filter the blood and to regulate critical body chemistries to process food and liquids, including alcohol.

In her last week of the competition, Toy bid on and won a "growing pound" advantage for the weigh-ins, which would increase each week. In the interest of preserving it, Jen advised her not to use it right away. But that week, Toy went from 282 to 278 pounds, losing only four pounds - not enough to keep her in the game.

A ‘Loser’ contestant with coach. (Copyright NBC)

If you’re staring at that chocolate éclair or slice of apple pie ala mode with special guilt after reading about the weight woes of extreme contestants on a popular television show, fret a wee bit less, please.

It’s true that many pound-conscious people have hit the doldrums after reading in the New York Times that experts monitored some contestants of the hit show, The Biggest Loser, for years after their TV appearances to see if they kept their slimming ways. Nope. Many didn’t.

A lot of people believe that dietary supplements they buy over the counter are merely nutritional insurance, but many of these can have unexpected side effects when taken with other medicine. Guidelines recently issued by the FDA warn consumers about the risks of mixing popular dietary supplements with medications.

As explained on, people risk injury if they combine prescription or over-the-counter medication and supplements. Many of these dietary products alter how meds are absorbed or excreted, as well as a drug’s potency and effectiveness.

That puts people at risk of getting too much or not enough of the medication they need, which, in some cases, can be life-threatening. One example is taking vitamin E with warfarin, a common blood thinner. That combination can double the blood-thinning effect, leading to uncontrolled bleeding.

Dr. Mehmet Oz , a popular TV personality, is better known for his charisma than his medical expertise, and no wonder why – he’s constantly hawking dubious treatments, and recently the chair of the U.S. Senate’s Consumer Protection panel called him out for it.

Oz’s shilling for diet supplements now has the attention of comic John Oliver, to devastating effect, but readers will have to go all the way to the end of this piece to get the link.

Oz testified at a Senate hearing about deceptive advertising for over-the-counter diet supplements and products. According to CBS News, Sen. Claire McCaskill told him, “I get that you do a lot of good on your show [“The Dr. Oz Show”]. But I don’t get why you need to say this stuff because you know it’s not true.”

It’s as if they’re playing hokey-pokey over at the FDA.

The Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee recently gave a thumbs-up to Qnexa fewer than two years after recommending against it. It’s the first time since 1999 that an advisory panel for the federal agency has approved a weight-loss drug.

The FDA doesn’t have to accept the panel’s advice, but usually does.

For a couple of years now, Southern California drivers have become used to seeing

billboards for a medical procedure that promises to turn overweight people into the thin creatures they want to be. By calling 1-800-GET-THIN, you could sign up for a gastric Lap-Band surgery at an outpatient facility and change your life. So they claimed.

Several people who took up the offer did change their life-they died.

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