How weight loss makes us hungrier

Table of Contents

  1. ‘Gold standard in obesity treatment’
  2. Hunger ‘seems to override’ satiety

A Norwegian study of individuals with severe obesity has found that although hormones that control both fullness and hunger increase after weight loss, it seems that hunger wins.
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The implication, the researchers conclude, is that overweight individuals who lose weight may have to learn to live with feeling hungry.

They suggest that their recent findings, which have now been published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, support the idea that obesity should be treated as a long-term illness.

Type 2 diabetes is treated in a similar way, and individuals with the condition are monitored closely to help them hold onto their gains.

“We have to stop treating [obesity] as a short-term illness,” explains lead study author Catia Martins, an associate professor in the Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, “by giving patients some support and help, and then just letting them fend for themselves.”

‘Gold standard in obesity treatment’

In the United States, obesity is common and affects 36.5 percent of the adult population. It costs more than $147 billion per year to treat.

Obesity is linked to a number of serious health problems that are leading causes of death both in the U.S. and worldwide, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.

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Prof. Martins and colleagues studied morbidly obese adults who took part in a 2-year weight loss program during which they attended five 3-week residential sessions.

Morbidly obese is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) that is greater than 40.

At each residential session, the participants received advice and therapy and learned about weight loss and how to achieve it through diet and exercise.

“We gave 34 patients with morbid obesity the gold standard in obesity treatment over a period of 2 years,” Prof. Martins notes.

Between the residential sessions, the participants were all urged to continue with what they had learned about maintaining a healthful diet and getting some exercise every day.


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