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Reducing Food Noise: Understanding Weight Loss Medication Effects

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Posted by Ciera Johnson, MD

Do you think about food all day? Do you finish one meal and plan the next? This incessant internal chatter about food and eating is called “food noise”.

If this is you, you’re not alone. Many people, especially those who are overweight or obese, live with food noise and obsessive or intrusive thoughts about food and eating.

New weight loss drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy and similar medications, originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes, are now making it possible for some people to turn down the volume on their food noise or get rid of it altogether. Users report spending less time thinking about their next meal, reduced hunger and fewer cravings.

Why do some people experience more “food noise”?

Some experts view food noise as something you are wired for from a young age and others believe it is tied to learned habits and environmental influences. People who have a lot of food noise, however it develops, may find it harder to lose and maintain weight because their intense preoccupation with food may also be tied to binge eating disorder.

How do weight loss drugs lower the volume of food noise?

The active ingredient in most of the currently popular weight loss drugs is semaglutide, which activates receptors for glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a hormone released in the gut in response to eating that signals fullness and satiety and helps suppress the appetite and reduce cravings. It also causes the stomach to empty more slowly, which may make you feel full faster and stay full longer.

Most of these weight loss medications must be taken regularly to experience the effects of lower food noise and weight loss, which may require that some users take them for the rest of their lives. People who stop taking the medications often see their food noise return and tend to regain the lost weight.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by food noise? Schedule an appointment online or call 800-TEMPLE-MED to meet with a primary care physician and learn about weight management and the options best for you.

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Ciera Johnson, MD

Dr. Johnson is a board-certified Family Medicine physician at Temple Health - Chestnut Hill Hospital.

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