Anyone who has struggled with dieting knows that losing weight and keeping it off is not an easy task. Not surprisingly, many people turn to dieting drugs hoping for a “magic pill” to help them lose weight and keep it off. A new study from scientists at the University of Liverpool shows that most anti-obesity drugs do not yield long-term results because the medications don’t target emotional issues that affect a person’s appetite.
Obesity is usually caused by over-consumption of food and lack of exercise, and a number of psychological factors can also contribute to the problem. The study notes that most anti-obesity drug developers make weight loss results their primary concern, with pills that suppress hunger, change metabolism, and limit the body’s ability to absorb calories. Weight loss drug developers don’t take into consideration the emotional triggers—such as reactions to advertising, a heightened sensitivity to food, and the pleasure one experiences when eating. These emotional triggers also lead people to overeat and make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight once a dieter’s goal is reached.
With obesity on the rise and now a leading cause of diabetes, heart disease, and shortened life expectancy, this study could encourage developers to consider our psychological relationship to food when developing new medications. Until then, if you are overweight or at-risk of becoming obese, it is important to consult a doctor or nutritionist to find a healthy, balanced diet that will work within your lifestyle.