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New treatments on the horizon for weight loss


The body likes things to remain the same. Sometimes it will pull out all the stops to make weight loss maintenance difficult.

As the warmer months approach, people become concerned about how they will look in the latest summer fashions.

Ok, let us get real. People are more concerned about their weight. With all the positive and negative news about the GLP-1 injections, the pressure to lose weight is more intense. The propensity to judge is more and to understand is less.

Certainly, the need to lose weight for health reasons is real. Many studies have shown that reducing weight is imperative for some and will improve their quality of life.

The relationship to food is complex. It is a vital component of life. If you do not eat, you will starve to death. But if you eat too much food that is harmful to the body and abuses your body, food can certainly harm your life.

Food scientists have figured out just the right combinations of mouthfeel, taste, and chemicals that can make a food addictive. Sugar lights up the same areas of the brain as cocaine, so the relationship between food and humans is complicated.

When one successfully loses weight, the body has mechanisms in place that fight to have you regain that weight. The body is here to preserve itself, and it may see this weight loss as a threat to its survival. It has hormones that it excretes to compel you to eat more by causing you to be hungry and, therefore, possibly regain weight if you are not aware and able to work around it.

The so-called “hunger hormone” is ghrelin. It is produced in the stomach and is a hormone that compels you to eat. The body likes things to remain the same and may not take kindly to weight reduction. It will sometimes pull out all the stops to make weight loss maintenance difficult.

The complexities of the relationship to food also extend to people who think of their next meal almost before they can finish the one they are eating. One of the benefits of the new injectable GLP-1 is that it can change that relationship by occupying the so-called satiety area of the brain, so the brain is satisfied and does not think so much of food.

A new treatment is on the horizon that targets the “hunger hormone” ghrelin. One new treatment is a procedure that destroys the cells in the stomach that produce it by ablation. This has resulted in some weight loss. It is new but will become part of a cadre of tools in the tool kit to help people lose and maintain weight. It is a one-time procedure, which may become more attractive to people than a shot once a week.

I believe all the tools in the toolbox will play well together as we reach the goal of helping people achieve a healthy weight and live a healthy, active lifestyle.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at