With obesity rates increasing, many Americans are looking for ways to fight the epidemic in their own lives. Beyond aesthetics, obesity can increase the risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression.
To combat obesity and encourage weight loss, individuals engage in healthy eating habits and exercise. To support these endeavors, scientists have created a variety of appetite suppressant shakes, pills, and medicines to reduce appetite and work with weight loss. How do appetite suppressants work? Let’s take a look at what appetite actually is, what appetite suppressants are, and how appetite suppressants work to promote weight loss.
What is appetite?
There are a number of hormones, proteins, and physical responses that create appetite. Appetite, or the desire to eat food, begins in the brain—not the digestive system. A part of the brain called the hypothalamus brings to mind an awareness of hunger. Hormones secreted by the intestines, pancreas, and fat tissue signal to the hypothalamus that the body needs more food, creating a feeling of hunger.
Appetite can be about more than the physical need for nourishment—it is connected to pleasure in the brain. The neurotransmitter serotonin, which creates feelings of happiness and well-being, also affects how the brain perceives hunger and reactions to foods. Low blood sugar levels, typically caused by a lack of food, lower serotonin levels in the brain, which can make a person feel both irritable and hungry, and increase appetite. The pleasure center of the brain, the nucleus accumbens, is also stimulated while a person is eating, which can increase the drive to eat.
How do appetite suppressants work?
Appetite suppressants are pills, shakes, or other products designed to disrupt the many signals your brain receives that result in a feeling of hunger. When hunger signals are disrupted, your appetite is reduced. A reduced appetite means your brain only communicates to your body the desire to eat foods that are necessary, resulting in weight loss. Here are two common ways appetite suppressants work:
- Expand in your stomach to signal to the brain that the stomach is full.
- Increase serotonin, which increases the satisfaction and satiety your brain gets from food, so you feel happier with less. The increased sense of well-being that comes from more serotonin can decrease emotional overeating, leading to weight loss.
Many dieters struggle to lose weight because, while they are eating well and exercising, they can’t shake the feeling of hunger, which can lead to overeating. Appetite suppressants alter brain chemistry to create a feeling of fullness, making it easier for dieters to succeed with their weight loss goals.
If you are interested in learning more about the science of appetite and weight loss, connect with Xyngular.