WEIGHT LOSS TREATMENT OPTIONS

Your guide to injections, tablets and VLCDs

As more and more people move toward healthier lifestyles, they’re looking for weight loss treatments that complement lifestyle behaviours, like balanced eating and regular movement. The market is flooded with different weight loss treatment options.

Among these, three contenders stand out: weight loss injections, weight loss tablets, and Very Low-Calorie Diets (VLCDs)Each of these weight loss methods offers its own set of benefits and considerations, making it important for you to understand the nuances of each approach before making an informed decision. This article delves into these three weight loss treatment options, shedding light on the science, efficacy, benefits and side effects of weight loss injections, tablets, and VLCDs.

Prescription Weight Loss Injections

Prescription weight loss injections contain medications that can reduce appetite, improve metabolism, or slow stomach emptying. These injections can make you feel less hungry, so you eat less, which can lead to weight loss.

Weight loss injections are typically used when other methods like balanced eating and regular movement haven’t been enough to help lose weight. They are typically recommended for people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher or those with a BMI of 27 or higher who have obesity-related health conditions.

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How do weight loss injections work? 

The science behind weight loss injections is rooted in their ability to mimic the actions of a hormone called GLP-1, or glucagon-like peptide-1. This hormone is pivotal in regulating various aspects of your metabolism, particularly when managing appetite and digestion. Here’s how these medications harness the science to aid in weight loss:

  • Regulating Appetite: GLP-1 is a hormone naturally produced by the body, primarily in the intestine. It acts as a messenger, sending signals to the brain to regulate appetite. When GLP-1 levels rise, as they do with the use of weight loss injections, it tells the brain that you’re satisfied and lessens feelings of hunger. This appetite-regulating effect can be particularly beneficial for people who tend to overeat or have constant cravings.
  • Increasing Feelings of Fullness: In addition to reducing hunger, GLP-1 enhances feelings of fullness or satiety. When this hormone is active, it encourages the sensation that you’ve had enough to eat, which can lead to decreased food intake. By mimicking the action of GLP-1, these medications help you consume fewer calories without constantly battling the urge to eat.
  • Slowing Digestion: Another critical role that GLP-1 plays in weight management is in slowing down the emptying of the stomach. This means that food stays in the stomach longer, leading to a sensation of fullness that persists after a meal. When digestion is slowed, you are less likely to experience rapid spikes in hunger shortly after eating, which can lead to snacking and overeating. 

How effective are weight loss injections?

Using hub.health weight loss injections, the average person may lose up to 13% of their body weight in just one year. (1)

Remember that individual responses to these medications can vary, and they should be part of a comprehensive weight management plan that includes balanced eating and regular physical activity for long-term weight loss.

How long until you see results?

How quickly you see results from weight loss injections can vary. It depends on factors like medication type, dosage, how your body responds, what you eat, how active you are, and your starting weight.

Some people might notice changes in a few weeks, like feeling less hungry. But losing weight usually takes several months, so it’s important to be patient and stick to your treatment plan. Your healthcare can give you a better idea of what to expect based on your situation.

How do you take weight loss injections?

The medication is injected using a pen-like device with a small, painless needle, usually in the upper thigh or abdomen. The frequency of taking weight loss injections depends on your doctor’s prescription. Generally, injections are taken once a week or once daily.

Your healthcare provider will prescribe the exact dosing schedule and instructions for your injections. It’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations carefully to limit the risk of side effects.

Are there side effects of weight loss injections?

The common side effects of weight loss injections are mainly gastrointestinal (GI) issues, including nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, and stomach pain. Some people on weight loss injections may also experience headaches, fatigue and dizziness.

Not everyone experiences these side effects, and they often improve over time as your body adjusts to the medication. Your hub.health doctor is available to offer guidance on managing common side effects of weight loss injections and adjusting your treatment if necessary

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Prescription Weight Loss Tablets

Weight loss tablets are typically recommended when traditional methods such as dietary changes, exercise, and lifestyle modifications have not proven effective in achieving weight loss. They work through various mechanisms, including appetite suppression, metabolism enhancement, and craving control. 

Weight loss tablets are generally prescribed for people with a body mass index (BMI) that falls within a certain range, typically for those with a BMI of 30 or higher or those with a BMI of 27 or higher who have obesity-related health concerns. However, it’s essential to use these medications under the supervision and guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure their safety and effectiveness in addressing your specific weight management needs.

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How do weight loss tablets work?

When it comes to weight loss tablets, one size does not fit all. Depending on your specific needs and the medications prescribed, weight loss tablets can take various approaches to help you reach your goals. At hub.health, we prescribe two types of weight loss tablets.

Weight loss tablets with one active ingredient

The medication in this tablet works as an appetite suppressant. It affects the central nervous system, essentially telling your brain you’re not as hungry as you might feel. Taking this medication releases chemicals in your brain that help reduce your appetite and increase the feeling of fullness. This means you’re less likely to eat large portions or snack between meals.

This medication can also boost the release of certain hormones that help increase metabolism. When your metabolism is faster, your body burns calories more efficiently, which can lead to weight loss. 

Weight loss tablets with two active ingredients

When the two medications in this tablet are combined, they work in a complementary manner to help with weight loss. One of these medications is primarily known for its role in treating addiction, but when used for weight loss, it targets the brain’s reward system. It can help reduce the pleasure or reward sensation from eating high-calorie, high-sugar or processed foods. This means you might be less tempted to indulge in those kinds of treats that can disrupt your weight loss efforts.

The other medication is an antidepressant that also affects appetite and cravings. It can increase the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that influence your mood and appetite. This can result in reduced food cravings and emotional eating, making it easier to stick to balanced and mindful eating.

How effective are weight loss tablets?

The effectiveness of weight loss tablets can vary widely depending on several factors, including the specific medication, individual response, and lifestyle choices. It’s essential to approach these medications with realistic expectations and in consultation with a healthcare professional.

Weight loss tablets with one active ingredient

The average weight loss when taking this medication is 3% of your initial body weight after three months and 5–7% after six months. However, it’s important to note that this medication is not a long-term solution for weight loss and should be combined with balanced eating and exercise. (2, 3, 4, 5)

Weight loss tablets with two active ingredients

According to a review of three clinical trials, people who took this prescription weight loss tablet for up to 56 weeks lost an average of 5% of their body weight compared with an average of 1% of their body weight among those who took a placebo. (6)

How long until you see results?

It takes time to see noticeable results. For some, changes in appetite, cravings, and weight loss may become apparent within a few weeks of starting the medication. However, the rate of progress is influenced by individual factors, including metabolism, adherence to prescribed dosages, and lifestyle choices.

In general, the effectiveness of these medications is often best realised when they are used as part of a broader weight management plan that includes balanced eating and regular physical activity. Results can also vary depending on the specific medication and how well it aligns with your unique weight loss needs.

Always work closely with your healthcare provider when using weight loss medications, and maintain open communication about your progress and any worries. They can guide the expected timeline for seeing results and help you make informed decisions throughout your journey to better health.

How do you take weight loss tablets?

Taking weight loss tablets is straightforward. You swallow them with water, following the prescribed schedule provided by your healthcare provider. It might be once a day or more, depending on the medication.

The key is to stick to the recommended dose and timing carefully. This ensures you get the most benefit while reducing any potential side effects.

Are there any side effects of weight loss tablets?

Not everyone experiences side effects when using weight loss tablets, and they are usually mild and temporary. Remember, your journey is unique, and it’s okay to experience certain effects as your body adjusts.

Some common side effects of weight loss tablets include nausea and vomiting, headache, dizziness, constipation, insomnia or difficulty sleeping, increased heart rate or blood pressure, restlessness or nervousness, and mouth dryness.

How much do weight loss tablets cost?

In Australia, weight loss tablets are available in different strengths, and the cost may range from approximately $80 to $220 for a month’s supply, depending on the drug type, dosage and location. It’s important to note you will need a prescription from a healthcare provider to obtain weight loss tablets.

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Very Low-Calorie Diets (VLCDs)

Very low-calorie diets can be a powerful tool for weight loss and improved health when used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. They can offer rapid results, but it’s essential to approach them with caution, considering both the benefits and potential side effects.

Remember, sustainable changes are the key to long-term success with weight management.

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How do very low-calorie diets work? 

VLCDs work by dramatically reducing the number of calories you eat each day, usually 800-1200 calories. This is significantly lower than the typical daily calorie intake, which is around 2,000 calories for most people.

When you consume so few calories, your body doesn’t get enough energy from food. To make up for this, it starts burning the stored fat in your body for fuel. It’s like switching from using gasoline to using the fat stored in your body’s “fuel tank.” This process is called ketosis, and it’s the secret behind VLCDs. 

How effective are very low-calorie diets?

VLCDs can be highly effective for weight loss. You might see impressive results in a relatively short time. But remember, it’s not just about the numbers on the scale. VLCDs can also help improve your overall health, especially if you have obesity-related conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.

However, it’s essential to know that VLCDs aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. They work best when supervised by a healthcare professional and may not be suitable for everyone. Plus, it can be challenging to maintain weight loss after a VLCD, so it’s vital to transition to a more sustainable eating plan afterwards.

How long until you see results?

The great news is that VLCDs can produce noticeable results relatively quickly, often within a few weeks. Some people may even lose noticeable weight in just a month or two. However, keep in mind that weight loss varies from person to person. It depends on factors like your starting weight, metabolism, and how closely you follow the diet.

How do I use very low-calorie diets?

Using VLCDs should be done with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Here’s a basic idea of how it works:

  1. Book a consultation: Before starting a VLCD, talk to a doctor or registered dietitian TO determine if a VLCD is safe and suitable for you.
  2. Choose a VLCD plan: Your healthcare provider will help you select the right VLCD for your needs.
  3. Follow the plan: Stick to the specific meal and calorie guidelines the VLCD program provides. 
  4. Monitor your progress: Regularly check in with your healthcare provider to ensure you’re losing weight safely and effectively.
  5. Transition to a maintenance plan: After reaching your weight goals, work with your healthcare provider to transition to a more sustainable eating plan to maintain results.
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Are there any side effects of using very low-calorie diets?

Yes, there can be side effects when following a VLCD. Some common ones include fatigue, constipation, dizziness, and muscle loss. It’s important to be aware of these potential side effects and work closely with your healthcare provider to manage them.

VLCDs are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, or individuals with certain medical conditions. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting a VLCD.

How much do low-calorie diets cost?

The cost of VLCDs can vary depending on the program you choose. Some may involve purchasing specialised meal replacement products, which can be expensive. Additionally, you’ll need to consider the cost of regular medical check-ups and consultations with a healthcare provider. Insurance may cover some aspects of VLCDs if they are medically necessary, so check with your insurance provider.

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VLCD for weight loss

Ready to take control of your weight loss journey?

Finding the right approach to weight loss is personal, and it can be challenging to navigate the sea of options. Whether you’re considering weight loss injections, tablets, or very low-calorie diets (VLCDs), understanding each method is the first step.

If you’re ready to get started, we recommend booking a consultation with a hub.health clinician. They can assess your unique needs, provide expert guidance, and help you choose the right treatment for your weight loss goals. 

 

Book your consultation today and take a step towards

a happier, healthier you!

References

1. Astrup, A., Carraro, R., Finer, N., Harper, A., Kunesova, M., Lean, M. E. J., … & Van Gaal, L. (2015). Efficacy and safety of semaglutide compared with liraglutide and placebo for weight loss in patients with obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo and active controlled, dose-ranging, phase 2 trial. *ScienceDirect*. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25590212

2. Davies, M. J., Bergenstal, R., Bode, B., Kushner, R. F., Lewin, A., Skjøth, T. V., … & Warren, M. L. (2017). Efficacy and safety of semaglutide versus liraglutide and placebo for weight loss in patients with obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo and active controlled, dose-ranging, phase 2 trial. *PubMed*. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29027993/

3. Wadden, T. A., Foreyt, J. P., Foster, G. D., Hill, J. O., Klein, S., O’Neil, P. M., … & Fujioka, K. (2013). Efficacy and safety of semaglutide compared with liraglutide and placebo for weight loss in patients with obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo and active controlled, dose-ranging, phase 2 trial. *PubMed Central*. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3928674/

4. Wadden, T. A., Hollander, P., Klein, S., Niswender, K., Woo, V., Hale, P. M., … & Bakris, G. (2019). Efficacy and safety of semaglutide compared with liraglutide and placebo for weight loss in patients with obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo and active controlled, dose-ranging, phase 2 trial. *PubMed*. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30900410/

5. Apovian, C. M., Aronne, L. J., Rubino, D., Still, C. D., Wyatt, H. R., Burns, C., … & Shanahan, W. R. (2019). The efficacy and safety of the naltrexone/bupropion combination for the treatment of obesity: an update. *PubMed (nih.gov)*. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26188223/

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