Since the most common weight loss advise to count calories and exercise more hasn’t worked, pharmaceutical companies have finally garnered approval for two new “obesity” medications — namely, Belviq and Qsymia.

Belviq was rejected by the FDA in 2010 due to the development of heart valvular defects, yet recently received approval with acknowledged side effects of dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. Belviq isn’t an appetite suppressant, rather it works by activating a receptor in your brain that tells you that you are full with less food. Quality protein, good fats, and appropriate portions will also signal the ventromedial nucleus of your hypothalamus that you are full too — with the only side effect being that you will finally be able to lose weight.

Qysmia, the other recently approved obesity medication, is a combination of Phentermine (and appetite suppressant prescribed for decades) and Topiramate (aka Topamax, a seizure medication that purports to promote feelings of satiety). Qysmia is available only through a mail-order pharmacy, requires monthly pregnancy tests, and is contraindicated if you have glaucoma or and over-active thyroid).

The American Medical Association has declared what most of us already knew ~~ obesity is a disease. Have you ever wondered why we didn’t have epidemic obesity in the 1950s? Will taking one of these obesity medications finally be the “answer” to your continuous struggle to lose weight? These medications report that most will lose 5-10% of their body weight if they are greater than 35 pounds overweight. So if you are 170 pounds and 5’5”, what are you going to do after you whittle down to 153 pounds?

Ever since fat has been demonized we have become fatter and fatter. Food scientists are erudite in understanding that satiety depends on understanding dopaminergic neuronal pathways, and they also are brilliant at creating foods that help develop refined food addiction. When a food is labeled low fat it means that the fat has been replaced with sugar and chemicals to enhance taste. Sugar is usually the major ingredient. Since the major ingredient of a food must be listed first, food scientists have cleverly used a dozen or so words for sugar to fool you. Food scientists also know that high fructose corn syrup (which has multiple names) and is ever-present in prepared foods stimulate the stomach hormone ghrelin to be activated. When you have ghrelin, your stomach is growlin, and you are constantly hungry.

Learning what food does to brain chemistry starts to explain why so many patients tell me they need to eat every couple of hours! I explain that when you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar spikes, insulin is sent to lower your blood sugar, and then your blood sugar is low again. Since too much insulin is a fat storing hormone, you eventually complain of a newfound muffin top or belly fat that is heartbreakingly resistant to your previous weight loss efforts that worked so well. Did you notice that hunger and weight is affected by so many hormones?

There is a European diet that I learned about 25 years ago. But I stubbornly said there will never be a diet in my practice believing that if I taught patients what protein is and how much they need, monitoring carbohydrates and dividing carbs by 5 to see how many teaspoons of sugar they are ingesting daily, that fat is essential to stabilize hunger and blood sugar, etc……they would be able to regain their lean body. What I didn’t realize is that so many are addicted to sugar and chemicalized foods that have been engineered by food scientists to ensure that you are constantly hungry. We are a species that has evolved to survive starvation but not to resist abundance. Food addiction is beautifully explained in The End of Overeating by David Kessler, JD, MD.

The European diet, developed circa 1950, utilizes the injection of a hormone that purports to help you lose fat and retain muscle, without hunger. Naysayers proclaimed outrage and said anyone would lose weight with the limited calories. Dr. Sheri Emma appeared on Dr. Oz on three occasions to explain and defend her research. Patients receiving salt water injections lost muscle and patients receiving the hormone injections lost fat. Dr. Oz, who was originally a non-believer, now admits, as do I, that one can’t argue with the results. He merely suggests doing the diet under the advisement of medical counsel. Dr. Emma was gracious enough to allow me to train with her in her North Jersey office to learn more about her research and changes to the diet.

Patients tell me that in addition to losing 2 sizes, their fat is redistributed, they feel more stable emotionally, sleep more deeply, and are mentally clear. What they are telling me is how well they feel when they do not partake of refined sugar, chemicals, wheat, or dairy. In addition to the hormone assisting fat loss they are also detoxing from our standard American diet of bread and all it’s friends, chemicals, and astronomic amounts of sugar.

Most patients lose ten pounds or more when their declining hormones are replaced with low dose bioidentical hormones accompanied by learning what to eat and why. For those who need immediate results, there is the option of the European diet.