Weight loss may come at a price


Studies have found that people [on Wegovy] They lost 9.6 percent of their weight over the course of 68 weeks, while with Ozembeks they lost seven percent over the same period,” Sumitran explains.


So what happens if you stop taking semaglutide?

Like all medications for long-term conditions, semaglutide only works while you’re taking it, so most people will regain some weight if they stop. Exercising regularly and continuing with the eating plan will help maintain weight loss if you stop taking semaglutide — but it’s hard to maintain the same habits. Long-term eating if you’re off a medication helps control your appetite.”

However, demand for semaglutide has caused such a shortage that stocks of the drug will not be available in Australia until the end of March, according to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

But as Newton points out, losing weight in any way that involves taking in fewer kilojoules than you burn can lead to muscle loss if we skip exercise. Some of us are more at risk than others—serial dieters who have repeatedly tried to lose weight can lose significant muscle over time, he says.


“Muscle loss from frequent dieting without exercise is one reason why weight loss is so difficult to maintain in the long term. When we lose muscle, we lose active tissue that is one of the main users of kilojoules in the body. Even when we are at rest, it is still muscle. You consume kilojoules.”

“Rapid weight loss caused by low-calorie diets like the smoothie or cabbage diet can accelerate muscle loss. Women are more at risk than men because they generally have less muscle to begin with. The same goes for older adults who have low muscle mass due to aging, especially if they are inactive.

“Geriatricians understand this because they see the end result of progressive muscle loss — weakness and problems with movement. It’s a slippery slope that ends in a loss of independence.”

But it’s not just muscle loss that threatens him. Muscle produces a range of hormones and other substances that benefit all of the body’s systems, Newton explains, while excess fat does the opposite — releasing hormones and inflammatory chemicals that undermine our health.


“Fat and muscle are like yin and yang, but with overweight and obesity, these two different tissues are out of balance, and the effect of hormones secreted by fat outweighs the benefits of muscle. This is why body composition — the right balance of muscle and fat — matters more than weight alone.”

What are the signs that you may be losing muscle?

“When you find that tasks that were previously easy—like taking out the trash or lifting the mower out of the bin—get harder,” says Newton.

“The best defense is strength training and you don’t have to go to the gym—you can do bodyweight exercises that target large muscle groups at home like squats, lunges, and pushups two or more times per week.”

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