By Charalampos Karouzos,
Seeking the ideal body, and reflecting on beauty has been and still is part of human nature. The eagerness to achieve the “perfect” silhouette, especially among women, can be reflected subtly in one’s everyday life, in advertisements for example, and very evidently in art. Artists and more evidently sculptors through the centuries have been attempting to formulate their soulless, shapeless material to a sculpture not only representing a human anatomically but reflecting each era’s “ideal” body. Especially regarding women, femineity has been served in arts by the acquisition of a symmetrical, well–balanced, and healthy–looking body, and women have been eager to make the sacrifices needed, to achieve this flawless figure.
Today, although the actions of the fat acceptance movement have minimized the social stigma against obese people, strongly lies the idea of the perfect skinny woman is. Seeking social and personal body–acceptance, individuals have driven themselves on the very dangerous road of using pharmaceutical drugs illicitly, to achieve that look. In recent times, Ozempic, a novel diabetic drug has been going viral for its secondary weight loss effect, with non–diabetics and especially young individuals craving to get the magical drug on hand, creating a previously unseen shortage.
Weight loss, being a major topic of concern and conflict has now been inflamed again by the publicity the novel drug Ozempic received, especially among the younger generation throughout the platforms of TikTok and Twitter. People observed the secondary effect of weight loss in diabetic patients using that medication and thus considered it a panacea for weight loss. The videos and posts on social platforms showing incredible results, and people lose weight fast and effortlessly, however, this belief is far from the truth. Ozempic (semaglutide) is a newer (not the only one) medication that has been shown to be an effective treatment option for type 2 diabetes, developed by the Danish company Novo Nordisk.
Although Ozempic is FDA and EMA—agreed usage is for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, in clinical trials, participants who received Ozempic had greater weight loss compared to those who received a placebo. For example, in the SUSTAIN–7 trial, participants who received Ozempic had an average weight loss of 4.7 kg (10.4 lbs) after 40 weeks of treatment, while those who received a placebo had an average weight loss of 1.7 kg (3.7 lbs). Similarly, in the PIONEER–2 trial, participants who received Ozempic had an average weight loss of 3.9 kg (8.6 lbs) after 52 weeks of treatment, while those who received a placebo had an average weight loss of 0.9 kg (2.0 lbs).
The weight loss effect of Ozempic is believed to be due to its ability to suppress appetite and reduce food intake. GLP–1, the hormone that Ozempic mimics is known to promote satiety (the feeling of fullness) and reduce hunger. By activating the GLP–1 receptor, Ozempic can increase feelings of fullness and decrease feelings of hunger, which can lead to reduced food intake and ultimately weight loss. The weight loss effect of Ozempic may also be due to its ability to increase energy expenditure (the amount of energy the body uses). In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers found that treatment with Ozempic increased energy expenditure in individuals with obesity. This increase in energy expenditure may be due to Ozempic’s ability to increase the body’s metabolism (the rate at which the body burns calories).
It is important to note that weight loss with Ozempic is not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Weight loss is primarily dependent on factors such as diet and exercise and Ozempic should not be used as a substitute for lifestyle modifications. Indeed, doctors should not prescribe Ozempic or Wegovy (the same exact drug, by the same pharmaceutical company but under a different name. A strategy used by the company to have the drug approved this version of the drug as an obesity medication) as a first—line treatment for obesity as the risk–benefit ratio is not favorable for non–diabetics and patients that don’t have any obesity–related comorbidities. In addition, if the necessary lifestyle modifications are not made the drug will not have the desired weight loss effects, and after stopping the drug, patients will regain or gain even more weight back. Weight loss regardless of the medication used, diet followed, or exercise plan performed, relies on the simple basis of energy (calories) in and calories out. Under physiological conditions, if an individual actually consumes fewer calories than they utilize will lose weight.
Having extra weight must not be a topic of discrimination and modern society’s obsession with our appearance should be stopped. That was the idea behind Marianne Lindberg De Geer’s installation outside the art museum (Konsthallen) in Växjö, Sweden demonstrating one fat and one thin woman talking to each other, an installation that was vandalized in the past. The idea against extra weight lies in the fact that obese people are unhealthy, although obesity is an important disease in the 21st century, being at a normal weight is not the sole determinant of health. Obesity is a disease itself and is a risk factor for many other associated syndromes. As with every disease, patients should be at the center of support not be the subjects of discrimination.
- Will the Ozempic era change how we think about being thin and fat. newyorker.com. Available here
Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug Ozempic back in supply in US after months of shortage. reuters.com. Available here
L’Ozempic fa dimagrire? Ecco perché assumerlo è una pessima idea. nutridoc.it. Available here