This is interesting. I was working with a client recently who is struggling with weight loss. One of the “foods” he has trouble resisting is diet soda. Previously I suggested he work on quitting diet sodas as they really sabotage weight loss- contrary to what the company wants you to believe.
Repeatedly he has said that his main craving that he can’t totally eliminate is for the diet soda. I explained that this should definitely give him evidence that diet sodas are bad. People don’t have cravings (at least not addictive cravings) for “natural”, healthy food. He agreed, and has been able to lower his consumption, but said that when he is stressed, diet soda is what he really craves.
That made me think about how so many foods today really cause addictive cravings, mostly due to the artificial chemicals in them. As a Nutritionist, I get so frustrated in trying to help people lose weight because so often it comes down to combating these addictive cravings, and it seems nothing is able to suppress them.
That’s when the light bulb went off. I started to think about a drug I know that does help with addiction. The drug is called Naltrexone. It was originally used to help drug addicts break their habit. It is very effective, and also pretty easy to wean off of once the addiction is under control.
So I did a little research, and sure enough, a drug company has created a weight loss pill that combines Naltrexone with Wellbutrin (an antidepressant). The drug is called “Contrave” and it did well in studies, and the company recently filed for FDA approval, which they expect to come through soon. (see attached article for details)
I am now looking for more natural alternatives that help with addiction and cravings. I think this is the missing piece to help people truly lose weight and keep it off. Over time, once people are able to stay away from the junk they are addicted to, and they have cleansed their palates of these addictive chemicals, and they have adopted healthier eating habits, they should be able to build on that.
It is a matter of fighting fire with fire. We may need chemical help initially to help our bodies control the cravings we have for the addictive chemicals. Naltrexone helps by blocking dopamine receptors so you don’t get high from drugs that normally get into neurotransmitter receptors and cause a high. Many food chemicals have a similar affect on the brain as drugs do. So by blocking these receptors, you are able to block the satisfaction you get from these chemicals. Over time, the cravings lessen, and you are able to quit the addiction.
If this drug, and others that are sure to follow, works; it will hopefully finally send the clear message that the processed junk food that we eat in this country is truly killing us. And maybe we will see real change.