Short term effects of semaglutide on emotional eating and other abnormal eating patterns among subjects living with obesity

Physiol Behav. 2022 Dec 1:257:113967. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2022.113967. Epub 2022 Sep 24.

Abstract

Objective: Emotional eating (EE) and other abnormal eating patterns are highly prevalent among people living with obesity (PWO). In this sense, semaglutide, by acting on areas of the brain involved in the reward system and emotion regulation, could have the potential to ameliorate these eating patterns.

Method: 69 PWO attending an obesity clinic were evaluated baseline and after 3 months since the beginning of semaglutide. To rule out abnormal EE, the Emotional Eating Questionnaire was administered, and a structured interview was conducted.

Results: 69 PWO (82.6%♀, 43.7 ± 1years, and 34.3 ± 6 kg/m2) were included. After 3 months of semaglutide, there was a significant reduction in weight (96.1 ± 20.9 vs 91.3 ± 19.7 kg; p < 0.001) and BMI (34.3 ± 6 vs 32.4 ± 5.6 kg/m2; p < 0.0001). The proportion of patients with EE (72.5% vs 11.5%; p < 0.001), external eating (27.5% vs 10.1%; p < 0.001) cravings (49.3% vs 21.7%; p < 0.001) and savory cravings (53.6% vs 14.5%; p < 0.001) was significantly reduced after 3 months of semaglutide. Also, the proportion of PWO with regular exercise was increased (15.9% vs 39.1%; p < 0.001). However, Logistic regression analysis showed that only sweet cravings at baseline were the only factor associated, although not significant, with a poorer weight loss (p = 0.05).

Discussion: Semaglutide is an effective weight-loss treatment in PWO at short term. Moreover, semaglutide was highly effective in ameliorating EE and other abnormal eating patterns that exert a negative influence on weight.

Keywords: Cravings; Emotional eating; Exercise; Obesity; Semaglutide.

MeSH terms

  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Obesity* / drug therapy
  • Obesity* / psychology
  • Weight Loss

Substances

  • semaglutide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides