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  • Michael Lenz

How much would you spend to lose weight?

Semaglutide has been shown to help people lose 10-15% of their body weight. Many celebrities are using it to lose weight, but others who are desperate to lose weight to help with medical conditions affected by it are using it as well. Semaglutide can help people with obesity achieve and maintain their target weight loss, thereby reducing the risk of obesity-related complications. Semaglutide that has been approved for diabetes and also weight loss. It has been considered a big win for those who have struggled with obesity for years despite many failed attempts at traditional dieting. However, the high cost of long-term treatment of obesity with semaglutide is prohibitive for most.


How does semaglutide work?


It is essential to understand how semaglutide works. Semaglutide works by mimicking a substance made by our intestines. This protein is called glucagon-like peptide, also known as GLP-1. GLP-1 acts at several crucial levels that impact glucose control and satiety.

Two medications that act on GLP1, liraglutide, and semaglutide, have been approved to treat obesity. GLP-1RAs work by reducing the appetite and feelings of hunger, slowing the release of food from the stomach, and increasing feelings of fullness after eating. Most people can tolerate GLP-1RAs well. The most common side effects (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) are usually mild and occur in the first few weeks of treatment, reducing over time. Because many people face difficulty maintaining weight loss, lifelong treatment may be needed. This was shown in a study where obese patients were placed on high doses for 20 weeks resulting in an average weight loss of 10%. The group was then given either a placebo or continued on semaglutide. They discovered that those who were no longer on semaglutide had regained most of their weight loss. This study implies long-term treatment is required to sustain effectiveness.





What is the cost?


What is an alternative to semaglutide, which costs $1350 a month or $16,200 a year?

It is important to understand how GLP-1 is naturally activated.

GLP1 is activated through carbon molecules known as short-chain fatty acids. The most common comprise ~60% acetate (C2), 25% propionate (C3), and 15% butyrate.


How do you increase your natural production of free fatty acids?


You do it by eating a diet that is high in fiber. Healthy bacteria in the colon digest plant fiber and then release postbiotics which have many health benefits. One of these chemicals that are produced is free fatty acids. The diet highest in fiber is known as a whole foods plant-based diet. The term “whole” in WFPB describes foods that are minimally processed. These include eating as many whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds as you are hungry.

I prefer not to call this a “diet” and instead a “lifestyle,” different from traditional thinking. It’s not a short-term punishment imposed begrudgingly by guilt. It’s not a set of complicated meal plans. Instead, eating this way is not only healthy but tastes delicious as well and is more enjoyable over time.

While semaglutide helps achieve and maintain weight loss by activating GLP-1, so does eating a whole foods plant-based diet, as demonstrated in numerous studies.


The benefits of whole food plant-based diet go well beyond weight loss.


It has been shown to reverse and prevent many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, some cancers, as well as reduce the suffering in chronic pain conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. This has not been demonstrated by semaglutide or other GLP1-acting medications.


What is the best choice?


What is the price difference between semaglutide and whole food plant-based diet?

Enormous.

Consider all your options.

If you are unable to afford semaglutide, don't be dismayed. Even if your insurance company covers part of the cost, consider a whole foods plant-based instead.

Consider spending the money a fraction of the $16,000 you would spend in a year and instead work with a dietitian who understands how to transition to a plant-based diet. Others can be found on the plantrician website.

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