Weight loss drugs lead to muscle loss not fat, experts say

Obesity can lead people to try out every other trend to lose weight but it is important to remain mindful of ways that may harm the human body instead

By Web Desk
May 20, 2023
This image shows medicinal pills displayed next to a measuring tape. — Unsplash/File

Experts have revealed that weight loss medicines may allow people suffering from obesity to achieve remarkable results but they are not entirely safe to use.

Weight loss, with the help of weight loss medicines such as Ozempic and Wegovy by Novo Nordisk, carries lean mass — that includes an individual’s bones, organs, and muscle — more than actual fat which can prove to be troublesome for one’s body.


Dr Jaime Almandoz, an associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, said: “When we look at weight reduction from any intervention, about one-third of the weight we lose tends to be lean mass, and that can be problematic.”

The lost lean mass generally consists of muscle while it is important to retain muscle mass as it helps improve metabolic rate at rest.

She added: “Lean mass is healthier and associated with better metabolism, so when we lose lean mass, we may lose some of that function.”

Although it is normal to lose muscle mass during weight loss extensive loss of muscle mass is not suitable for people.

While emphasising the significance of muscle mass, Dr Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine said: "If you can maintain your muscle mass, you could have more sustained weight loss because your metabolic rate would not be reduced."

According to Dr Juliana Simonetti, co-director of the Comprehensive Weight Management Program at the University of Utah, there are other, less harmful ways to lose weight.

People with obesity or above the age of 60 can shed weight while maintaining a healthy muscle mass by increasing the intake of protein in their diet.

Protein is the foundation which enables muscles to build and repair. Simonetti recommends using protein supplements, such as protein powders, that are low in sugar and have at least 20 grams of protein per serving, an NBC report said.

Simonetti also recommends staying in close contact with their health care advisor because if one is losing weight at a rapid pace, it can be difficult to tell whether they are losing fat or muscle mass without professional equipment.