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Physiology of the weight-loss plateau in response to diet restriction, GLP-1 receptor agonism, and bariatric surgery.

Obesity 2024 April 23
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate why different weight-loss interventions result in varying durations of weight loss prior to approaching plateaus.

METHODS: A validated mathematical model of energy metabolism and body composition dynamics was used to simulate mean weight- and fat-loss trajectories in response to diet restriction, semaglutide 2.4 mg, tirzepatide 10 mg, and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery interventions. Each intervention was simulated by adjusting two model parameters affecting energy intake to fit the mean weight-loss data. One parameter represented the persistent shift of the system from baseline equilibrium, and the other parameter represented the strength of the feedback control circuit relating weight loss to increased appetite.

RESULTS: RYGB surgery resulted in a persistent intervention magnitude more than threefold greater than diet restriction and about double that of tirzepatide and semaglutide. All interventions except diet restriction substantially weakened the appetite feedback control circuit, resulting in an extended period of weight loss prior to the plateau.

CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary mathematical modeling results suggest that both glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonism and RYGB surgery interventions act to weaken the appetite feedback control circuit that regulates body weight and induce greater persistent effects to shift the body weight equilibrium compared with diet restriction.

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