Symlin Curtails Fast Food Binges in Weight Loss Study

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By: Linda von Wartburg

As many of us know to our dismay, the desire to chow down fatty,sugary food can be very strong indeed. In a recent six-week study of88 obese, non-diabetic men and women, Symlin, a synthetic hormonecurrently used to dampen diabetic blood sugar swings, was found todampen those very desires.

The study was performed at ten U.S. sites by a number ofresearchers, including several from Amylin Pharmaceuticals (themakers of Symlin). It required two inpatient stays, one four dayslong at the beginning and one three days long at the end. For thefirst two days, all patients received a placebo.

After that, each patient received a shot of either Symlin or aplacebo fifteen minutes before every meal. They continued thisregimen during the five weeks between inpatient stays, but the funhappened during the stays.

On days 1, 3, and 43, they were offered a delicious buffetof bagels and cream cheese, muffins, fruits, casseroles, cookies andsoft drinks, as well as an evening snack of cookies and peanutbutter sandwiches. On inpatient days 2, 4, and 44, they were givendeep-dish pizzas, ice cream, and soft drinks to assess theirtendency to binge eat on sweet and fatty fast foods.

On days 1 and 2, when they were still all on a placebo, everypatient apparently ate like there was no tomorrow. Once the Symlinkicked in, however, the eating pattern of the two groups began todiverge. The Symlin group lost an average of 4.5 pounds, while theplacebo group lost zip.

On day 3 (the first day that the Symlin group actually gotSymlin), they ate 990 fewer calories than they’d eaten on day 1. Theplacebo group ate only 243 fewer calories. On day 43, plied withthe same enticing menu, the Symlin group ate 680 calories less thanbefore Symlin, while the placebo group only ate 191 fewer calories.The drop in calories was primarily due to eating smaller portions,although the Symlin group felt just as satisfied as the placebogroup.

On day 44, when the subjects got all the high-fat fast foodgoodies, the Symlin group reduced their intake by 385 caloriescompared to the amount they’d eaten on day 2 when they weren’t onSymlin. The placebo group ate only 109 fewer calories.

Because the weight loss attributable to Symlin alone is fairlymodest, Amylin Pharmaceuticals is conducting several ongoing studiesthat test Symlin in combination with other hormones involved inappetite control, such as leptin.

Rat research has indicated that Symlin may restore thesensitivity to leptin that is often lost in obesity, so the hope isthat the combination of the two may lead to greater appetite controland weight loss.

Sources: EurekAlert
American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism

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