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Top MDs Explain How GLP-1s Silence Food Noise to Make Weight Loss Effortless

Discover the true meaning of food noise and how drugs like Ozempic counteract it

“You don’t notice background static until it’s turned off.” That’s what Anthony Puopolo II, MD, discovered about the very real phenomenon of “food noise” when he began taking popular weight-loss drugs known as GLP-1s. (These drugs are best known by the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy). After getting the weekly injections, he effortlessly lost 40 pounds in 13 months. But the biggest change: The constant mental chatter in his head, which he never really knew was there, quieted. Those distractions simply ended so he thought about food less and ultimately ate less. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about GLP-1s and food noise, and how the medications helped one woman lose 69 pounds.

What is food noise?

According to George Washington University researchers, food noise is a phenomenon defined as “constant intrusive thoughts about food that are disruptive to daily life and make healthful behaviors extremely difficult.” For example, it can involve constant thoughts of what and when to eat next. The study found that 88% of participants were familiar with food noise and 65% regularly fought the urge to eat even though they weren’t hungry.

Many people don’t realize how much food noise affects their life. It’s not a perfect analogy, but Dr. Puopolo explains, “A fish doesn’t know they’re surrounded by water until they’re out of water.” Except here, instead of gasping and feeling panicky, people on these weight-loss meds can finally relax with a clear mind and decide when and what they truly need to eat.

How food noise influences eating habits

Food noise isn’t about weakness. It is actually driven by our biology. It can be triggered by internal cues (like a rumbling tummy) or external cues (like the smell of freshly baked brownies). And what follows are real physical sensations: Your heart beats faster, your mouth waters and you may have an inability to focus on anything other than eating.

How food noise affects our weight

“Almost all of my patients talk about this phenomenon of food noise,” says weight-loss expert Melina Jampolis, MD, author of Spice Up, Slim Down, who prescribes GLP-1s. She believes this type of mental chatter is a big factor in weight gain and weight loss. Why? “The current food environment — with readily available, highly palatable food — bypasses normal appetite-control mechanisms and causes food to be top of mind,” she says. “And since we make more than 200 food and beverage decisions daily, the stress of managing all that noise and making better choices can be much easier when the noise is decreased.”

Discipline won’t silence food noise

“We have traditionally attributed our consistency with a diet to willpower, but food noise has a huge impact on women’s ability to stick to a diet,” explains Shauna Levy, MD, Director of Bariatric Surgery at Tulane. In this way, food noise can be a major weight factor, like genetics.

Plus, not everyone is hearing the same tune when it comes to cravings. “People with obesity often have more food noise than those with genetic thinness,” explains Dr. Levy. “And the more of a calorie deficit you are in, the louder the noise.”

Breakthrough with GLP-1s and food noise

When users of GLP-1s began sharing how their food noise was disappearing, the world listened. Turning down the volume on this noise suddenly became an unexpected side effect of these drugs that helped propel people to weight-loss success. In that previously mentioned study at GW University, 76% of those taking GLP-1s experienced a calming of food noise to the point at which they found it easier to choose healthier food options. Bottom line: Dr. Levy explains, “GLP-1 medications quiet the noise. They don’t make you eat healthfully, but they make it a lot easier to do so.”

Related: Weight-Loss Drugs: Top Experts + Real Women Tell All

How GLP-1s conquer food noise

Experts have known for years that these drugs work to mimic a natural “un-hunger” hormone found in the gut called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), triggering feelings of fullness. But now we’re beginning to understand how that message moves up to the brain to help turn off food cravings and food noise. “We see these GLP-1 drugs as being a once-in-a-generation breakthrough — the best nonsurgical treatment for weight loss that’s ever been created,” says Dr. Puopolo, who continues to take a low dose of the medication for maintenance. (Click to read more on Ozempic for women over 50.)

How GLP-1s are changing the weight-loss landscape

“This medication has really made me rethink obesity as an illness and how I should support people through the difficulty of losing and maintaining weight,” Dr. Puopolo explains. “There’s a lot of shaming and talking of lack of willpower in the medical world. But obesity is a disease. We don’t shame people for hypertension or high cholesterol or rheumatoid arthritis.”

Related: What to Eat on Ozempic for Weight Loss: Expert Advice

How to tame food noise with GLP-1s

Now, Dr. Puopolo — drawing on his background in family medicine and psychiatry — is helping patients quiet their own food noise. He treats patients via telehealth through the service LifeMD, which can prescribe GLP-1s, including cost-effective options for those who are uninsured or whose insurance doesn’t cover branded medication. Dr. Puopolo says, “This medicine allows for a hard reset of your weight.” In that calm headspace — with food noise gone — people can make a plan for long-term success.

Related: Little-Known Ozempic Side Effect Is Worse for Women over 50: MDs Explain & Advise

All-natural dupes for GLP-1s

Not interested in taking prescription meds? Try these natural approaches to quiet your food noise

• Minerals. Like GLP-1 meds, the mineral chromium is known to reduce blood sugar and speed weight loss. A supplement to consider: Consider: Nature’s Way GTF Chromium ($7 for 100 capsules, Click through to learn more about the weight-loss powers of chromium.

• Plant extracts. Berberine, made from the root of the Oregon grape plant, naturally
lowers blood sugar levels up to 57% to support weight loss. One to try: NAOMI Berberine ($39 for 60 capsules, at

MUST-READ: TikTok Influencers Call It ‘Nature’s Ozempic’: Can Berberine Really Help You Lose Weight? 

Probiotics. The new Pendulum GLP-1 Probiotic supplement ($65 for a one-month supply, contains three strains of probiotics that naturally boost the gut’s production of appetite-suppressing hormones, much like Ozempic. Some 91% of users noticed a decrease in overall food cravings.

GLP-1 and food noise success story: Tara Spadin

before and after of Tara Spadin, who lost 69 lbs; GLP-1s and food noise
Tara Spadin

Even as a toddler at daycare, Tara Spadin constantly thought about her next snack. Over the years, she reveals, “Food was always talking to me, nagging me. It was absolutely draining.”

Then Tara started hearing salon clients tell her about taking the new weight-loss drugs. Tara decided to give it a try. She connected online with a LifeMD-affiliated provider and was prescribed GLP-1 medication.

Tara dropped 3 pounds the first week

Tara recalls, “I didn’t feel compelled to eat if I walked through the kitchen after dinner.” She also didn’t feel deprived or starving. It was unfamiliar. “Food wasn’t in the forefront of my mind all the time.”

Looking back, Tara understands why her old doctor thought dieting and exercise would be enough. Tara explains, “That doctor was an average-sized woman, and I’m guessing she didn’t have the food noise.”

“I feel like a normal person now!”

Tara says, “Before, I thought people just had more self-control than I did.” Now with the mind chatter gone, she says, “I have mental space for more positive things.”

In all, Tara shed 12 inches off her waist. She also no longer needs medication for high blood pressure or a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. Plus, she’s more active with her nieces and nephew. “Shutting off the food noise was a life-altering­, game-changing, pivotal, light-bulb moment!”

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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