Cocaine use has long been associated with weight loss. Many people who have been seen to lose a lot of weight are normally suspected of being cocaine users. At the height of its popularity in the United States, dealers even resorted to marketing the drug as a weight-loss drug. This was a big deal at a time when many people aspired to have the slim bodies like their favourite movie stars. Many people who took this route didn’t just lose weight, they also found themselves trapped in addiction. A new study is now helping to uncover the weight-loss secrets of this dangerous drug.
According to the study, cocaine causes weight-loss because it changes the metabolism of the user. This means that even though the person addicted to cocaine is likely to eat more food and their bodies will also have the altered protein levels that would normally result in weight gain, the addicts have been seen to have less body fat than those who are not addicted. With this knowledge, it may now be possible for doctors to assist those who quite the drug to manage their weight afterwards.
The research team was made up of four neuroscientists. The team was from the University of Cambridge and the paper written by the team was published in Appetite. It has been noted that one of the things that those who quite cocaine struggle with is an abnormal level of weight gain. For those who quit, this can make it difficult to feel happy about their lives after they stop using cocaine. If this effect can be reduced, then perhaps more people will be happy with their lives after they give up cocaine.
While addicted to cocaine, the users have reported that they consume a lot more fat, carbs and calories. However, tests show that they have much less body fat than people who don’t use the drug.
In the study, 65 participants from around the university were chosen. Of these individuals, 35 were active users of cocaine who were dependent on the drug. The participants in this group had been using the drug for 15 years on average in one form or another. The other participants had similar ages to the addicts but had no history of using cocaine. Most of the participants who were addicted to cocaine were also addicted to other drugs including alcohol, cannabis and opiates. 91% also had a nicotine addiction.
The addicts reported consuming more carbs, fat and calories compared to the other group. However, when the BMIs of the men were taken, the were the same as that of the men in the other group. Additionally, the addicts had less fat in their bodies compared to those in the other group and the lean body mass of the two sets of participants was the same. Considering tobacco smokers normally have more body fact than people who don’t smoke, these results were quite significant. They revealed that cocaine could overcome the effect of the tobacco on the body. This means that cocaine could, in fact, interfere with the body’s ability to store fat.