Guest Episode
June 17, 2024

Dr. Zachary Knight: The Science of Hunger & Medications to Combat Obesity

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In this episode, my guest is Dr. Zachary Knight, Ph.D., a professor of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator. We discuss how the brain controls our sense of hunger, satiety, and thirst. He explains how dopamine levels impact our cravings and eating behavior (amount, food choices, etc) and how we develop and can change our food preferences and adjust how much we need to eat to feel satisfied.

We discuss factors that have led to the recent rise in obesity, such as interactions between our genes and the environment and the role of processed foods and food combinations. We also discuss the new class of medications developed for the treatment of obesity and diabetes, including the GLP-1 agonists semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro). We discuss how these medications work to promote weight loss, the source of their side effects, and the newer compounds soon to overcome some of those side effects, such as muscle loss.

Dr. Knight provides an exceptionally clear explanation for our sense of hunger, thirst, and food cravings that translates to practical knowledge to help listeners better understand their relationship to food, food choices, and meal size to improve their diet and overall health.

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About this Guest

Dr. Zachary Knight

Zachary Knight,Ph.D. is a professor of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator.

  • 00:00:00 Dr. Zachary Knight
  • 00:02:38 Sponsors: BetterHelp, Helix Sleep & Waking Up
  • 00:07:07 Hunger & Timescales
  • 00:11:28 Body Fat, Leptin, Hunger
  • 00:17:51 Leptin Resistance & Obesity
  • 00:20:52 Hunger, Food Foraging & Feeding Behaviors, AgRP Neurons
  • 00:30:26 Sponsor: AG1
  • 00:32:15 Body Weight & Obesity, Genes & POMC Neurons
  • 00:39:54 Obesity, Genetics & Environmental Factors
  • 00:46:05 Whole Foods, Ultra-Processed Foods & Palatability
  • 00:49:32 Increasing Whole Food Consumption, Sensory Specific Satiety & Learning
  • 00:58:55 Calories vs. Macronutrients, Protein & Salt
  • 01:02:23 Sponsor: LMNT
  • 01:03:58 Challenges of Weight Loss: Hunger & Energy Expenditure
  • 01:09:50 GLP-1 Drug Development, Semaglutide, Ozempic, Wegovy
  • 01:19:03 GLP-1 Drugs: Muscle Loss, Appetite Reduction, Nausea
  • 01:23:24 Pharmacologic & Physiologic Effects; GLP-1 Drugs, Additional Positive Effects
  • 01:30:14 GLP-1-Plus Development, Tirzepatide, Mounjaro, AMG 133
  • 01:34:49 Alpha-MSH & Pharmacology
  • 01:40:41 Dopamine, Eating & Context
  • 01:46:01 Dopamine & Learning, Water Content & Food
  • 01:53:23 Salt, Water & Thirst
  • 02:03:27 Hunger vs. Thirst
  • 02:05:46 Dieting, Nutrition & Mindset
  • 02:09:39 Tools: Improving Diet & Limiting Food Intake
  • 02:14:15 Anti-Obesity Drug Development
  • 02:17:03 Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Follow & Reviews, YouTube Feedback, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter

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