How Smoking and Weight Loss are Connected

Written by Pliro
Jun 29, 2017 Last updated: Jun 29, 2017

For a non-smoker, it is hard to imagine why someone would take up smoking, even though it is so injurious to health. What most of us don’t know is that some people actually do it because it can very effectively help you lose weight. Fashion models, especially females, find it very hard to quit smoking due to this very fact. Here are some of the reasons why smoking makes you lose weight.

Effects of Nicotine

Nicotine in cigarettes can curb your appetite. This it does by travelling to the hypothalamus of the brain and connecting with pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons. POMC neurons control the brain activity responsible for appetite and feeding. Furthermore, signals are sent to melanocortin 4 receptors to reduce food intake. As a result, you eat less. However, on the downside, nicotine connects with other cerebral receptors. This makes you crave tobacco. Therefore, eating is replaced by a far worse addiction.

How Research was Conducted

In a study, a nicotine-like drug called cytisine was tested on mice. The mice began to eat less and lose weight. Afterwards, the mice were given a counteractive drug to prevent the cytisine from latching to its hypothalamic receptors. This resulted in increased food intake, reinforcing the effects of nicotine to the researchers.

How Weight Gain Actually Happens

You may feel like you are successfully losing weight by smoking. However, the actual way in which you lose weight is highly unhealthy. Smoking causes your blood vessels to become narrow and this constriction limits the amount of blood flow to the stomach. Therefore, your stomach functioning is tampered with. Furthermore, your arteries are at risk of clogging due to constricted blood vessels, due to which heart attacks are common in smokers.

How Body is Affected

The unnatural and unhealthy weight loss process that takes place causes your body to become frail and worn out. Therefore, you may be able to lose weight, but you also begin to show physical signs of weakness. Your body may seem lean, but not fresh and young. Furthermore, smoking affects your skin, complexion, and makes you age much faster, among various other health complications that it entails.

Reasons for Weight Gain After Quitting

Weight gain usually occurs since the absence of nicotine encourages normal stomach functionality. This means that the appetite that was suppressed will now come back in spades, causing you to want to eat more than ever. Furthermore, your sense of taste is improved due the absence of the smell of tobacco. The newfound sensation of eating that comes from smelling it and tasting it properly after so long causes you to enjoy it more. Furthermore, the stress of quitting may cause cravings in order to fill the void of smoking. This means that you may often feel the need to fill up your stomach with the wrong foods at the wrong time.

How to Deal with Weight Gain

There are several ways that can help you quit smoking. Furthermore, there are ways in which weight gain after quitting can be prevented. Firstly, try tricking your brain into thinking that it is full before it is. This can be done by eating slowly, chewing your food more, and taking smaller bites. Secondly, it is a good idea to find a new habit as an alternative to smoking. Chew on a piece of gum, or some people even prefer munching on carrots or cucumbers as a healthy snack.

All in all, the harmful effects of smoking are too many as compared to the one weight loss factor. Even that factor itself is a result of unnatural processes going on inside the body, which is why it is best to avoid it. Furthermore, both, losing weight, and quitting smoking require will power. The important thing to remember is that will power is what will drive you towards a healthy and positive lifestyle.