The risks of erasing our desire with Ozempic

We should tame our cravings with imagination instead

Drugs like Ozempic can target and erase our desire for food – and perhaps other cravings too. This pathologises desire as something that exists outside of us, to which we passively submit.  But in losing our desires, we risk losing valuable parts of our experience – instead, argues Uku Tooming, we should view desire as an attitude that we shape with our imagination, and use our imagination to harness it to better ends. 


Most of us aspire to improve our minds in various ways, from enhancing our intellectual capabilities to becoming more emotionally attuned to the needs of our significant others. For many, this aspiration is especially salient in their efforts to lose weight, as it requires getting their food cravings under control. Imagine, for instance, Eugene who, whenever he is exposed to delicious treats, such as chocolate cakes or ice cream, experiences a strong desire for them. As a result, he has difficulties controlling his weight. For Eugene, w

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Hailey Nelson 15 July 2024

Enjoy a game of with your friends. Create private matches, invite your buddies, and have a blast showcasing your dribbling, shooting, and dunking skills.

Richard Johnson 1 23 June 2024

Speaking as a patient with T2D and an Ozempic user, this opinion piece is utter nonsense. The presuppositions and attempts to fit Ozempic into some preconceived notions fails the reality test completely. After one year on Ozempic i have lost 12% of my body weight - 30 Lbs, my A1C is down from just under 7 to 5.4,and my blood glucose is within the normal range. In other words, my treatment has been very successful, and combined with other reductions is risk, including stroke and CV events, has probably added several healthy years to my life.

Claiming "It [Ozempic] also can inhibit the desire to savour and take pleasure in the food that one is eating." That centerpiece of the argument simply has no basis in reality.

As for my desires, let me assure you that they are undiminished as ever, it is simply the quantity of food that is required for satiety is dramatically reduced. I look at the 12 Oz steak I once happily consumed, and know i will be perfectly satisfied with 4 to 6 Oz. Ice cream? A couple bites is adequate. Wine? A single glass, not half a bottle. To try and measure the magnitude of a desire by the quantity required to satisfy it is simply a bad metric.

The author claims, 'That desires are robustly sensitive to vivid and detailed imaginings is also empirically well-grounded." And then references his own writings.

Another claim is made that, "there is a robust correlation between vividness of food imagery and the intensity of food cravings". What the authors of that paper actually said was "It was concluded that cognitive experimental techniques aimed at reducing the vividness of visual, gustatory or olfactory imagery, might usefully be deployed to reduce unwanted food cravings." In other words, "we should look into this." There was no data presented of any 'robust correlation', and in any event, as we were all taught, "correlation does not imply causation."

The author also claims, without citing evidence, "With imagination and through imagery training in particular, on the other hand, it is possible to achieve more long-lasting changes in one’s appetitive dispositions, i.e. tendencies in what one finds appealing and unappealing." Again this is sheer wishful thinking, trying to map a personal belief - dare I say a theoretical philosophy into one of the most complex topics in all of the behavioral sciences. He cites no studies to support these claims. In fact in the

It is at best a long reach reach, attempting to piggyback on one of the most successful medicines of all time, with unsubstantiated claims of a better method. Type 1 diabetics need to take insulin for their lifetime. That is not a knock on insulin, that is simply a requirement to address the condition. Ozempic is no different. The medicine must be taken for life, that's how the that particular hormonal system works. For either T1D or any condition for which a GLP-1 agonist is indicated there is no known 'master switch' that can be thrown for a once and done treatment. And while behavioral interventions may to some degree work, the heavy lifting of demonstrating them to be clinically effective and repeatable simply has not been done.