Hi! I'm Stelios Pantazis. I'm a doctor and I specialize in medical nutrition and metabolic disorders. In this video I'll talk about how antidepressants affect our metabolism. I deal with this issue on a daily basis in my practice. People ask me whether anti- depressants affect their metabolism. If by taking them, they'll put on weight. There are two issues here. What psychiatrists say isn't what is shown by studies. Unfortunately, most psychiatrists still believe that antidepressants can cause weight loss. The reason why they say this is that it's noted as a side effect. So if you open the box and read the side effects, you'll see that weight loss is mentioned. So some psychiatrists prescribe these pills saying to the patient that they may lose weight. In truth, the probability to lose weight is very small. It can happen, but only in 5% - 7% of patients, depending on the type of antidepressant. On the contrary, in the vast majority of cases, at least four out of five people, so 80% of people who take antidepressants, their metabolism slows down and they put on a lot of weight. Usually they gain 5 - 10 kgs per year, if they don't take action to prevent it. When people mention this to their psychiatrist, they are usually told that that's because they eat too much. Obviously, people can't put on weight, when they don't eat much. If someone takes a boatload of antidepressants and I tie them to a tree and feed them a slice of bread each day, they won't put on weight. Of course, that doesn't happen in today's society, where we have easy access to food. So yes, of course you won't put on weight if you don't eat, but the issue here is that the way our society is structured, it's impossible to not eat. So let's see how antidepressants affect our weight. They affect it through three mechanisms. First, they immediately slow down our metabolism by reducing our muscle mass. That's why we may seem to be losing weight at first. So if someone sees that they've lost a couple of kilograms, unfortunately, that's pure muscle tissue. How can we tell? Because even though you've lost the weight, your trousers or your skirts feel as tight as before. You don't feel them more loose on your body. No, that is not the case. Even though you've lost two kilos, your clothes feel the same when you put them on. So you've lost muscle tissue. Antidepressants will do that. And when muscle tissue decreases, metabolism slows down. Second, they increase your appetite. Of course they do. It happens automatically. You want to eat more. That's it. The third mechanism, the sneakiest of the three, is that antidepressants lower your inhibitions when it comes to eating more. What I mean is, our environment is toxic, in terms of our diet. In a hundred meter radius from your home, there probably are dozens of fast food restaurants. If you aren't on antidepressants, it's easy to say "no, no, no, no. I'm not eating any of that. I'll go home where my wife, my mom, my aunt, or myself have cooked green beans or okra stew". If you're on antidepressants, that's way harder to do. You go out and you're like "no, no, no, no... the heck with it. Let's just eat that. I want it". So you end up eating puff pastry, soda, in other words, empty calories, meaning junk food which isn't good for you. So that's the third and very important mechanism. And this happens to be the basis upon which antidepressants function. Antidepressants help you worry less about stuff. Let's say that you are on antidepressants and you go out. Someone cuts you off. And you just let it slide. Further down, someone pokes you, and on top of it they swear at you. If you weren't on antidepressants you may have gotten into a fight. But now, again, you let it slide. That's how it works with food as well. You resist at first, but finally you give in. These are the three main mechanisms through which antidepressants affect our weight. So if you're on antidepressants, you need to figure out a diet plan and take more care regarding your diet. Else, you'll keep piling up the kilos. You'll gain 5-10 kilos each year, as long as you don't take action. It's not like when you quit smoking, where you put on 5 - 10 kilos in the first 6 to 12 months, but then your weight stays the same. It's not the same. You'll keep putting on weight. Both studies and experience show that that's the case. So you need to be careful. Thank you very much.

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