Weight Loss

Can Intrusive Food Thoughts (Food Noise) Affect Weight Loss?

Key Takeaways
  • Food noise can be incredibly intrusive in your daily life, which is why a person with less food noise has less food-seeking behaviours and is less likely to overeat.
  • The truth is, we really don’t know why some people have more food noise than others. It is believed there could be a psychological factor that magnifies existing food cues for some individuals, which is why psychotherapy and behavioural therapies may be an effective treatment method.
  • The goal shouldn’t be to eliminate food noise completely, because it’s a natural thing that’s hard-coded into our DNA. The goal should be to regulate those cravings and thoughts, so that we can manage food cue reactivity.
  • There is some anecdotal evidence that suggests weight loss medications may aid in reducing food noise, so that cravings are more easy to manage.

If you’ve never heard of ‘food noise’ before, you’re not alone.

Although food noise is nothing new (i.e., it’s a built-in instinctual reaction to prevent starvation in our ancestors), it’s only recently that scientists and healthcare practitioners have started looking into the relationship between food noise and weight management.

Felix is working hard to help patients understand how food noise can impact their weight management journey, as well as give them the tools they need to control these intrusive thoughts about food.

With that in mind, this page will specifically discuss the complex relationship between food noise and weight loss/weight management.

If you’d like to talk to a healthcare practitioner about whether weight loss medications could be right for you, just complete a short online assessment.

What Impact Does Food Noise Have on Weight Loss?

It stands to reason that because food noise can cause frequent, excessive, and intense food cues, a person that has less food noise will spend less time thinking about food or obsessively preoccupied with food (i.e., due to intrusive thoughts about food).

These people are more likely to experience weight loss, because they have less food-seeking behaviours, eat less during meals, and make healthier dietary choices. 

Patients with less food noise are also less likely to overeat, or fall into maladaptive eating behaviours.

Why Do Some People Experience “Food Noise” More Than Others?

Unfortunately, the truth is that we don’t really know why. There are some psychological elements related to food noise that we simply don’t understand yet.

It’s believed that there may be a psychological component involved in food noise that worsens existing food cues for some people. Because of this, psychotherapy and behavioural therapy may be beneficial as part of an overall treatment plan for food noise management.

How to Stop Thinking About Food

Many people ask how to stop thinking about food, but the truth of the matter is that you wouldn’t want that.

Food noise is normal. It’s hard-coded into our DNA, as part of our survival instincts. It helped our ancestors avoid starvation.

Everyone has some level of food noise in their lives. That little voice in the back of your mind that tells you that you should eat something soon. It’s only when food noise starts to impact your weight, your health, or your quality of life that it needs to be addressed.

How to Deal with Food Noise, So You Don't Disrupt Your Weight Loss

The best way to deal with your food cue reactivity during your weight loss journey is to work on your psychological skills.

This can be accomplished through attending cognitive behavioural therapy (i.e., psychotherapy, talk therapy, etc.), to teach you coping mechanisms and skills for dealing with these intrusive thoughts about food when they arise.

There is some anecdotal evidence that suggests that weight loss medications, in combination with lifestyle interventions, may assist with excessive/intense food noise. However, there haven’t been any studies to directly address this relationship.

If you’re living with obesity and food noise is impacting your quality of life, talk to a healthcare practitioner at Felix. They may be able to suggest a weight loss treatment  that can help in your weight loss journey, based on your health and medical history.

What is Food Cue Reactivity?

Food cue reactivity is just another way of saying conditioned psychological or conditioned responses to food cues.

Food cue reactivity typically manifests as food-seeking behaviours. When this occurs frequently or excessively, it can lead to overeating, binge eating, or other maladaptive eating behaviours.

How Does Food Cue Reactivity Lead to Increased Eating Behaviors?

When we have an increased psychological or physiological response to food cues, it can lead to unhealthy actions or behaviours.

These actions may result in poor eating choices, overeating, and in some cases, maladaptive eating behaviours, when these behaviours become habitual.

If you’re overweight or living with obesity, and you believe that food noise is impacting your weight management, talk to a healthcare practitioner from Felix. Once you complete an assessment, they may be able to suggest a weight loss treatment plan  that could assist with your weight loss journey.

Weight Loss Medications That Help with Intrusive Food Thoughts

There is some anecdotal evidence that suggests modern weight loss medications may assist with food noise, in addition to helping with weight management.

These medications aren’t indicated for use in food noise treatments at this time, but if you’re living with obesity (i.e., BMI over 30), or have a BMI of 27-30 alongside weight-related health conditions, medical weight loss treatments  may be an option for you.

When Should I Talk to My Practitioner About Food Noise?

Do you have a BMI over 30, or do you have a BMI between 27-30 and are living with weight-related health conditions? Do you experience frequent, excessive, or intense food noise? Then it could be time to talk to a healthcare practitioner at Felix.

Complete an online assessment, and if your practitioner believes that you could benefit from weight loss medications (based on your health and medical history), they can discuss treatment options with you.

Although there is no direct evidence that WL medications will reduce food noise, anecdotally, it may be worth seeing whether this side effect presents itself for you.

And with Felix in your corner, you can take back control of your health, so that you can get back to living life on your terms - the way it should be.

Medically reviewed by


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