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Does a Cocaine Diet Help in Losing Weight Permanently?

does cocaine cause weight loss

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Historically, people who take cocaine have been known to be skinny. They also have been known to eat indiscriminately without adding extra weight, a correlation that has led to the assumption that cocaine and weight loss are part of an equation that works. However, this correlation does not necessarily point to a causative relationship between the two.
As coke use comes with a myriad of other challenges like poor personal care, financial challenges, and others, there may be other causative factors that make a person skinny and not just the cocaine mechanism of action. Why does cocaine make one lose weight? This article answers that question and others.

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Table of Contents

Does Cocaine Help One Lose Weight?

Cocaine for Weight Loss

Cocaine divided into lines on a clack table with a rolled up dollar bill on the side.

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system, an area of the brain involved in regulating key physiological factors like sleep, breathing, appetite, and others. When the drug acts on the CNS, it interferes with these vital processes in a manner that alters how the body functions.

In general, when a person takes cocaine, the body kicks into a fight or flight mode with heightened senses, faster breathing, dilated pupils, an increase in availability of neurotransmitters like dopamine, among other effects. In such a state, the body downregulates the need for food while at the same time increasing the metabolism rate.

How Does Cocaine Make One Lose Weight?

With repeated use, the body experiences a sustained net-negative calorie count, one of the possible reasons people who take the drug are thin. A recent study expanded this understanding of how cocaine for weight loss works by discovering that cocaine alters how the body stores fat. After prolonged use, they discovered there was a notable change in how the body stores fat.
In the study, the subjects, though consuming high-fat meals all day, did not seem to store any excess fat as compared to the non-drug-users. So, does cocaine cause weight loss? The study did seem to support the notion. However, the study did not include other factors like frequency of eating, quality of meals, etc. The study also found some serious negative effects associated with the diet.

How Fast Does Cocaine Make One Lose Weight?

Short-term: 0-6 months
Person standing on scales in the background with tape measure in the foreground.

When a person starts a cocaine weight loss diet, the body responds in several ways. As the drug is known to suppress appetite, the person will eat less. Another effect of cocaine metabolism is increased activity in the form of extended waking hours, being nervous and fidgety, etc. These account for more calories burned. After about six months of taking the drug, the person may lose about ten percent of their body mass.

Mid-term: 6-24 months
Between six and twenty-four months, the mid-term effects of using cocaine begin to become evident. Tolerance to the drug begins to set in, and a dependence begins to form. For the person, it may appear as a fair trade as, by this time, they will have shed another ten percent of their body mass. If the person were three hundred pounds at the beginning, they would now be two hundred and forty pounds. Both their neural reward pathways as well as other gut regulation pathways will also have reached an advanced state of alteration.
Long-term: 24+ months
From twenty-four months onwards, loss of weight increases sharply as the person skips more meals, focuses more on drug-seeking behaviors and generally does a poor job of taking care of themselves. Because of poor nutrition and infrequent eating, cocaine makes a persone lose weight from malnutrition rather than controlled calorie intake. The person will develop susceptibility to opportunistic diseases that will further compromise the body’s ability to self-repair and store fat.

Using cocaine for weight loss is not approved and illegal. If someone is using cocaine to lose extra pound, he or she might need help in battling drug abuse and possible addiction.

Dangers of Losing Weight on Cocaine

Short-term Side Effects
While it is not clear who invented cocaine weight loss diets, it is clear there are significant side effects associated with the fad. These effects include:

  • Poor eating habits: Due to appetite suppression, the person will develop eating habits that may deprive them of vital nutrients.
  • Malnutrition: Follows closely after poor habits develop.
  • Neurological problems: These may include headaches, strokes, seizures and in some cases coma.
  • Gastrointestinal complications: The drug’s reduction of the flow of blood to the gut reduces gut motility resulting in pain, nausea or rotting of the gut.
  • Paranoia, anxiety and erratic behavior: These effects can compromise a daily life and disrupt activities like school or work.

Long-term Side Effects
If a person uses cocaine to lose weight for prolonged periods (more than two years), the symptoms of cocaine use can be devastating. They include:

  • Tolerance and addiction: As the brain gets used to operating on the drug, tolerance, and addiction set in quickly.
  • Dependence: Physical and psychological dependence can also develop, making it hard to stop taking it even after achieving the target.
  • Rapid weight gain after quitting: In the study that found that cocaine suppresses the body’s ability to store fat, the researchers also found that after removing the drug, the body went back to normally storing fat, resulting in rapid weight gain.

Should One Use Cocaine To Lose Weight?

Losing weight the right way combines a nutritious diet, exercise and limiting calories to run a calorie deficit, the result of which is a healthy loss of weight. When a person opts to use a cocaine weight loss diet, the results are more harmful than helpful. The diet opens the person up to risky side effects of taking the drug and ultimately creates a tradeoff between a healthy wholesome life, and a life of being skinny but sickly. Although coke does help one become skinny, trying to quit after reaching the desired target reverses the gains and fat is added back almost as quickly as it was lost, a cruel and ironic outcome.

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Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


Leave a comment

  • Beverley
    Hello my daughter is long term crack cocaine perception drugs for 20 years she is 34 years old down to 4 stone won’t have help also she under Mental health aswell please help .
    • niko bellic
      did she get it
  • Sandra blakeman
    My son used it hes 30 and has lost too much weight how can he regain normal body fat quicker and any naturopathic ways to do so??