The Nicotine Experiment: Can it Help You Lose Weight?

01/25/12 UPDATE: Nearly 3 years of experimentation and

here’s my summary: My Last Post on Nicotine.

It’s been about 13 days since I started the nicotine experiment, using Commit lozenges in an attempt to help me lose weight.

There is nothing on the Internet I could find that talked about this – except to say: ‘don’t do it.’ Now, I try not to be a dope about things, but this ‘don’t do it’ message didn’t seem to be evidence-based, but rather it came from a moral base: cigarettes are bad, so using nicotine lozenges to lose weight is bad, too.

The disconnect in logic here is: nicotine lozenges aren’t cigarettes.

Cigarettes are a delivery mechanism for nicotine, and there’s no doubt these suckers are bad for you. Jeez, we instinctively know not to inhale smoke, but smokers pull that smoke way down into their lungs for pleasure.

At all costs, the lungs should inhale only air. Dumb animals know this.

The guy who invented smoking had to be really, really bored. Imagine all the other stuff he tried smoking before he hit on this.

So nicotine is not tobacco – now that we’ve gotten around that mental block, we need to take a hard look at the nicotine compound myself.

Wikipedia’s entry is somewhat convoluted, needing citations, and flat out contradicting itself. It does hint at a number of things, which I recounted in my previous post, that do make it clear that nicotine is serious stuff.

I’ll use the same cop out all researchers use – more research is needed.

I’ve stumbled on some real research that says: there might be something to this – here’s a study that purports that transient nicotine lowers the body weight set point.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12126990?dopt=Abstract

Ugh. Read it yourself – researchers seem to need to write in the most obscure prose possible, though their thoughts could easily be written in a more engaging and readable manner.

William Lutz, in his book  Doublespeak, showed this language for what it is – an artifice to hide meaning and to inflate ones ego. You look smart when you use big words – and most people don’t have the mental energy to translate every line into intelligible English to notice that the thoughts in such writing are mediocre.

Anyway, my personal experience so far has been a mixed bag. I haven’t lost any weight that I can attribute to this – the Holy Grail of why I’m doing this. The stuff can also cause heartburn, upset stomach, an unpleasant jitteryness and headaches.

When I first started, I got a blood pressure device – precisely because I don’t want to kill myself over a few pounds – and found that even without the nicotine, my blood pressure is elevated – even on medication.

It’s from the excess weight. When I lost 80 lbs, my diastolic number went down to below 80 for the first time in 15 years of being treated for hypertension. Now that I’ve porked up to near 220, that lower number has porked itself up as well.

So concurrently with the nicotine, I am experimenting in caffeine reduction – I drink a pot every morning – and kept going throughout the day, but for maybe the past 2 months I have switched to herbal teas (ginger tea, to be exact) during the day.

While part of me sees this as somewhat effeminate, another part of me says: If my gender identity is defined by the type of tea I drink, I have bigger problems than a few pounds to lose.

So nicotine experimentation has led me to watch my blood pressure more closely – a positive side benefit to this experiment, whether or not it helps me lose weight.

As to dosing, I obvious had no clue how to do this – there’s no guidance on this at all. At first, I probably took too much. The Commit manual says that not taking enough is a major cause of failure – but I don’t smoke.

So after a lot of experimentation, I came up with a dosing plan that seems to work for me.

First, I make sure I don’t skip some kind of breakfast – usually a few pieces of cheese the past few days. I normally skipped breakfast, but the potential for stomach upset has been higher – and my past writings indicate that I lost weight better when I had some sort of breakfast, so it’s a sort of serendipity for me.

At about mid morning, I have some coconut oil as a snack (the details here are too complicated to mention now – another post someday), then, if I am hungry, I pop a lozenge for between 15 and 30 minutes – then take it out and wrap the rest in a candy wrapper. I do not suck on these lozenges, so they can last me over 2 hours, which I have found to be way too long.

15 minutes on the lozenge is all that is needed to kill the appetite – actually, I’ve found that my appetite goes away in less than 5 minutes most times. I might even be able to cut back the lozenge use even further.

This gets me to lunch, where I have a salad with greens and protein – either eggs, chicken, cheese, or whatever else is lying around that can have oil and vinegar splashed on it and tossed in a salad.

If I’m hungry after lunch, I pop the lozenge back in my mouth for another few minutes and the hunger dies down.

Late afternoon is another scoop of coconut oil, and maybe another few minutes with the lozenge if I’m hungry after.

Arriving home, I might have a small dinner, then pop the lozenge again to kill the appetite.

This notion of using a very small amount – at most 2 – 4mg lozenges a day, seems to help regulate appetite.

This is far less than the Commit recommends for smoking cessation – they recommend something like 20 a day. As I’m tkaing 1/10th the amount, I probably am doing minimal harm (the jury is still out here).

The summary to my ‘dosing schedule’ can be summarized as: ‘after meals and only until appetite diminishes’.

With this amount of nicotine, I doubt that it will ‘reset my weight setpoint’ as described in the research above, but I don’t care – I want to use as little as possible, and the appetite reduction effect does seem to be real.

Will keep you posted on future developments.

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28 thoughts on “The Nicotine Experiment: Can it Help You Lose Weight?

  1. “If my gender identity is defined by the type of tea I drink, I have bigger problems than a few pounds to lose.” Amen, brother! Anyway, I’m sure that in Asia, which probably contains the majority of the world’s population and where ginger tea originated, there’s nothing effeminate about it.

    Be careful with your experiment and keep monitoring your BP carefully. There’s a reason it’s called the silent killer.

    • Hi Marochka,

      Funny how we think about nicotine, isn’t it? I drink a pot of coffee – and mention it frequently here – but when people hear I’m taking nicotine, it’s somehow worse. Both cause vasoconstriction and increased heart rate, right? So why is coffee in small doses considered OK, while a small amount of nicotine – especially in a lozenge, isn’t?

      I don’t have the answer to that – it’s a question I’m asking.

      Regards,

      LCC

    • I Didn’t Get Any Idea What You Are Trying To Say ….
      Please Answer The Question
      How Nicotine Helps In Losing Weight

    • I am only 5′ 2″ and weight 141, ugh. My boyfriend is trying to quit smoking and uses the nicotine gum, so it’s easy to access for me to TRY as another diet aid.
      I’m waiting to hear more on your experiment and a few others before I dive into it on a regular basis.
      Please keep us updated out here!!
      Thx 😉

  2. I have been eagerly waiting for this post. Thanks for all the detail thus far – it really doesn’t sound like you are eating very much at all – so the scale certainly will be moving down soon. Do you still feel jittery?

  3. Oh, when I said “it’s” the silent killer, I meant high BP, not nicotine! 😉 And I finally gave up caffeine a few weeks ago too, so I wouldn’t necessarily look at a cup of coffee as OK either. I am fascinated by your experiment though, and wasn’t making a big to-do about how you’re going to kill yourself or anything Chicken-little like that. Just reminding you to be careful with the BP. I’m so glad you’re getting the scale moving again. Me– I’ve gained 15 pounds since March. Maybe I need to get some nicotine?

    • Why would you give up caffeine and coffee? Especially when coffee has been linked to so many health benefits even liver health?

      • I never said I gave up coffee. I don’t even like coffee. And I went back to caffeine, of course. But a few months ago I did moderate it. I usually have one glass of caffeinated diet soda in the morning and then drink decaf the rest of the day now. My sleep and blood pressure are better. My weight isn’t, but that’s more related to stress eating for comfort than diet soda. And I don’t care anymore. I’m an awesome person and that doesn’t change just because I don’t have a socially acceptable figure. Drink your coffee if you like coffee. Life’s too short to not enjoy things!

  4. How is the weight loss going? Your diet sounds horrible. Fasting, or eat oil for a meal is NOT going to help you lose weight; neither will using a Commit. Sure, it curbs the hunger for now, but in essence your doing what dopey models do; starving themselves. You may see some losses now, but beware the boomerang effect often associated with crappy diets like yours.

  5. The Cigar Diet? How I Lost 50 Pounds w/o the “D” Word!

    http://www.amazon.com/Cigar-Diet-Lost-Pounds-ebook/dp/B0050OXN3W

    Controversial? YES ….. Recommended? NO ….. Results? YES ….. Good for You? NO

    Being the “Trivia Guy” with Guinness World Record holding credentials, I often get asked a lot of questions. I’m supposed to know the answers to most everything. I don’t! Though most are brainteaser and trivial attempts to stump me, they really don’t “hold a candle” as of late to the queries regarding my 50 pounds of weight loss. Yes, me, I’ve lost 50 pounds! And I did it without mentioning, trying, or referring to the “D” word (diet). How, do you say? Has this “Trivia Guy” solved this mystery that baffles and afflicts so many of us?

    • I tend to discourage shameless self-promotion here, Wilson – but in this case I’ll give you a pass.

      Any diet that states on the cover that it is not recommended nor good for you is original enough to pique my interest.

      Too bad your Kindle book sample is almost the same length as your post, though. Too bad I don’t smoke cigars…

    • It’s been a while for me, Rob, but here’s what I remember:

      -Nicotine in itself is not cancer-causing but it *can* feed existing cancers
      -Nicotine raises blood pressure.
      -The effect of stopping nicotine can cause weight gain

      I occasionally get links in from bodybuilders who experiment with the stuff – they comment in their forums that I don’t know what the Hell I am doing (they got that right). If you are looking for more info than you can find here, I would check out the bodybuilding sites and see what they have to say. There are some awfully smart people hanging out on those boards, though I think they might go a little overboard in the bodyhacking sometimes. To each their own.

  6. Low carb
    Have u tried the electric cigarettes . the reasons I asked I recently started using one and i have lost my appetite. it seems to kill the Craven immediately.

    • I did in fact. I loved them. Unfortunately, I was chewing on the nicotine gum at the time while also chugging coffee and I worked myself into a spectacular panic attack.

      It had a positive effect: I stopped all nicotine after that.

      If you read the rest of my posts on nicotine I concluded for myself that it was a very expensive misadventure and I lost no weight.

      I don’t recommend it, but maybe you’re more disciplined than I am.

      Good luck.

  7. I read a Study this morning and gee i wish i’d saved the link but they talked about a thermogenic effect when 1mg of nicotine and 100mg of caffeine are taken together – with almost no noticeable difference after that when the nicotine amount was raised except for side effects that were undesirable. 9.8% more energy was consumed by the test subjects,

    im doing low carb intermittant fasting (5 hour feeding window) right now and i have a fat burning window in the mornings until 1pm that is potentiated by a cup of coffee in the morning – i’m thinking about adding 1mg of nicotine to the regime to see what happens. so far i have lost 12kg in 2 months doing what im doing and it works great. ill try to come back here and let you know how the coffee and gum go 🙂

    • Hi Patrick,

      Thanks for writing. It does sound like an interesting study – perhaps you can check your browser history and find it?

      In my own experience, sucking on lozenges and guzzling coffee with reckless abandon, there was no weight loss. Perhaps at least in my case the effect noticed in the study did not happen to me, or if it did, it might have been accompanied by an overall increase in hunger that negated any benefit from an increased metabolic rate.

      So while there might be something to this, it might also be impractical unless part of a carefully controlled pattern of dosing along with a finely-tuned diet. It certainly didn’t work with my erratic, haphazard, seat-of-the-pants approach to dieting.

  8. I am trying this. I am hypothyroid and pre-diabetic, overweight with a huge waist. In my sixties, female and sedentary, I have discovered over the last year I was consuming 800-1000 cals per day, and not losing any weight but steadily gaining. Even a small amount of hypothyroidism reduces metabolic rate hugely. As nicotine simultaneously boosts metabolism while suppressing appetite I thought this could help. I bought 2mg gum, and the first tablet I took nearly blew my head off! I should have read the instructions and not chewed so vigorously. When I read the instructions when I had recovered from dizziness, nausea, and jitters I was relieved to see you are not supposed to consume more than 15 at once. Being a non-smoker, even one tablet was too strong. Now I break the gum into 3, allow it to dissolve slowly, and take it out and rinse my mouth at any sign of trouble – but at this dosage, there is none. I rarely take more than one tablet in one day, many hours between. A 2mg gum is supposed to be the equivalent of two cigarettes. In four days I have lost 2lbs, and have reverted to an energy level that I had when young. So I will continue with this experiment. I desperately need to remove the fat from my stomach.

    • I’m wondering how your weight loss journey is. I lost 30 pounds and I have kept it off for two years. Unfortunately it has started slowly returning and my appetite is crazy. I was considering the gum or e-cig.

    • i have had same reaction to one gum 2mg in morning before breakfast made me dizzy and hot, but have lost 2.5 kilos first week taking only the one in the morning. I smoked for 37 years a packet a day upto 40 cigs then went cold turkey and gave them up 7 years ago. My body hit the fan with blood pressure, weight gain, sarcoidosis and intestinal upsets. I was at my wits end to get me back, so read about this guy who lost 50 pounds on the gum and thought maybe my body was missing the nicotine hit. I will never smoke again my lungs are shot, but thought what the hell if it works i will be forever grateful

  9. Nicotine is working for me.I have smoked off and on since being a teen, now 56. On for 4 to 6 years then off for the same time period. Quitting smoking is hard for 3 or 4 days then gets easier and easier. Any how during the last recession I started up again and got up to 2 1/2 packs a day. It started to effect my BP and so I quit again. Within 3 months after quitting I started to gain weight rapidly. I’m 5′ 10″ male and my weight went from 165 to 210 in 2 months. Nothing in my dieting would bring down the weight. Well I would rather be on Nicotine then obese. I started smoking a pipe. Nothing happened for a month, then I notice my appetite was becoming less and less. Then after the first mouth, In 7 days I went from 210 to 202 and I plan to continue till I get back to 165 and then go to taking a supplement and quitting the pipe. From what I can see, one should start off with a supplement at a low dose and increase it every week to get use to the effects. Give it a month or two as It not only lowers my appetite but seems to speed up my metabolism. My bowls have changed a bit and I go a lot more often. If I have to be on a supplement the rest of my life so be it. I hate carrying around 45 extra pounds. I would rather die a bit sooner. I can’t see the supplement hurting as once I lose weight, I’ll try and find the sweet spot on dosage to keep me thin. My BP is back down as well to 122 over 72 from a high of 135 over 87. If I can drop 5 to 8 pounds a week, hell yeah, give me another 6 weeks and I’ll try to stop by and post my results. Thanks for the Blog post.

    • As far as I know (and assume I know nothing), using the nicotine gum, or lozenges is minimally harmful. Yes – nicotine is a powerful drug, but if it is a choice between smoking and the Nicorette, you’re better off with the nicorette.

      Pipe smoking will spare your lungs but can still give you mouth cancer. I have not been able to find any evidence that nicotine itself causes cancer – it’s the other compounds in tobacco that do that.

      Hey – if it’s working for you – good luck.

  10. Interesting that I stumbled across this while trying to figure out the carb equivalent in Nicorette… I hate to burst everyone’s bubble here, but as your body gets used to nicotine, you will increasingly want more of it and you will gain weight with the gum or lozenges because nicotine not only raises your blood pressure but also your blood sugar levels, which will increase your insulin output over time. The reason heavy smokers tend to be thin has to do with the chemicals in the cigs affecting appetite and the smoke affecting tastebuds – not necessarily the nicotine… Am trying to get off the gum because I have gained about 15 over the last four years due to using nicotine replacements – nothing made me gain weigh faster than using an e-cig. Go to any e-Cig forum and ask about weight gain and you’ll see that at least 50% of users report dramatic weight gain… Just my two cents here.

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