One of the greatest epidemics to hit America is obesity. Millions of hopeful dieters and gym members across the country are trying to fight the onslaught within their bodies, yet most efforts end in failure. Children are quickly catching up to the adult population, making the need for a solution all the more vital. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine may have answers. The findings reveal the efficacy of a new injectable weight loss drug. Unfortunately, it’s rife with side effects.

“There are people who say in order to lose weight you have to eat less and move more,” general internist Dr. Holly Phillips said on CBS This Morning. “But we’re understanding for some people that’s much hard for some people than others, whether it’s for biologic reasons, physiologic reasons, or just deeply ingrained behavioral patterns. To me, the more options we have, whether it’s surgery, medication, just diet, or exercise regimens, the better we are.”

Over the course of a year, researchers had 3,731 overweight adult patients inject themselves every day with a new class of weight loss drugs called liraglutide (brand name Saxenda and Novo Nordisk). Originally, the drug was used to treat diabetes, but after patients began losing weight on it, the Food and Drug Administration approved its use for overweight or obese people who have at least one health condition such as cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes.

Everyone in the test group was prescribed a specific diet and exercise regimen; however, only some received liraglutide and others received a placebo. By the end of the year, 33 percent of the participants lost 10 percent or more of body weight, while 63 percent of those who took the drug lost five percent or more of body weight with an average loss of 18 pounds. That’s three times the amount of weight compared to those who were on the placebo.

It works by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone in the body called glucagon-like peptide that slows down the emptying of the stomach, which ultimately makes the person feel full. It’s basically an appetite suppressor that tricks the body into believing it’s full, and it comes at a price. Common side effects are nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, while more serious side effects have been gallbladder disease and pancreatitis. It’s also a costly course of action to take. A month’s worth supply of injections will cost a patient $1,068 wholesale.

5 Natural Craving Killers

1. Eat Whole Grains

Brown rice, whole wheat bread, barley, and brown rice are digested slower than processed and refined grains, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Slow carb foods are gentler on the digestive system, blood sugar, and insulin levels, which decrease hunger and help maintain weight while preventing weight gain.

2. Drink Lemon Juice

The juice from one lemon contains just 11 calories and contains 19 milligrams of vitamin C, which promotes carnitine. The chemical is essential, enabling cells transport and burn fat in the mitochondria, where it is then converted into energy. Drinking diluted fresh-squeezed lemon water helps the body expedite energy production and maintain a healthy metabolism.

3. Choose Plate Color Wisely

It’s scientifically proven that if your plate is the same color as your food, people will eat 18 percent more of it. The research comes out of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab by director Brian Wansink, who recommends choosing a plate that will contrast the color of your meal. The plate’s shape also plays a role. The larger the plate, the more likely a person is to overeat. It may seem like common sense, but if you choose a smaller plate to eat from, it will make you more conscientious of your hunger signals and to think twice on a second serving.

4. Sleep 7 to 9 Hours

Scientists have continually found a connection between lack of sleep and increased hunger and weight gain, and a 2012 study provided science-based evidence for the link. The findings, which were presented at the annual American Heart Association Obesity Research Conference, reported that otherwise healthy people may eat more than 500 additional calories when they’re sleep deprived.

5. Take A 15-Minute Walk

Researchers from the United Kingdom discovered an appetite-suppressing trick after chocolate-lovers were forced to abstain from getting their fix for three days. After dinner, the study participants took a 15-minute walk, and it wound up kicking their chocolate cravings by 12 percent — just enough to help them avoid giving in.

Source: Pi-Sunyer X, Astrup A, Fujioka K, et al. A Randomized, Controlled Trial of 3.0 mg of Liraglutide in Weight Management. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2015.