It seems like every day I come across something that sounds (or looks) good on paper but just isn't true in reality. Most of the time these things are quite obvious...
But now and then something a bit more seductive pops up, often promising a solution to one of life's more difficult problems. The latest example of this comes by way of a Guardian Unlimited story: Chewing gum drug could help curb obesity epidemic. The first paragraph of the story sounds convincing enough:
An appetite-suppressing chewing gum or injection could be used to tackle Britain's obesity epidemic. Scientists are developing a way to emulate the body's natural signals for feeling full using a drug based on a natural gut hormone produced after every meal.
And it goes on to talk about how it'll make people less hungry and therefore less obese. In the UK, they seem to be following our (USA) lead in the Obesity Race:
In Britain, more than a fifth of adults are obese and of the remaining population half of men and a third of women are classified as overweight. In early trials, volunteers' appetites were reduced by a fifth after being injected with the experimental new drug.
What the article never discusses is how many overweight people are overweight because of appetite. I'm sure that's the case for some overweight people, but probably not the majority. I think the problem is self-control, not appetite. I'd wager that the majority of seriously overweight people would be far less overweight if they actually stopped eating when they were not hungry. But they don't. They enjoy eating so they keep going. Or they snack on junk. Or both.
That's the problem--not that their appetite is somehow "broken." They simply disregard it.
It sounds good on paper, though, and it'll probably help some small percentage of people for some period of time. But it's no silver bullet.
Posted by jzawodn at January 17, 2007 08:04 AM