The headlines say that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new weight-loss pill. The marketing will attempt to convince you that your health can be secured by what’s in a pill bottle. The Straight, No Chaser view is this roll out illustrates a few of the problems with our approach to health.
Problem #1: We react after the fact and look for miracle cures.
There are now three weight-loss pills approved by the FDA. They all are appetite suppressants. Aside from the fact that safe and healthy ways to control one’s appetite exist, I’ve told you on many occasions that you won’t find your health in a pill bottle. The medicines you take are largely meant to treat disease. Even your vitamin pills can be replaced by vitamins in the healthy foods you eat, and you don’t need those pills unless you have a documented vitamin deficiency or have been directed to take them by your physician.
Problem #2: We don’t try hard enough to simply reverse what caused the problems we’re having.
Diet and exercise, exercise and diet. If you are not beginning and ending the conversation with these considerations – and only incorporating any supplements or medications as bridges to facilitate the transition to a healthier lifestyle – you are going to be disappointed. Look at this quote from the manufacturer’s press release: “When used as directed in combination with a healthy lifestyle that includes a reduced-calorie diet and exercise, (New Drug that I’m not promoting) provides another treatment option.” The quote could have just read the following: “…a commitment to a healthy lifestyle that includes a reduced-calorie diet and exercise will always give you the best chance to produce the results you desire (and certainly more than any reliance on medication)…”
Problem #3: The purported solutions don’t fully address the problem they claim to address.
You don’t even have to read the fine print. None of the weight-loss drugs approved by the FDA even promise massive weight loss. In other words, you’re just taking the pills and hoping for the best.
Problem #4: The purported solutions sometimes cause different problems than they address.
According to the FDA, the warning label for the newly approved drug will come with a warning that it might increase suicidal thoughts. Other possible side effects include increasing heart rate and blood pressure. Guess what? Obesity already increases heart rate and blood pressure; you don’t need a pill for that. Even worse, in the past some obesity drugs (remember fen-phen?) have been linked to serious heart problems and were pulled from the market.
By no means am I attempting to be flippant here. My concern is real. Consumers are prone to grab at whatever hope is offered, and a slickly marketed weight-loss pill is a great way to attract consumers, even at $200/month and when many insurers won’t cover the cost. Some of you will even swear by your pills. You can do much better for yourself by making a commitment to a lifestyle change that involves healthy eating, moderate exercise, stress reduction and all around better choice.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
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