So this what is it all about?
Basically, there's a Swiss scientist / inventor who has created what they believe to be a cure to the obesity epidemic. That doesn't sound to bad, in fact that could be one of the biggest inventions / discoveries in our lifetime in terms of the number of lives it could save. However, don't get too excited just yet. They've based his invention on the flawed conventional wisdom of why people get overweight and what we should all do about it. He's designed a device that tries to fix 1) the amount of food someone eats and 2) the amount of fat in our diets.
For anyone that's read any of my previous articles and the scientific studies I give as examples or for anyone that's done a little research of their own you'll know by now that things aren't as clear cut as that. There's plenty of evidence out there (enough to convince me) that neither calorie intake nor fat intake are KEY contributors to the obesity epidemic. Even if you're skeptical of the studies (which anyone is entitled to be) then you can't argue that there's at least enough there to question our current conventional thinking.
So, the science the device is based on is at least questionable (or completely wrong) but what about the fix?
The fix is a micro chip. It's a micro chip that is implanted under your skin. This micro chip does 2 things. 1) it measures the level of fat in your blood and 2) When the level gets 'too high' it releases hormones into your body to sate any hunger. Again, on the face of it that would seem to be a great invention. A tool that means you can't keep eating... except you can if you ignore that you're not hungry and just want eat because it tastes good........
There's also a couple more problems I can see with the invention (besides the 2 biggies I've already mentioned):
- Fat is important to our health - fact! The impact of messing around with the circulating levels of it in our bodies could have drastic consequences long term - e.g. raise in Alzheimer's risk
- Hormones have more than one function. Who knows the long term impact of a chip that slowly releases a hormone into your blood? When insulin levels are high long term our bodies become resistant and we develop diabetes. Could the same happen here? Could we create a new disease?
- People won't get healthier. Sure they may lose weight through malnutrition, but it's more important to health to have the right TYPE of food, not the right AMOUNT of food. Quality is more important than quantity. So this could lead to a whole range of 'skinny fat' people that have signs of disease associated with bad diets, without being overweight - not really fixing the problem.
OK, so there are a few things that might not work with this invention. Please don't take this as me having a go or being ungrateful that someone is trying to help. I think it's fantastic there are scientists out there working hard to fix this problem. However, the scary thing is I can actually see a future where the government (who still believe the hyped up, dubious results from a study conducted in the 50s and seemingly ignore and evidence against those results) sign up to one of these inventions. I can see a future where overweight people that have tried diets and failed (not their fault but because the science it's based on is wrong) are then wire up to new inventions to try and help them when these inventions are based on the wrong science again - the results won't be any better.
What can we do though?
Well, look after your friends and family. If everyone does that it'll make a big difference. By this I mean make sure you feed your family well - good food, highest quality you can afford and avoid processed foods. Make sure you're an active family - just get up and move more often rather than sitting in front of the TV or laptop. Get good sleep, keep stress low, stay hydrated and avoid excess of anything. It's not that hard really, once you get out of old habits.
And one last bit of advice? Question things that you're told. Question this article, just don't presume it's right. Do a little digging - you'll be surprised what you'll find hidden out of sight!