Obesity is not a disease

Yup, obesity is not a disease. But just because it isn’t doesn’t mean it is not as bad. It is. While many quarters (including Wikipedia) address obesity as a chronic disease that is threathening to engulf the world in a pandemic, it is this thinking that makes the search for the perfect anti-obesity drug so near impossible for drug companies, says Dr. Robert Lustig, pediatric endocrinologist (University of California/San Francisco School of Medicine). Instead, obesity is a ‘phenotype’ — the outward result of many factors, both external and internal, says Lustig. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to obesity.

To treat obesity as a disease is to see anti-obesity drugs stop working after a few months, says Lustig — this is because the body resists weight loss when it detects it is being starved.

At any rate, most current prescription anti-obesity drugs nowadays have harmful side effects that make the result not worth having.

And so, if obesity is not a disease but a phenotype, there must be more than one way of solving the problem. The solution must be tailored to the individual. Indeed, the solution much depends on the individual. One can start fighting obesity by a combination of methods and taking medication has its place in the first few months of the battle.

If the solution to obesity should be tailored to the individual, is there a common starting point? Yes there is. The most advocated approach, which one can then improve on, is two step: First, take advantage of effective weight loss drugs — preferably non prescription with no serious side effects; and second, strengthen the body against these drugs’ main effect (loss of appetite and lack of sleep) by giving it healthy food, enough sleep and proper exercise. This second step would also help keep the body from gaining back the weight lost once taking the drugs has stopped.

That is easier said than done. First, the most famous non-prescription weight-loss drug with no serious side effect — Phentramin-D™ — contains two powerful stimulants that make you lose appetite, boost your metabolism, reduce production of fat, and make you alert. However, stimulants, when taken for prolonged periods is unhealthy. Second, balancing the taking of stimulants with healthy food, enough rest and proper exercise is tricky and much, as mentioned, depends on the individual — her access to a healthy environment, and her resolve and discipline.

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