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November 13, 2004

"Miracle" fat loss pill

Acomplia is made by the French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi-Aventis. The companies research shows that those taking a 20mg dosage resulted in an average weight loss of 19 lb. over one year, and that the weight loss was maintained for an additional 6 months.

This drug is different than other fat loss pills because it manipulates the pleasure centre of the brain, which effects how satisfied we feel. The notion is one will feel satisfied eating less food than what usually causes a satisfied feeling.

I see no indication of a "miracle" with these results. In fact, one group in the study who discontinued the drug in the second half of the study gained most of the weight back. No kidding. So when people don't change their lifestyle, they gain fat and stay fat? Wow, sign these researchers up for the Nobel Prize.

Eating less and exercising more easily results in a 5 pound per month weight loss, which is significantly more effective than the paltry 1.58 pounds per month (19 lb./ 1 year) achieved with the drug Acomplia.

The new drug isn't entirely without merit; there are cases where persons cannot exercise for whatever reason, and this pill as prescribed by a physician may help in those cases. When compared to no weight loss, losing 19 pounds of fat is significant and will effect cholesterol, in fact a 25% increase in HDL (good cholesterol) and a 10% drop in triglycerides was measured in the study of over 3000 persons 80% of whom were female. However, changing your lifestyle remains the most effective way of losing fat and reversing or preventing conditions that are known to be brought on by obesity.

The study also had participants adapt a low-calorie diet. Don't we know that reducing caloric intake results in fat loss anyway? Yes, but this study did show that those on a higher dose of Acomplia (20 mg) did lose more weight than those on low dose (5 mg), or placebo.

There are no long-term studies on this drug yet, so it is unknown whether any additional side effects will develop (side effects reported in the study include mild depression, anxiety, and nausea), or whether weight loss will be sustained.

What I find most worrisome is this quote from an Associated Press article "We consider this to be a chronic problem. You don't cure obesity, you just improve it," Pi-Sunyer said. Pi- Sunver lead the research.

In fact, we know being overweight and obese is indeed 100% reversible with diet and exercise. The challenge is getting people to change their lifestyle. Many people are ready to give up far too early on achieving permanent weight loss. Changing from the belief, behavior, and attitudes that result in obesity to new ones that result in healthy living is very difficult for many.

Many overweight and obese persons do not perceive their weight condition as being a threat to their health, and many ironically perceive the actions of healthy living to be an inconvenience to their current lifestyle.

Apathy drives the demand for weight loss products and pills. Now that the majority of the population does not exercise regularly or eat healthily, and wants to stay this way, there is enough critical mass, so to speak, to make fat loss products and pills a great market potential.

You can be certain of this: If the majority of people lived a healthy lifestyle, there would be no "miracle" fat loss pill because there would be no market for it.

- Cris LaBossiere

2003-2004 Rhino Fitness

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For more information contact: clabossiere@rhinofitness.ca