Which pill will you take?

There is a murmur among the active populace, talk of a magical new wonder drug.

There is a murmur among the active populace, talk of a magical new wonder drug.

The wellness industry may be set for impending revolution. There is a murmur among the active populace, talk of a magical new wonder drug.

If the success rate in monkeys can be replicated in humans, then the researchers can expect no small fortune if the drug ever hits the market
- Matthew Muscat Inglott

It’s that drug we’ve all been waiting for. Has the time come for mass mobilisation and regime change? Research recently published in the Journal of Science Translational Medicine prophesises the coming of brand new weight-loss medication that can burn fat without the need to exercise or diet.

Yes, you read correctly; without the need to spend hours slaving away in the gym or sacrificing the foods you love. The launch of such a drug would shake fitness and nutrition professionals to their cores, and threaten the very foundations of their associated industries, or would it?

Before we get too excited, let’s see what exactly all this fuss is about. Scientists at the University of Texas cancer research centre have discovered a protein compound called adipotide. They first began experimenting with the compound back in 2004 when they discovered it led to loss of body weight in mice.

Further encouraging results led to experimentation on monkeys, traditionally the final step before trials on humans can begin. Monkeys were not fattened up for the study. Instead, those who were overweight as a result of their overeating and inactive lifestyles were selected.

The monkeys were injected with adipotide once per day. After just 28 days they had lost an average of 11 per cent of their previous bodyweight. Tests confirmed that the weight lost was indeed fat and not fluid or some other form of essential body tissue, like muscle. There were some issues recorded with the monkeys’ kidneys following the study, and this would need to be resolved before further development.

The researchers have now applied for approval from the American Food and Drug Administration to begin trials on humans. If the success rate in monkeys can be replicated in humans, then the researchers can expect no small fortune if the drug ever hits the market.

If you weigh 85 kilos now, then after 28 days on the wonder drug, you would weigh a trim 75.5 kilos without producing a single drop of sweat or changing your current dietary habits in any way. With all this science and technology at our fingertips, it will only be a matter of time before the ultimate beauty drug arrives on our doorsteps.

Ah, but there is one thing we’re forgetting. Whatever happened to those monkeys that participated in the study after they returned to their slothful ways? They maintained their new bodyweight for two weeks, after which their body fat levels returned pretty much to the same levels they were before.

Is it really worth it? Is a weight-loss wonder drug really all that revolutionary anyway? What about crash diets, and what about liposuction for that matter? Quick fixes are nothing new, and the science and practice of exercise continues to live on because of a plethora of other wonderful benefits.

I often challenge aspiring fitness professionals with a question they might one day have to answer: “So you want me to endure four workouts a week, sweating, puffing and panting, struggling through exercises and activities I hate, pushing and straining myself, and to top it all off, part with my heard-earned cash in the process. You also want me to sacrifice the foods I like, and eat disgusting alternatives I can barely stomach, when you can’t even definitively guarantee what results I will achieve and exactly by when. Why should I inflict all this suffering on myself when I can just go down to a private hospital and get the fat sucked out?”

Good question, but remember our slothful monkey friends. There is one critical factor we are overlooking: lifestyle change. Absolutely no fat-loss remedy will ever work unless we change the habits that brought the fat along in the first place. Yes, you may suddenly lose fat, but if you keep on doing the exact same things that led to the development of fat, then you will quickly find it again.

If you consume burgers, sweets and soft drinks every day and are totally physically inactive, then this is certainly a lifestyle ideal for packing on fat. So, for as long as this lifestyle persists, any sudden loss of fat by any means will be nothing more than a temporary measure. Quick fixes treat the symptom and not the cause. When a cause remains uncured, naturally symptoms in some form or other will always persist.

Permanent weight loss is only possible through a permanent change in lifestyle. If you eat burgers, sweets and consume soft drinks without getting any exercise, then your body will reflect these habits. Only a substitution of those foods and a more active lifestyle will result in a healthier body reflective of these changes.

Your body will always reflect your lifestyle, so let’s stop looking for quick fixes and start looking at our lifestyles. Instead of trying to find a drug to throw down your neck, try to find a bad habit in your lifestyle and throw it down the drain.

A little less sugar here and a little more physical activity there is the only ‘pill’ you will need, and that doesn’t cost you a cent. Without doubt, one day the wonder drug will indeed materialise.

When it does, just like Neo in the movie The Matrix, which pill will you choose?

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