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Amongst all the panic and pontificating about the ‘obesity crisis’, we seem to have lost sight of one rather important thing. Gaining weight is natural. So is losing it. We’re not suddenly in the grip of a mystifying disease. Our bodies work the same way they always have, and why and how they get fatter and thinner remains pretty obvious too.

However, we seem to think that we can best control this problem with new and unnatural solutions: more often than not, the latest slickly marketed drugs. But last week yet another obesity drug was taken off the market after it was shown to have a high risk of causing mental health problems by attacking the body’s natural levels of serotonin.

This drug was lauded for reducing body mass by around 5%, but this is no great claim, after all. An intelligent diet and lifestyle programme can easily achieve a 5% reduction, with no side effects and in fact many additional positive implications, such as establishing a healthy, sustainable relationship with food, and feeling good about being able to control your own diet and life.

Of course, the ‘downside’ of this kind of real food, individually empowering programme is that it doesn’t make drug companies a lot of money. But that’s one downside that can make you feel good.

28 October 2008

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