Losing weight with drugs: new research
New research has uncovered a potential drug that can help with weight loss (reported on the BBC here). The chemical involved is SRT1720, which is related to resveratrol, found in red wine, and targets the SIRT1 protein. This is a member of a chemical group called the Sirtuins, which are involved in metabolic choices between living longer (in environments with fewer resources) and living shorter but brighter (a sort of 'candle in the wind' effect where you sow as many oats as possible before exiting early when things are good).
This sort of drug could allow people to eat a high fat diet, yet not put on weight or suffer other ill-effects of too-high calorific intake. You could do 'supersize me' and eat as much fast food as you like, pop a couple of pills, and not face the consequences of your poor dietary choices.
Yes, we need a solution to the obesity epidemic. But is this it? I fear not, for two reasons. First, it separates people from the consequences of their choices. Not a good idea. Self-control is difficult, but it is an essential life skill. We should instead teach people to use food properly, just as we should be teaching people to use alcohol properly (not taking it away from them).
Second, there are many people who are unhappy with their weight. There are people with addictive personalities. They may well start off overweight, but because they are unhappy with themselves 'inside their skin', they will never arrive at a level of weight loss that satisfies them. Such a drug could cause severe ill-effects in those who have a poor self-image, and result in severe medical problems.
So, IMO, we should be cautious about going down this road.