Why the diet industry is a big fat rip-off

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We are genetically programmed to be of certain shape.

Big, small, large bones, small bones, fat, chunky, lumpy, obese, skinny, slender or skeletal and from birth it depends on how much junk food and sugary drinks it takes to get an individual fat.

The fattest people are now in America, followed closely by Australia (as always), where crap foods and drinks are now linked with a complete lack of exercise, particularly in young people.

If authorities wish to stop the spread of diabetes and heart problems, they should curtail advertising from BigPharma and BigJunkfood, promote clean, uncontaminated food and water, get bums off seats by banning mobile phones and computers until the age of 30, and make children walk, horse-ride or bike-ride to and from school.

I don’t think this is going too far and it won’t happen anyway.

So, in the opinion of health authorities we now have miracle diets and miracle appetite suppressants.

None of these diets and appetite suppressants work.

You may lose weight at the start, but quickly resume your own body shape. What’s worse, the appetite suppressants are all based on “speed”, which makes you feel good as your weight drops and then rises again, possibly with associated brain damage.

Weight-loss gurus drop dead too

One of the first celebrity weight reduction gurus was Nathan Pritikin (in America of course), who designed a diet of nuts, legumes, organic fruit and cereals and other healthy stuff. He sold millions of books, all with good-looking Hollywood stars on the cover. Amazingly, these books still sold even after he jogged down a Chicago street and dropped dead at the age of 60. He may have reverted to junk food and not told anyone.

The first diet tablets

The first diet tablets to appear were Ephedrine, closely followed by Dexamphetamine and Methyl Amphetamine. These were cheap and plentiful, did a reasonable job and  dieting people were always happy (but a bit crazed).

Women were the main users — as they still are today — but men stayed fat because they didn’t care and no-one looked at them anyway.

Hells Angels muscle in

When our sensible health authorities (there’s that bloody word again) banned the sale of amphetamines, the only way to procure some was to know a friendly Hells Angel. The price went up, purity went down but very few complained and the ones who did lost a few knee caps.

New amphetamine-based drugs now appear courtesy of BigPharma, ridiculously expensive and loaded with side-effects. Drugs such as Adifax (schizophrenia, cardiovascular effects, porphyria), Ponderax (as above, plus disturbances in heart rhythm, but they eventually banned this one), Ritalin (now being fed to children), Duromine (these now cost over $100 for one month’s supply), Anorex, Tenuate and others, all at prices that could rival the Hells Angel industry and doing as much harm.

BigPharma is now pushing, with the help of the medical profession, Orlistat (“Xenical”) and Sibutramine (“Reductil”).

Xenical can induce vomiting and diarrhoea (a good way to lose weight), and if taken with fatty foods, can induce explosive vomiting and diarrhoea (an even better way).

Reductil is now implicated in Serotonin Syndrome, which is a serious and sometimes fatal disruption of brain chemicals. This is a real problem, especially since most people seem to be on anti-depressants (because they are over-weight). This results in an increase in the amount of serotonin in your system and nobody knows why this works for depressed people, nor the imbalances it produces.

Biggest fat rip-offs of all

The biggest rip-offs are the exotic Amazonian and Asian fat-blasters and de-tox agents, full of antioxidants, vitamins and cholesterol-lowers, sold over the counter by your friendly discount pharmacies. We have fat-blaster diuretics, fat magnets, fat busters and de-tox for liver and kidneys.

None of them work, and the manufacturers operate on the theory that the more you pay, the better it will be — well at least for them, not the customer.

The biggest rort in recent times was on American TV, where Dr Mehmet Oz promoted Raspberry Ketone,“the fat buster in a bottle.”

Ketones are in many plants, minding their own business and doing a good job for their plant. They have since found that the Raspberry Ketone is extracted from rhubarb, peaches, grapes, and pine trees and can be synthesized — which is where most of it comes from.

In summary, don’t believe anything on TV, and treat with scepticism all diets, pronouncements from doctors and anything from BigPharma.

Read more articles by Robert Gosstray

Robert Gosstray

Robert Gosstray is a retired pharmacist and the resident health writer for Midlifexpress. He is the author of The Pharmacist's Secrets: Drugs, lies and money.

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