The Electric Commentary

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's Just A Medical Problem

For some reason we don't consider certain ailments to be medical in nature. Death, for instance, is viewed as some mystical quasi-religious part of life, when it's really just a medical problem that will be solved at some point. Another is obesity/high cholesterol/fatness. Will Saletan tackles girth in a very clever Slate piece:

In fact, we're already working on it. Food abstinence, like sexual abstinence, was the original option. Then came the rhythm method: no snacking between meals. Randy teens fortify their resolve at True Love Waits; hungry adults do it at Weight Watchers. To relieve the hots, there's safe sex; to relieve the munchies, there's SlimFast. With foams and jellies, we can kill sperm in the reproductive tract; with lipase inhibitors, we can neutralize fat in the digestive tract. The pill blocks pregnancy by fooling your body into thinking it's pregnant; appetite suppressants curtail eating by making your body think it's full.

Read it all, but just in case you don't, here's the uplifting ending:

Intestinal bypass is no picnic. It's traumatic, and it means taking supplements for the rest of your life. The ideal solution would be to find the same benefits in a pill. Wouldn't you know it, two studies have come out this month suggesting that a compound called resveratrol neutralizes the harmful effects of a high-fat diet in mice. "Guilt-free gluttony might not be a fantasy," scientists concluded in Nature.

Life is good. And getting better.


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