Dear Friend and Fellow Athlete,
Anyone who’s ever tried to cut weight before knows that the hardest part is obviously fighting that dreaded hunger feeling. However, a group of Italian researchers are working on an amazing new pill that expands in the stomach to prevent you from feeling hungry.
I’ve always been very jealous of those who can lose weight at the drop of a hat. The kind of athletes who are able to lose 15 pounds the month before a contest without even breaking a sweat. Unfortunately, I wasn’t born with the metabolism of a middle school-aged ice skater and so I always had to struggle mightily to cut those few extra pounds.
When I had to lose weight, it sometimes felt like the toughest, most difficult task I ever had to complete. With all of the carb and water cutting, clean eating, and cardio I had to do, I sometimes wondered if it was all even worth the effort. That is, until I got the high that comes with being as ripped as I could possibly be.
But even with all of the great feelings I get when I'm cut up, I still sometimes wished that I could just eat a whole cheesecake or a box of Twinkies to kill those hunger pains in my stomach. Screw egg whites and brown rice, I wanted what tastes good. However, I could have avoided all this torture if I would have had the amazing diet pill that Italian researchers are currently working on.
The diet pill that I speak of is designed to be taken with two glasses of water at the first hunger signs the stomach shows. Now this may not be very impressive but what I’m about to tell you is. Once inside the stomach, this pill expands into a clear, Jelly-like blob that is about the size of a baseball. The end result of this incredible effect is that it leaves the consumer feeling full afterwards. If used in combination with the remarkable Rimonabant diet pill that came out lasy year, the effects could potentially be magnified.
Luigi Ambrosio, who is the lead researcher on this project, best summed up what the pill will do when he said, “The effect is like eating a nice plate of pasta. If you sit down for a meal with a stomach that already feels full, you'll end up eating less.”
And if you’re wondering how long the effect that Ambrosio describes will last he mentioned, “One of our researchers tried the pill. He took it at about 11:00 AM and was still full at six in the evening.” He also added that the researcher took this pill about an hour before eating as recommended.
This pill, which is unnamed at this point, is made up of a cellulose compound best known as hyrdrogel. And if you’re wondering what hydrogel is, it’s a dry, powdery material that turns to something of a Jell-O when wet and gets bigger. With just a gram in the capsule form, this substance can grow to a size big enough to almost hold a liter of water.
What’s interesting about the make and development of the pill is how Luigi and his team at Italy’s National Research Council stumbled upon it. They had been working on a way to make products for a Swedish paper company that would be more absorbent. During this time, they began to wonder if the hydrogel used in this process could have other uses.
One such use that came to mind was a way to mimic the effects of a process called gastric banding. Gastric banding is a type of surgery that makes a person’s stomach smaller. Only hydrogel’s way would be a lot less painful.
In essence, their theory that this substance would work to lessen people’s hunger has been proven correct – in their own clinical studies. But there’s still a lot of ground to be broken before the pill will ever see store counters. And not everyone shares the team’s optimism about the future of this pill.
Spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association Lona Sandon said, “I don't think we'll find the answer to obesity in a pill. The only long term solution is cutting back calories and getting exercise.”
Dr. David Haslem, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, wasn’t quite as abrupt in diminishing the pill but did add, “The theory has been tried and tested in the past but it's not been that successful. We'd need much bigger trials but it's a reasonable enough idea. However, it would have to be given with the appropriate nutritional advice. You can't live on such tablets."
With the skeptics out there, one has to wonder if this pill will be available to consumers anytime soon. There has been rumors that it could be out in the summer but nothing is definite as of yet. Especially with so many questions about its effects and the use of hydrogel to achieve them. But the pill does have its supporters too.
A professor at Tor Vergata University in Rome named Antonino De Lorenzo said, “A pill like that one could be a valid aid when you've already got a serious problem. The real challenge is teaching people to eat properly before they need it."
University of Sheffield (in England) professor Paul Hatton spoke on the pill’s safety in saying, “There are plenty of ways of making hydrogels that are safe. They are used in medicines and prostheses.”
It’s definitely encouraging to hear that there are two sides to the tale with the words of these supporters. After all, there are many of us bodybuilders that could really benefit by being allowed to use such a product. But going beyond just us, there are a lot of other people who need a great diet pill even more and for health-threatening reasons too.
Ambrosio put this into perspective when he said, “Obesity is such an enormous problem. If we managed to reduce it by even 10 percent with this pill, it would be a huge accomplishment."
He is definitely right as, if there were just 10 percent of the obese people in the world who could get to a manageable weight, that would be a major step in the right direction. And contrary to what Lona Sandon said, I definitely think that there needs to be some big-time aid in helping these people as just cutting calories and getting exercise isn’t going to do it for many of the obese.
But will the aid come in the form of this hydrogel-based pill that Ambrosio and his associates are touting? It’s difficult to say at this point but it certainly is a unique concept that will be interesting to watch play out in the future. And imagine how ripped you could get if you combined it with the Rimonabant diet pill that came out last year.
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