It came to my attention that recently the FDA approved a device that is essentially a pacemaker for your stomach and esophagus which sends electrical pulses to interrupt hunger pangs. The device has been tested in real live humans, and the FDA approved it. There are multiple reasons that this device and its approval are completely flabbergasting me and enraging me. The approval of this device was conceived in greed and will exacerbate the laziness and instant gratification mindset of our entire nation. In a place where 3/4 of the population is overweight or obese, this device is a far cry from the solutions needed to make our nation healthy.
The first problem with this device is that it most likely made multiple people affiliated with the FDA a little richer. It’s no secret that the FDA has repeatedly made decisions that do not benefit the public’s health while it does benefit their members’ wallets. Check out Food Inc. and tell me that you don’t think the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries had anything to do with this or the thousand other ways the FDA presumes to treat obesity without attacking the source of the problem: what we eat. Someone was paid well to pass this design and approve its use.
How do I make the assumption that the approval of the device was the product of corporate greed? In an experiment testing the effectiveness of the device, called Maestro, the placebo device performed almost as well as Maestro as far as total body weight lost in 100 patients. NBC news stated, “The FDA wanted the device to be 10 percent better, on average, than a placebo but has approved it anyway.” The experiment was safe enough, but did have many adverse side effects that are usually included in any Pepto Bismol advertisement. Well, yeah, an electrical device that pulses through your stomach and esophagus when you decide you feel hungry… wonder why? Seriously.
Let’s talk about how effective this device would be at sustainably reducing weight in its hosts. NBC wrote that the device would only be available to those who had tried weight loss programs and failed with a BMI of at least 35 to 45 points, but they would also only qualify if they also had an obesity-related health issue like heart disease or diabetes. Okay, cool, we’re narrowing it down, but this device will do jack-diddly-squat for heart disease and diabetes. The device only controls hunger pangs, not the actual kind of food you put in your mouth. If you only eat 500 calories a day but that 500 calories is always a nice greasy burger, you’re still going to have heart disease. Hate to break it to you, but skinny people get heart disease and die of heart attacks too! The device also wouldn’t stop you from eating only 500 calories worth of doughnuts a day and remaining diabetic. One more blow to your lower abdomen: skinny people are diabetic too! This device, this Maestro, only addresses calorie intake and not actual health. It will literally do NOTHING for someone who isn’t consciously making the decision to eat healthier foods.
This device also only intercepts hunger signals, not depression or boredom, so emotional eating and boredom binging are totally still on the table. Not only that, but Maestro is controllable by its host, so you can choose when you’d like to be hungry. Presumably, anyone could develop an eating disorder and use Maestro to reject their basic instincts saying, “hey, feed me before I eat all the necessary visceral fat around your vital organs and send you to the ER!” The device will not address any issues with food addiction or overeating. It will simply allow its hosts to ignore hunger. That is useless.
Needless to say, someone just invested a whole lot of money into something that will be completely obsolete and will cure nothing. Sure, it may help some people lose weight for a while, but it won’t teach them how to make better food choices or how to plan meals for weight loss.
This time, money, and energy would have been better spent by the FDA in trying to figure out how to get their heads out of their asses and their hands out of agriculture and pharmacy’s pockets long enough to figure out that they’re killing us all one dollar at a time.