Monday, January 21, 2013

Hard Work's Substitute Takes The Lead

Cher once famously quipped, “If it came in a bottle, everyone would have a good body.”  The remark was part of Jack LaLanne Health Spa’s advertising campaign of which Cher was an apt pitchwoman back in the 80’s. The statement has certainly been contradicted by all the fads, gimmicks, potions, and elixirs designed to help the desperate achieve their fitness and weight loss goals that have come and gone since Cher’s famous pronouncement.

The latest device currently seeking FDA approval is the AspireAssist pump.  Just when you thought stomach stapling and gastric banding were as fantastically absurd as it gets, along comes this little wonder.  The pump uses a tube that’s inserted into the stomach, passes through the abdomen and linked to a port on the person’s skin. After eating, the person attaches a bag to the port and siphons off the top third of the stomach’s contents before they can be assimilated and turned into fat.  I shit you not. You’d be bang-on if this sounded to you like bulimia minus the spoon, gagging, vomiting, and messy cleanup. 

When are we going to start just sewing people's mouths shut?

Aspire CEO Katherine Crothall states that the device, “is a very serious therapy for morbidly obese people who want to lose weight.” Ya, and Percocet and Vicodin were designed to treat patients in pain, right?  How long will it be before this medical marvel is marketed to post-natal moms looking for assistance in shedding baby fat? Or doctors-to-the-stars (cue Michael Jackson’s Propofol-pushing Dr. Murray) are “prescribing” it to starlets looking to land the lead in the next blockbuster? Perhaps  it’s telling that the story on the device is featured in today’s newspaper in the Entertainment section, rather than a more relevant section.  And of course once some tasteless tabloid cleverly suggests that Angelina Jolie is using the AspireAssist, can a late-night infomercial be that far behind?

Will the pump work?  Probably, but that shouldn’t be considered anyone's happy ending.

The best diet advice you’re ever going to get remains, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”, where “food” is meant to include only that which either heals you or nourishes you.

Easier said that done indeed, but we’ll never teach the young and impressionable that the path to success is paved with hard work in a world full of gimmicky shortcuts.