Question: Do you think you will actually develop a drug that will prevent people from getting fat? Why are you making this? I think people should just lose the weight instead of being lazy and that way the people that actually work hard at their bodies have good ones.

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  1. Sarahdowd and Emmabrown; I don’t think I can develop a drug that will prevent people from getting fat because I am more concerned to prevent people from getting sick or to cure from disease, instead of getting fat. As you suggested people can prevent fattening by hard working, exercising regularly and controlling onself not to overeat. I know that some scientists tried to deveop weight-losing drug and actually it was sold in the pharmacy(for example, dinitrophenol) but it was stopped after a wihile because of its side-effects. There are still some weight-losing drugs that maybe available but I do not recommend any of them.


  2. Unlike Natasha, I actually want to develop a drug that does the opposite!

    While being overweight can be very unhealthy, sometimes people don’t have enough fat, which can be just as dangerous to their health. In cachexia, people lose both fat and muscle, so we have to do everything we can to help them get more fat and muscle so their body has enough energy stored to help them get well. Since sometimes these patients can’t eat much, and can’t get out to exercise to make their muscles grow, a pill that helped them put on weight would help lots.

    It is important to remember that being too skinny is just as bad as being too fat!

    Natasha is the expert on this, and might give you more detail, but for some people, just exercising and trying to eat well does not work when they are trying to lose weight. If someone has too much or not enough of some hormones, their body won’t lose much weight, or they may quickly put on weight once they have lost it. In these cases, sometimes they need the help of doctors to maintain a healthy weight, such as appetite suppressants, or even a drug that might help them control their weight.


  3. YES! Thank you for this question and believe me, as a chocolate addict, I would love a magic pill that could just melt away all the fat.
    Funny enough, I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday that said that for the past 10 years, there have been NO new weight loss drugs approved. This means that many new drug were probably being developed, but all of them would have had some sort of side effect and therefore no good for people.

    Research has shown that people who get a lot of iron from food like meat, have a greater risk for getting fat and type 2 diabetes. Other research has shown that people who regularly donate blood or are vegetarian (no iron from meat), are actually protected from getting fat. All vegetarians I know are all super skinny.

    We looked in mice eating a McDonalds-style diet every day, what would happen if we would lower their body iron levels by a drug. And hooray, we found that these mice didn’t get fat! They ate just as much as controls (mice on the same diet but without the iron lowering drug), but didn’t get fat because they burned more energy.

    And you can’t tell anyone about this, because we only just discovered it, but when the mice are already fat, and we then give them the drug that lowers their body iron levels, they start to loose all the excess weight within 2 weeks!!!

    We hope to start testing this drug in fat people by the end of the year, but are trying to find the money to pay for the study……


  4. I think that this question was really aimed at Natasha, but I’ll chime in with a couple of thoughts anyways. You say that people should ‘just lose the weight instead of being lazy’, and while I agree that taking personal responsibility for your health is an important thing, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. I had a family member with a thyroid issue who put on a dramatic amount of weight in a short period of time, without having any idea why this was happening to her. (The thyroid is a gland found in your neck that produces hormones which help control, among other things, your metabolism). It wasn’t until she received medical treatment for her thyroid that she was able to lose the weight she’d gained.

    There are also bigger issues that play a role in weight and health. For example, poverty is associated with being obese in many developed countries; this many sound strange, because it seems obvious that being rich would let you buy more food, and so the rich should be more likely to be obese. Right? Well, not so much. People living in poverty may not be able to buy nutritious food, they may not have nearly as many opportunities to exercise, and so on. Strangely, though, this association is the strongest in countries that are already wealthy; being poor in a rich country may help make you obese, while being rich in a poor country may do the same.

    Even evolution may play a part here. In our evolutionary past, rich foods that are high in calories were very hard to find and it paid off to each as much of them as you could when you found them. It’s *one* of the reasons that we enjoy such foods so much (ever wonder *why* chocolate tastes so good?). There are others, like our culture that tells us that chocolate tastes good, but our bodies have been prepared by evolution to enjoy these foods and eat as much of them as possible. Then, they hold onto those calories tightly in preparation for times when food is not so abundant (never happens these days!), which is one reason that losing weight is difficult; you’re fighting your own body.

    None of this is meant to mean that individuals can just give up and blame their environment or their country (!). People are still responsible for their choices. But it’s still worth wondering what affects our ability to lose weight so that we can make it easier for people to do.


  5. I think this one is best answered by Vanessa and Natasha…but i will chime in to say that yes, it is important for people to monitor their diet and exercise well, but there can be lots of reasons for people to be overweight or obese (eg thyroid conditions as Steven mentioned) so its best not to judge people too harshly on appearances alone!