Medically prescribed bulimia

I was going to write a friendly post about cookbooks today but in today’s nutrition news I discovered a new prescription product just approved for use in Europe that has made me so furious that I just had to protest about it. The product? The AspireAssist.

Unbelievably, this product is a tube-type device that is implanted in your stomach so that you can empty the contents of your stomach after a meal. Marketed at obese people who may not want to go down the route of gastric bypass or other extreme surgical method of weight control.

The website for the product says it gives people control over their weight loss. Certainly. What it doesn’t do is give people control over their eating or provide their body with the nutrients it needs.

Think about it – if you had a straight shot from your mouth to the toilet, would you eat the carrot or the cheesecake? The pizza or the salad? Would you limit what you eat to healthy portions?

The website touts the benefits of the product, stating that in clinical trials people lost 49% of their weight in the first year. OF COURSE THEY DID. It also mentions that although they will provide advice on making lifestyle changes, no dietary changes are required for the product to work.

And who will speak for the rest of the body if someone has this? No nutrients, no fibre? How will those organs function? How will the person function? What will happen to their mental state?

I would like to think that I live in a world where people (and doctors) are smart enough to realise that the AspireAssist isn’t going to solve a single problem for someone with obesity and although it’s not the easiest path at times, a person’s life would be far better enriched with a healthy diet than a get-out-of-jail-free food tube.

Aimee Beimers is a qualified nutrition consultant working in the Belfast area.

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