New diet pill: Concerns are sparked among many scientists and researchers nationwide

By Abigail Keefe
September 13, 2007

Italian researchers have invented a pill that is unlike any other currently on the market. This “magic pill” is formulated so that when ingested, it will form into a gel-like form inside the stomach, which in turn will reduce ones appetite by simulating a “full feeling.” Weight loss could be a lot easier now, but other experts dispute its effectiveness.

Scientist Luigi Ambrosio and his colleagues are researching this unnamed capsule in Rome. Ambrosio’s interest in a weight loss solution came about after a visit to America in the ’90s, when he noticed Americans’ largely unhealthy lifestyle.

The World Health Organization estimates that at least 300 million people worldwide are obese and at least one billion of them overweight. Studies show that being too heavy could lead to cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, stroke and many more illnesses.

The “miracle” capsule is a fiber compound of hydro gel and is to be taken with two glasses of water when one starts to feel hungry. After the powder inside the capsule dissolves, the gel expands and takes its shape. The effect is similar to “gastric banding” or stomach tying.

Minutes after the gel takes its shape, it can take in up to 1,000 times its own weight and is able to hold virtually a liter of fluid. Soon after, the stomach will feel almost completely full. As journalist Nicole Martinelli quoted in her article, “Jelly in the Belly: A Diet Pill That Expands So You Don’t.”

Ambrosio said, “The effect is like eating a nice plate of pasta.” The result will be not eating as much food, which will lead to tremendous weight loss.

Some wonder where the “miracle jell” goes after you are through eating. This pill is “biocompatible” which means it’s harmlessly flushed out of one’s system naturally.

This “dream pill” does spark some arguments and concerns among scientists and researchers. Dietician Lona Sandon, from the Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, is also cited in Martinelli’s article. “I don’t think we’ll find the answers to obesity in a pill.” Sandon is a big believer of cutting down carbohydrates and exercising regularly.

Anotonio De Lorenzo, a scientist from Tor Vergata University in Rome, believes the pill may help some people. “A pill like this could be a valid aid when someone already has a serious problem,” De Lorenzo said. He also admits that “the real challenge is reaching people to eat properly before they need the pill.”

Knowing some of the pros and cons, would anyone take this pill into their system or recommend to another person?

Corrine Grasso, a sophomore English major said, “I would never take a pill that turns into gel just to lose weight. Going to the gym and eating healthy is what everyone should do.”

For slightly different reasons, Tina Ventaza, a sophomore undeclared major, said, “I wouldn’t take it because diet pills mess up your body and metabolism. Plus, guys like girls that can eat!”

On the other hand, Maura Glacken, a sophomore graphic design major, said, “If it makes me lose weight, then yes, I’d take it. It would be awesome to be able to loose weight that easily.”

Although a tough decision for some, Cabrini trainer Jennifer Langley was not uncertain about the “magic pill” at all. “I would not take this pill nor would I recommend it because most things that aren’t natural are not supposed to be in your body. By taking this, you are also only treating half the problem.”

Langley agrees with the opinion of dietitian Lona Sandon that the best way to maintain a good body weight is to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

The unnamed weight loss pill that turns into gel will be on the market in the next year. Cutting down one’s hunger by more than half before eating a meal sounds great, but does not come without controversy. Time will tell on whether this diet pill will be successful.

Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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