Thanks to a new generation of supercomputers, new diet pills are under development. This article explains how a simple diet pill tablet might actually help reduce our growing waistlines.
It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to concerns about the impact of our recent culinary excesses. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is, of course, a hot topic of conversation at any time of year. Levels of obesity are rising worldwide, but January is the month when people are most likely to focus their attention on individual weight-loss goals.
According to a recent YouGov survey, 48% of the people making new year’s resolutions in 2019 said they wanted to lose weight. In that same year, over 64% of adults in the UK were classified as being overweight or obese, according to the Nuffield Trust’s QualityWatch.
BMI Or Waist Measurement?
Body Mass Index (BMI) is often used as an index of healthy weight (over 25 is overweight and a BMI over 30 is obese). But recent studies have shown that waist measurement is a better predictor of serious health risks. Such risk includes cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
Cancer Research UK has highlighted the fact that extra fat can lead to cancer. Being overweight or obese is the second biggest cause of cancer, and keeping to a healthy weight reduces the risk of 13 different types of cancer. Excessive visceral fat is also a significant health risk, even in those with normal BMI and a healthy waist circumference.
Another Tool For Weight Loss
A recent study published in the BMJ revealed that at least 2.6 million people in the UK are eligible for gastric bypass, or bariatric surgery. And about 60,000 people per year join this pool of eligible individuals as the epidemic of severe obesity worsens.
Weight-loss surgery is a clinical and cost-effective means of treating severe obesity for those who have unsuccessfully tried all other non-surgical weight-loss interventions, but what if we could have the benefits of gastric banding without the surgery? Enter a brand new approach to weight control: the Thin Pill.
While the Thin Pill may not be to everyone’s taste, it gives us a new option
How It Works
During a meal, your stomach muscles relax and the volume of your stomach increases to accommodate your meal. This relaxation is controlled by a protein called P2Y11. The Thin Diet Pill is a drug that blocks P2Y11, making it possible to control the extent to which the stomach muscles are able to relax. This, in turn, controls how much food the stomach is able to hold. The Thin Pill is a chemical gastric band. A drug that, like bariatric surgery, restricts the ability of the stomach to expand. Which enable us to feel full after eating fewer calories.
Is It Available Now?
Unfortunately for those of us reflecting on recent festive meals, the Thin Diet Pill is under development at UCL and not yet on the market. But should be ready for testing in the next five to 10 years. Although the protein it affects was identified a decade ago, it’s only recently that we have developed the technology to be able to determine the atomic structure of P2Y11.
This, together with increasingly powerful supercomputers, now enables us to design the Thin Pill. By finding the chemical structure that provides the molecular key to lock down the P2Y11 protein and reduce the expansion of our stomachs.
Using supercomputers to develop the Thin Pill promises to be much faster and much less expensive than the traditional cost (approximately £1 billion) of successfully developing a new medicine for doctors to prescribe to their patients.
Finding a sustainable approach to maintaining a healthy weight is something our new year’s resolutions suggest would be most welcome. While the Thin Pill as a concept may not be to everyone’s taste. It gives each of us a new option that we will shortly be able to consider. Particularly, when trying to find the most effective way to achieve our personal weight-loss goals.