Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dieting to Die For

Editing magazines for women led me to admire their good sense and sensitivity on the whole, but there were blind spots. Weight loss was one of them.

A gender that respects others’ feelings, is less willing than men to go to war and votes for Democratic Presidential candidates will nevertheless endure any hardship and take any risk to get thin.

A decade ago, women spent billions on a prescription drug, fen-phen, until cases of heart damage and death led the FDA to withdraw it from the market.

Today there is news of a newly approved over-the-counter diet drug jumping off the shelves in L.A., capital of the war against weight. Orlistat, trade-named Alli, a fat-blocker, is “creating serious buzz.”

This one is not likely to kill anybody but has a few less-than-charming drawbacks--gas, oily discharge and an inability to control bowel movements. FDA officials stress that it “needs to be used in combination with a diet and exercise program—-and that using the pill alone isn't likely to do any good.”

But, if experience is any guide, serial dieters won’t be deterred. It remains to be seen if men will be drawn to slim dates who are constantly rushing off to the ladies lounge.

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