How Much Are You Willing To Risk In Order To Lose Weight?

The number of obese individuals and obesity related illnesses is on the rise world-wide. People in America and in other parts of the developed world have become accustomed to rapid information retrieval, fast food and almost instantaneous communication of all sorts. It’s no wonder, then, that the search for a quick-fix to being overweight seems to obsess the American public. Among the quick fixes are diets, exercise machines and pills. And when a weight loss pill is touted as “natural” and a “dietary supplement” it’s an almost guaranteed best seller.


Such was the case with StarCaps, which have been voluntarily withdrawn from the market by its American distributor.


StarCaps contain the drug, bumetanide, a potent diuretic that can have serious side effects. It is a violation of the law to dispense bumetanide without a prescription. However, dietary supplements do not require FDA approval before going on the market; so StarCaps and other potentially harmful drugs have passed under the radar. It is only after marketing that the FDA can spot-check and test dietary supplements. Even when contaminated products are found, the FDA has no real jurisdiction over their sale. It is up to the manufacturer or, in the case of foreign manufactured products, the distributor to voluntarily withdraw the product. If these products stay on the market despite FDA calls for voluntary withdrawal, the FDA must go through the courts to get a wholesale withdrawal of the product.


The FDA is making a serious effort to identify weight-loss products that contain potentially harmful drugs and bring them to the attention of consumers. There is a Q&A website available to consumers. LINK 


So, how much are you will to risk in order to lose weight? Would you risk ingesting products with unknown substances? How long would you take such substances? Until you lost the amount of weight you wanted to lose? Until you felt ill? Would you keep taking them even if you felt ill?


There is no quick-fix for weight loss. In order to lose weight you must take in fewer calories than you use. This is not a quick process. If, in addition you want to keep it off, the weight loss must be:

  • gradual (1/2 to 2 pounds per week depending on age and gender)
  • combined with behavioral changes: a permanent increase in activity as well as a permanent decrease in consumption.


But it’s your risk, your loss and, ultimately, your decision.


2 Responses to “How Much Are You Willing To Risk In Order To Lose Weight?”

  1. 1 Dan February 15, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Thoughts about Obesity

    Obesity has been defined as when excess body fat accumulates in one to where their physical overgrowth makes the person unhealthy to varying degrees. Obesity is different than being overweight, as others determine obesity to be of a more serious concern.
    As measured by one’s body mass index (BMI), one’s BMI of 25 to 30 kg/m is considered overweight. If their BMI is 30 to 35 kg/m, they are class I obese, 35 to 40 BMI would be class II obese, and any BMI above 40 is class III obesity.
    Presently, with obesity affecting children progressively more, the issue of obesity has become a serious public health concern.
    Approximately half of all children under the age of 12 are either obese are overweight. About twenty percent of children ages 2 to 5 years old are either obese are overweight. The consequences of these stats on our children are very concerning, considering the health issues they may or likely experience as they get older.
    Worldwide, nearly one and a half billion people are either obese or overweight. In the United States, about one third of adults are either obese or overweight.
    Women of low socioeconomic status are likely to be twice as obese compared with those who are not at this status. It is now predicted that, for the first time in about 150 years, our life expectancy is suppose to decline because primarily of this obesity problem.
    Morbid obesity is defined as one who has a body mass index of 30 kg/m or greater, and this surgery, along with the three other types of surgery for morbid obesity, should be considered a last resort after all other methods to reduce the patient’s weight have chronically failed. Morbid obesity greatly affects the health of the patient in a very negative way. It has about 10 co-morbidities that can develop if the situation is not corrected. Some if not most of these co-morbidities are life-threatening.
    One solution beneficial in many cases of morbid obesity if one’s obesity is not eventually controlled or corrected is what is known as gastric bypass surgery. This is a type of bariatric surgery that essentially reduces the volume of the human stomach in order to correct and treat morbid obesity by surgical re-construction of the stomach and small intestine.
    Patients for such surgeries are those with a BMI of greater than 40, or a BMI greater than 35 if the patient has co-morbidities aside from obesity. This surgery should be considered for the severely obese when other treatment options have failed. The standard of care illustrating as to whether this surgery is reasonable and necessary should be clarified.
    There are three surgical variations of gastric bypass surgery, and one is chosen by the surgeon based on their experience and success from the variation they will utilize. Generally, these surgeries are procedures related to gastric restrictive operations or mal-absorptive operations.
    Over 200,000 gastric bypass surgeries are performed each year, and this surgery being performed continues to progress as a suitable option for the morbidly obese. There is evidence that this surgery is particularly beneficial for those obese patients that have non-insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus as well.
    It is believed that the results of this surgery to correct morbid obesity greatly limits or prevents such co-morbidities associated with those who are obese. Yet about two percent of those who undergo this surgery die as a result from about a half a dozen complications that could occur. However, the surgery reduces the overall mortality of the patient by 40 percent or so, yet this percentage is debatable due to conflicting clinical studies at times.
    Age of the patient should be taken into consideration, as to whether or not the risks of this surgery outweigh any potential benefits for the patient who may have existing co-morbidities that have already caused physiological damage to the patient. Also what should be determined by the surgeon is the amount of safety, effectiveness, and rationale for a particular patient regarding those patients who are elderly, for example.
    Many feel bariatric surgery such as this should be considered as a last resort when exercise and diet have failed for a great length of time.
    If a person or a doctor is considering this type of surgery, there is a website dedicated to bariatric surgery, which is:,

    Dan Abshear

  2. 2 Mary Lou Bernardo February 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you, Dan. I agree with your assessment of obesity and bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery, while a life-saving procedure, carries with it complications and a change in lifestyle. I believe that it is the change in lifestyle, e.g., restricted intake, changes in eating habits, which is sometimes not “heard” by the patient before surgery. Patients are frequently so desperate that, in spite of pre-operative psychological assessment and teaching, they still sometimes don’t “hear.” I believe that more should be done in this area so that these very needy patients are better prepared for their new life post-operatively.
    Obesity is such a multifaceted problem that it is almost too much, at times, to comprehend. Thank you again. You might also be interested in my blog of January 9, 2009.

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Mary Lou Bernardo, PhD, MSN


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