Can a pill solve the obesity problem?

The obesity problem is real, but can it be solved by a pill?
As many of us know, obesity is already a huge problem in the world. Not only does it increase the likelihood for serious health conditions, but it also decreases your ability to learn, focus and concentrate.

“Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese. Source WHO (5).

On paper the solution for obesity looks simple: Eat less, move more.

Unfortunately it’s not that simple.

This is the first part in a series of three blog posts where we explore how a digital pill is the potential solution for the obesity problem.

The big question is: Do we have to do the hard job with healthy eating and regularly exercise or can it theoretically be solved with a pill?

To answer that question, we need to understand what causes the obesity problem?
Modern society is developed around the lazy human brain. From an evolutionary standpoint humans want the best results with the least amount of effort / energy.

“Conserving energy has been essential for humans’ survival, as it allowed us to be more efficient in searching for food and shelter, competing for sexual partners, and avoiding predators,” said senior author Dr. Matthieu Boisgontier, a postdoctoral researcher in UBC’s brain behavior lab at the department of physical therapy. (1)

What does it mean that modern society is developed around the lazy human brain?
We know that our brains like to take the easiest solution.

Here is an example:
You are really hungry and have not prepared for what to eat. What do you do? Many of us would look for the fastest options. Fast food chains like McDonalds knows that. McDonalds is both cheap, fast and tasty, but unfortunately it’s unhealthy. It’s way easier to find unhealthy food compared to healthier options. So if you are in a hurry and you are hungry it’s a high chance that you end up with an unhealthy meal.

McDonalds is just one out of many examples. Uber eat is another one, we want to have everything available on our smartphones with just one click.

The human brain is always seeking the easiest path. We can’t blame our brain though, because having a lazy brain has been really smart from an evolutionary standpoint as it was essential for our survival.

The result of modern society and our lazy brains is that we eat all the delicious food, we order things to us instead of taking a small walk and we rather do fun and cozy stuff (Netflix) instead of exercising.

When we eat and drink more calories than we use up, our bodies store the excess as body fat. If this continues, over time we may put on weight. — NHS (2)

How can this problem be solved by a pill?
It’s really hard to exercise your way out of a bad diet. The reason is it only takes a couple of minutes to eat 300 calories, but it takes a 30 minutes fast jog to burn it off (this is just roughly estimates and how much you burn on a specific workout is highly dependent on your bodyweight, intensity, duration and your endurance).

Either way, everyone agrees that the biggest factor for weight loss is your food intake.

And what affects our food intake?

Our hunger….

The people that can “eat whatever they want” do not normally have special genetics so they burn more calories throughout the day, but they are better at controlling their hunger. They can eat candy, but they don’t overeat.

So if a pill should be made, it has to help us with controlling our hunger.

Some studies have shown that the hormone GLP-1 (3) can decrease hunger and help overweight people reduce up to 20% of their weight just with weekly injection of the hormone (4).

That’s really good news for us that work in the health and wellness industry, but we don’t think weekly injections will solve the whole problem. We believe that we should develop a digital “pill” that can be with you in your pocket and _prevent_ you from being overweight with healthy exercise and nutrition habits.

That’s what’s triggered us at Entirebody.com.

We believe that the pill that will solve the obesity problem will be a digital solution.

We believe that everyone should have their own personal coach in your pocket that guides you to make better decisions for your health and wellness on a daily basis.

Digital “pils” coming soon
Now that we have everything available at our fingertips impulse control is more important than ever. In part 2 of this article we will dig deep into how we are working on the digital pill to solve the obesity problem.

Sources:
(1) https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/09/19/are-human-brains-hardwired-for-laziness#1

(2)https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/causes/#:~:text=Obesity%20is%20generally%20caused%20by,by%20the%20body%20as%20fat.
(3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucagon-like_peptide-1

(4) https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10110070/

(5) WHO https://www.who.int/news-room/facts-in-pictures/detail/6-facts-on-obesity

Entirebody has developed a digital marketplace for connecting exercise and nutrition coaches with consumers. This publication shall explore how Entirebody will scale personalised coaching with AI.

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Sander Andersen

Sander Andersen

Founder of Entirebody.com and Zensible DAO

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