If you'd asked me a week ago what the future of dieting would look like, I would've told you I think it could go one of two ways. Either we become a society that grows to accept people of different sizes or we're gonna start literally torturing fat people into becoming skinny. You know, for their own good.
Well, it looks like we might be going with column b, because today I learned about the future of weight loss and let me tell you, the future is FUCKING TERRIFYING.
Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, a machine that exists to stop people from walking, has teamed up with Aspire Bariatrics (that name — shudder) to apply for a patent on a pump that will suck food and beverage straight out of your stomach and rids it from your intestines/life.
From Aspire Bariatrics 's "how it works" section:
The AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System works by reducing the calories absorbed by the body. After eating, food travels to the stomach immediately, where it is temporarily stored and the digestion process begins. Over the first hour after a meal, the stomach begins breaking down the food, and then passes the food on to the intestines, where calories are absorbed. The AspireAssist allows patients to remove about 30% of the food from the stomach before the calories are absorbed into the body, causing weight loss.
To begin Aspiration Therapy, a specially designed tube, known as the A-Tube™, is placed in the stomach. The A-Tube is a thin silicone rubber tube that connects the inside of the stomach directly to a discreet, poker-chip sized Skin-Port on the outside of the abdomen. The Skin-Port has a valve that can be opened or closed to control the flow of stomach contents. The patient empties a portion of stomach contents after each meal through this tube by connecting a small, handheld device to the Skin-Port. The emptying process is called "aspiration".
A SKIN-PORT that can be OPENED OR CLOSED to CONTROL THE FLOW OF STOMACH CONTENTS. I'm sorry, is this a viable weight loss option or a scene from Prometheus?
I'm guessing that the issues with this machine wil be much the same as with any bariatric surgery. Which is to say, many [warning: PDF!]. I'm sure it won't be long until tales of infections, leakage, lack of nutrient absorption, depression and suicide, severe hypoglycemia, extreme thiamine deficiency, anemia, osteoporosis, and all sorts of other complications will surface. In many cases, these are the things that are more dangerous than just being fat.
Plus, I can't help but think that this sort of automated bulimia won't trigger actual eating disorders. Right? It's basically a form of highly disordered eating, and creates a very unnatural relationship with food and its function.
Is this monster machine something a person uses until they reach goal weight? If so, what happens when they stop using it and they gain all the weight back? No matter what you think of fat people, you have to realize how something like this isn't sustainable as it doesn't address eating habits, or anything else. If anything, the person has probably fucked with their metabolism and their body will fight back by gaining even more weight. Then what? Is it time to rinse out the pseudo-colostomy bag and repeat? Is the person doomed to a never-ending cycle of stressful yo-yo dieting? Something that's much harder on a body than maintaining a higher weight, a happy existence filled with nutritious food and feel-good movement, and meaningful relationships that don't involve excusing yourself 20 minutes after each meal to go relieve your stomach of its contents?
And am I the only one who's curious about what happens to the skin flap during sex? Does your partner have to be careful not to touch you there? So romantic.
Perhaps most depressingly, it sounds like the one "benefit" of putting yourself through this would be that you get to eat what you want and still lose weight. However, according to the Independent, that's simply not the case:
Initial setbacks – and here's the really yucky part – have occurred because the pump struggles to break up large foods. One patient reported "clogging" and had to avoid eating cauliflower, broccoli, Chinese food, stir fry, snow peas, pretzels, chips and steak.