The Money Diet

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The Money Diet

Emilie Schartner
English Comp 105
Mrs. Meikle
May 11, 2015

People today are struggling to lose weight on their own. They are resorting to pharmaceutical diet aids and weight loss programs in an attempt to see that “magic number” on the scale. This demand to lose weight has spawned a multi­billion dollar diet program industry, along with creating various pharmaceutical diet pills. However, all weight loss strategies are after the same goal: lose weight
. The products promise “something newer and better, but not necessarily something different” (Frank). Because the ultimate goal of every weight loss product is the same, the deciding factor often comes down to either type of product or price.
Consumers have turned to dietary pills such as Qsymia, Lorcaserin, and Orlistat to alter their body’s metabolic functioning and lose weight without making drastic changes in their everyday eating habits. In addition to pharmaceutical dietary aids, they have also turned to dietary programs such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Vtrim to shed the pounds by watching what they eat and minimizing the amount of calories they consume ­ a more natural way to lose weight. Weight loss programs, specifically Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, have proven to be most effective for clients, not only with losing the weight, but keeping it off
Many factors play into choosing a pharmaceutical diet aid. Consumers may look at the side effects, how the drug works, or most commonly, the cost. When choosing a weight loss program, cost is again an important factor, along with the meal plan, taste of the allowed menu
(especially if the food is provided with the program), and calories allowed per day. A question arises when people are paying large amounts of money on dietary plans: “Which plan is the cheapest and which will give the best results?” In other words, consumers are looking for the best bang for their buck. A recent scientific study performed by researchers at Duke­National


University of Singapore Graduate Medical School in the summer of 2014 was conducted to do just that. The focus of their research was to determine the most cost­effective programs and drugs (Huffman).
Leading this cost­effective weight loss study was senior author Eric Finkelstein and research assistant Eliza Kruger. Finkelstein had previously worked with a number of companies that manufacture weight loss drugs, including Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. He and his assistant began the study by conducting a literature review to identify “high­quality clinical trials of commercially available diet/lifestyle plans and medications with proven weight loss at one year or more” (Duke Medicine News and Communications). The weight loss of the patients was measured in terms of absolute change in kilograms (2.2 pounds) lost compared to a control group in which patients underwent a low cost/low intensity intervention, or a placebo ­ a harmless pill given for psychological benefit ­ in the case of the pharmaceutical trials (Huffman).
The literature review uncovered three diet programs and three medications that met the specific criteria for the cost­effectiveness analysis: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Vtrim, along with the diet pills Qsymia, Lorcaserin, and Orlistat (Duke Medicine News and
Communications). As for the the weight loss tactics that were excluded from this study, several meal replacement products such as Medifast, Optifast, and Slimfast did show weight loss success, however, they did not meet one or more of the inclusion criteria (Huffman). Along with meal replacement products, weight­loss surgery, another highly effective way to lose weight, was also excluded from the cost­effectiveness study (Duke Medicine News and


After Finkelstein and his assistant assembled the weight loss programs and pharmaceutical diet pills