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Hoodia Gordonii a natural weight controller

by Monica Pleuler, staff writer


The Hoodia cactus, native to South Africa, has recently started the hot new trend in dieting. The cactus, which is stumpy, upright, and pale green, is native to the Kalahari Desert. It has been used for centuries by the hunter-gatherer San-speaking tribes of South Africa. Tribesmen snap off a small section of the plant and chew it over a couple of days while out hunting. The plant suppresses their appetite and allows them to go for days without food and water. The Hoodia is now made into a diet pill which kills the appetite, ups your mood, and gives you energy.

 

The discovery of this plant is great news for many of us. We live in a culture where we have holiday rituals that include stuffing ourselves until we can’t move any longer, where snacking all day is not only possible but acceptable. For many of us there are no meal times. We sneak down to the fridge at two in the morning and hit the HaagenDaz, consume large amounts of calories, and still do not feel full.

South African scientists have been testing the Hoodia plant since 1996 when they discovered that it contained a previously unknown molecule, named P57 by Britain’s leading pharmaceutical researcher, that replicates the effect glucose has on nerve cells in the brain, fooling the body into thinking it is full, even when it is not.

Drug companies, such as Pfizer, have jumped at the idea of suppressing the appetites of people who cannot control their daily food intake. They claim that the pills are organic, with no synthetic appetite control agents, and that they have a natural aphrodisiac effect.

The Center for Disease Control reported in 2003 that obesity is overtaking smoking as the number one killer in the United States and that over the next five years, deaths related to obesity will increase by 20 percent.

 

2004, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
 
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