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
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.