Finally! A Doc has called out healthy eating and exercise for what it really is: “Draconian self-deprivation efforts… hedonic sacrifice.”
Right on doc. Humans are totally over healthy eating and exercise. It’s so last century. We should be able to achieve magnificently toned bodies by simply placing an overflowing plate of fried chicken and Swedish meatballs on our bellies while watching endless hours of the Food Network. Is that too much to ask? Apparently not:
“Excess weight is a risk factor for myriad illnesses including diabetes and cerebrovascular disease. Despite its ubiquity, treatment is, for the most part, ineffective and focuses on conscious, draconian self-deprivation efforts including portion control, fasting, hedonic sacrifice, or initiation of a rigorous, often painful, exercise program. Chemosensory modification to induce weight loss has used both aversive and nonaversive olfactory and hedonically positive gustatory stimuli.”
The paragraph above can be found in the abstract for Dr. Alan Hirsch’s latest research on his new weight loss product, Sensa. Here’s how Dr. Hirsch describes his product:
“Sensa works with your sense of smell to curb your hunger without affecting the taste of your food. This induces something called ‘sensory-specific satiety.’ It makes your brain perceive that you’ve eaten more than you have and, thus, you eat less and lose weight.”
Using Sensa is simple: Just sprinkle some “salty” or “sweet” Sensa Tastant crystals on any food that you eat. There are no required changes in diet or exercise. After one month, purchase the next Sensa pack and repeat the sprinkling. Repeat until desired weight loss is achieved and use for weight maintenance as well.
I initially thought Sensa sounded interesting because its formulation is based on aromatherapy and taste research. Additionally, Dr. Hirsch has some publications in complementary health journals, so I thought his approach may be a bit more holistic. Oh yeah, and the product claimed an average weight loss of 30.5 pounds in 6 months for a group of 1,436 participants who sprinkled Sensa on their foods- not too shabby.
So, I looked for the Sensa study in every journal I have access to (which is quite a lot for U of MN students). But, I couldn’t find it. It looks as though Dr. Hirsch’s research has not been published in a journal. This raises many questions for the claims that Sensa makes.
In Dr. Hirsch’s patent application for Sensa, he discusses a smaller study on Sensa that showed a weight loss average of 5.6 pounds in 6 months. That’s 25 pounds less than his current claims. How did he swing that? Was the formulation of the product changed and results improved that dramatically? Hmmm… I’m thinking Sensa just isn’t making sense.
Additionally, there’s no discussion on Dr. Hirsch’s control group for the study. Was the control group significantly different than the test group? It simply wouldn’t be fair if he collected his test group from overeaters anonymous and his control group from a spin class at the health club.
I totally respect Dr. Hirsch; he has done some awesome research for complementary therapies and carries his work into the mainstream. But, really, this product seems like a waste of money ($59 per month, $33 per month if you purchase the 6 month bulk pack). On a good note, this product seems to be safer than most other diet pills. However, there are still artificial ingredients in the product and the full ingredient list is not disclosed.
Call me a masochist, but I would put my money toward a rigorous, painful exercise program and the hedonic sacrifice of healthier foods.