On a diet? Forget drugs, justÂ change your lifestyle '“Â Lesley Keating
With the national epidemic of obesity never far from the headlines, I wasn't surprised to see the Daily Mail hailing so-called wonder drug Lorcaserin as the answer to every overweight person's prayers.
According to the Mail, Lorcaserin had rave reviews in USA trials where apparently 12,000 overweight people saw a loss of'¦Â drum roll please'¦about 9lb in the first year. What?Â 9lbs?
Now, is this just me or does that sound like a pretty paltry result?Â Â Particularly considering the unpleasant side effects include wind, incontinence, suicidal thoughts and mania!
I assume this was a misprint byÂ the MailÂ as, if I was on that clinical trial, I'd like to think I'd get a far more impressive result.
The drug apparently helps people to keep lost weight off for aboutÂ three years and has been pronounced '˜safer' than previous pills which carried stroke and heart attack risks.Â (Well, as safe as anything that interferes with the neurons in the brain is likely to be).
Before you beat a track to your GP's door, it won't be on the NHS for a couple of years except maybe by private prescription.Â But at a cost of aboutÂ Â£220 per month it's not cheap.
Why does everything have to be a quick fix?
The answer isn't in a drug even if scientists have suggested it's largely safe.Â Don't Â forget that Thalidomide was considered safe back in the 1960s.
People need to be educated to eat sensibly, exercise and to change their lifestyles.Â And GPs need to be more clued up about nutrition '“ in particular about sugar '“ and healthier living in general.Â
My cousin once asked hers the best way to improve her diet and was directed to a sugary cereal bar allegedly fortified with vitamins and minerals. Shocking advice.
So, spend your money on a gym membership or learning to cook properly instead.Â Change your lifestyle. It's not magic.Â It's common sense.
However, if you still feel inclined to play Russian roulette with your body, go ahead.
You'll certainly lose pounds '“Â aboutÂ 220 of them every month.
Beware the pasta-munching Viking hood from the Valleys
I'veÂ had my DNA results back from Ancestry and found it mind-blowing.Â My dad was a Londoner, my mum Welsh, so I thought I could predict the results.Â Wrong.
I now know I'm far more Welsh than English. And I have a good dollop of Mediterranean blood, allegedly from Sicily.
But, the biggest surprise? Turns outÂ I'm part-Viking too.
So, I'll be watching all those gangster films with renewed interest as I may have links toÂ the Godfather.Â It could also explain why I love pasta. And perhaps there's a genetic link to why my daughter is obsessed with all things Scandinavian.
Who knew spitting into a small plastic tube could be so fascinating.
These hole-in-the-wall gangs should be left red-handed
There's been a spate of local ATM raids recently in which someone has driven at a wall, yanked out a cashpoint and driven off.Â
The mind bogglesÂ about how they achieved thisÂ without being spotted.Â I mean, there must have been an almighty bang to start with.Â And given the 24/7Â society we live in, how come no-one was around to witness it?Â
I've no idea how much cash is in one of those machines but always assumed there was some sort of security system in place whereby if it was tampered with, the cash would be covered with an indelible dye. If not, isn't it time for banks to do this?
It would giveÂ new meaning to the expression '˜the colour of money'.