Stomach-Pumping Machine As ‘Professional Bulimia Tool’

Stomach-Pumping Machine Makes Calories Disappear, yesterday’s Good Morning America headline reads. WBUR’s Rachel Paiste spotted it, and here, she reacts:

By Rachel Paiste
Guest Contributor

The AsipreAssist: It allows you to eat whatever you want, all day, without gaining a pound! (So its makers say.)

I find it disgusting, horrifying, and I’m sure other people would probably say it’s wonderful.  All at once!

The group of inventors behind the Segway have created what basically equals a professional bulimia tool.

(Ephemeral Scraps/flickr)

(Ephemeral Scraps/flickr)

The AspireAssist device allows you to eat what you want…then suck it right back out of your stomach. The ABC news report I stumbled upon says only about a third of the calories consumed are absorbed by the body after the machine sucks out all the icky, undigested bits.

If I reflect for a moment, I remember having similar feelings about the Segway when it was released. Can’t people just walk? Are we really on our way to being the fat globs that float about space in Wall-E?

Maybe we are. What happened to diet and exercise? Portion control? Healthy living? Now, I’m as guilty as the next person of occasionally overeating and regularly eating “dinner” foods at 8 am (though I do come to work at 4am, which is my personal justification…think: it’s dinner time somewhere).

And I know for some people losing weight can feel impossible; and desperate measures may be appropriate. I get that people have painful, lifelong struggles with losing weight.

But really. Isn’t this just lazy? Katherine D. Crothall, president and CEO of Aspire Bariatrics, the makers of this “weight loss tool,” told ABC the device offers a way for morbidly obese people to lose weight:

“Some people manage to lose weight on a diet, but the kinds of changes you need to make to keep it off are probably not sustainable for many,” she said. “There’s a lot to be said for people being in the driver’s seat with their own body, with their own health. This allows a patient to do that while under the care of a physician.”

I ask again: What happened to diet and exercise?

I had an obese friend who got bypass surgery, made no other changes in his life, and now he’s fat again. On the flip side of that, my best friend from high school (who I am incredibly proud of) went from obese to health nut over the course of two years. How? She overhauled her life, took up rock climbing and altered her diet. She’s happy, she’s sexy and she was realistic about her goals and a weight loss time line. Mental changes need to go along with any physical changes, or weight loss won’t last.

Rachel Paiste is a WBUR news writer and infuriated consumer.

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  • atheologist

    “What happened to diet and exercise? Portion control? Healthy living?”

    This is the wrong question. Many people eat healthy, normal diets, lead active lives, and are still heavier than they are told they “should” be. The problem is that we focus on weight over health, leading people to take more and more drastic measures to get thin, even though any number of those methods actually harm people’s health.

  • Evan Pankey

    I just read Calories and Corsets (interesing by but windy book about the history of diet and body image in the West).
    The ancient Greek and Roman physicians recommended vomiting amongst other things for maintaining a healthy weight. Apparently this was a common practice to survive multi day feast without having to get one’s toga resized.

    So I guess we’re coming full circle.
    I personally find the practice whether ancient or modern, pretty disgusting.
    I hope the machine protects the users from the the chronic exposure risks to stomach acid (teeth and gum erosion and increased risk of esophageal cancer).

    For me, NO THANKS.