New diet drug will lead to more disappointment

Here we go again.

An FDA panel has approved yet another weight loss drug -- and once the FDA itself signs off on it, as it usually does, you can expect to see yet another rush for the latest "lose weight fast" gimmick.

And then you can count the days until you start hearing complaints about side effects -- not to mention gripes over how it "doesn't work."

That's because the new drug, lorcaserin, isn't a weight-loss miracle pill at all. In fact, it might be one of the least effective diet drugs yet -- and that's saying something, since the ones that have come and gone so far have been thoroughly unimpressive (not to mention dangerous).

In three clinical trials, lorcaserin users lost an average of 3.1 percent of their body weight more than users of a placebo.

Better than nothing? Maybe. But the reality is that anyone who is only 3.1 percent overweight doesn't need a diet miracle. These days, someone 3.1 percent overweight probably doesn't even think of himself as overweight at all.

And if you're badly overweight, 3.1 percent won't even make a dent in your midsection. That's less than 8 pounds off a 250-pound person, and a little more than 9 pounds off someone who weighs 300 pounds.

I don't know anyone who'd call that "effective." And in addition to NOT helping you to lose much weight, the drug can come with big risks.

Before the latest approval, this drug was actually rejected -- twice! -- over concerns of links to cancer and heart valve problems. The feds now claim the risk of cancer is "negligible." They also say that another trial shows no heart valve problems -- but admit they'll need more study to figure that one out for sure.

Interesting. On the one hand, they're not sure if it poses a risk to the heart. On the other... oh, heck! Let's approve it anyway!

Since we already know that 50 percent of all side effects are discovered after a drug is on the market a few years, that means anyone who takes it will be nothing more than a guinea pig in what will essentially be a massive clinical trial.

Forget it. Stop waiting for a miracle pill and don't even waste your time with fad diets and other gimmicks.

There's just one way to shed your extra pounds and keep them off for good, and that's with a back-to-basics approach to eating. Cut out all the processed foods and refined carbohydrates, pass on the sugars, and eat sensible portions of real, whole foods.

You'll lose a lot more than 3.1 percent of your body weight. And you'll be a lot healthier, too.