Editor's Note: Stuart Adams is a qualified "Nutritional Activist" and has been examining weight loss programs that have multiplied through pharmacy in recent times.
We have been pleased to publish Stuart's commentaries, as they have been very direct and unambiguous.
The end result is that some pharmacists are now clearly looking at what they are doing, and modifying their professional behaviour to ensure that what they now do is not seen to be deficient.
With pharmacy generally gearing up for a range of programs that might be called "assistive primary care" programs, that specialise in clinical support for mostly lifestyle diseases, it would be nice to be confident, so that when these programs are introduced, they will not be blindly followed according to manufacturer propaganda, but will be skeptically evaluated by individual pharmacists before they begin to endorse a clinical system or service.
Weight management is a good introduction to these activities.
Get to the real causes of weight gain and perhaps pharmacists may be able to blunt the diabetes epidemic that is sweeping Australia.
As you peel back some of the layers, you find sleep deprivation may be a causative factor and perhaps high insulin levels, as argued by some health practitioners.
I don't pretend to know the answers, but I would certainly enjoy finding out.
And more importantly, to be confident that what I am promoting has good evidence to back it.
Over the past few issues I discussed some of the problems associated with pharmacies pushing faddish weight loss schemes based on meal replacements.
There are a few other common meal replacement schemes being set up in pharmacies such as ‘Success’, ‘Optislim’ though it was Xndo which recently caught my attention.
Just as the Tony Ferguson program has spread throughout Terry White Chemists Australia wide, Amcal seems to be jumping on the weight loss bandwagon also by implementing Xndo, which apparently, can “do what others can’t do”; suggesting it must be significantly unique.
One of Xndo’s major claims is that it is ‘science based.’
It’s difficult to tell what this means exactly, but a search of the PubMed database reveals nothing about it.
The website doesn’t give too many details about what the program involves, though some clues includes having its own special ‘protein based’ food pyramid, and states that “Xndo dietary tools, such as our Xndo Guilt-Free Shakes, eliminate the need to count calories because they’re already counted for you.”
It also claims to provide customers with an ‘expertly trained practitioner’ however I’m told that this expert training is a course pharmacy assistants can do in several days.
It s not terribly explicit in explaining precisely what it can do that others can, but so far it’s sounding like an all too familiar tune.
The website claims that Xndo is supposed to be ‘individually tailored’ as obviously, everyone’s needs are different.
The websites homepage features a recommendation to click on an online assessment survey in order to see whether the program was suitable for potential customer's individual circumstances entitled ‘Is Xndo right for me?’
I answered this survey using just about every possible combination of answers.
Regardless of how I responded to the survey questions however, the outcome is always: “Congratulations, you’ve found the system that’s right for you!”
If everyone gets the same outcome regardless of their circumstances, I think it’s reasonable to question just how ‘individually tailored’ this program really is.