Ask Your Doctor if Satiation™ is Right For You

Scientists have invented a pill that that allows you to live without eating, drinking, or excreting. Unfortunately it not only eliminates your desire to eat, it also ensures that you take no pleasure when doing so.

Question: Would you take the pill?

FAQ:

  • Taking the pill is a one-time event. Once you swallow it you are set on “no eating” for the rest of your life, no take-backs.
  • Those who take the pill never again feel hunger, thirst, or any other food-related sensation.
  • The pill produces a fixed # of calories a day, so your weight would depend entirely on your activity level.
  • The pill doesn’t prevent you from ingesting substances. It guarantees that you feel no desire to do so, and that you will derive no enjoyment from the actual act of consumption (e.g., nothing would taste “good” to you), but you could still, say, consume intoxicants for their effects.
  • Yes, you get to keep all the money you would have otherwise spent on food.
  • There are no impending apocalypsii or food shortages on the horizon (i.e., survival shouldn’t factor into your decision).

I put a considerable amount of thought into this question the other day, and finally decided (a) I would take the pill, and (b) within six months I would probably regard eating as an almost unendurable burden.

92 thoughts on “Ask Your Doctor if Satiation™ is Right For You

  1. I’ve always wanted to live the Boa Constrictor model: eat a goat, sleep for a week, and spend the next three weeks doing whatever you wanted, not sleeping, not eating. Then eat a goat, sleep for a week….

  2. Oh yea. I’d take that pill in a second. I only *really* enjoy food when I’m hungry, so if I’m never hungry anymore I can certainly live without it. And since food no longer tastes “good” (which I take to mean “bad”), it should cure the habit of eating out of boredom.

    Yes, I want this pill! And I also want a pill that removes all feelings of inadequacy from not having finished INFINITE JEST.

  3. I’d be inclined to take the pill, but I’d be curious whether we are allowed to take future versions of the pill as they come out, or if we are “locked” to the one we take.

    That is, if I take Satiation ™ and then in a year or two they come out with Satiation 2 ™ (“With S2 you can taste foods that were prepared using our synthetic flavoring additive Tastozine ™!”) can I take that and “upgrade”?

    Eventually I imagine they will have perfected the science and Satiation 2050(tm) will have all the benefits of the original but without the drawback of not enjoying food when you do optionally decide to consume it. How long to wait for science??

  4. Would you have to be at your ideal weight before taking the pill? Or would it be set for a target mass/activity level? What happens if you have an increase in caloric requirements (due to gestation, taking up a new sport, etc.)? Would you just have to shovel in protein drinks to make up the deficit?

    That aside, I’d have to say my answer is no way. Triple no way since you’re asking the question during fall baking season.

  5. You also have to ask yourself, what other sources of pleasure / comfort are going to expand in importance to replace the amount of time our brains spend obsessing about food? I’m guessing a lot of no-food-pill takers will turn into sex maniacs, chain smokers, compulsive gamblers, xtreme sports enthusiasts, etc.

    This is just a special case of the 1950’s future in which we were all to have flying cars and jet packs and food would be replaced with nutrient pill. I’d rather wear a silver jumpsuit and take my chances with a sky full of cars no safer than the ones we drive on the ground than replace all my food with pills.

    And your scenario is completely unrealistic. The pharmaceutical companies are never releasing this until they tweak it so:

    1. You have to take a pill once a month

    2. Which costs slightly less than a monthly grocery bill (But think of all the money you save by not eating out!”)

    3. And which changes your body chemistry such that the only way to get any nutrients is to continue taking the pills.

    4. They lobby to get generic versions pushed back another 20 years (every 19 years or so).

  6. I can’t help but wonder if there’s a correlation between a person’s answer to this question and their Body Mass Index. My gut tells me that the answer is yes.

  7. @Chris
    Correlation with high or low BMI? I am not tempted by the pill as an easy way to make my extra 25 pounds disappear. And I am guessing that a fair number of the “eating is a chore that I often forget” group are low BMI.

  8. Wow. Seeing all these “yes” answers, I now understand why incredibly boring chain restaurants and fast food places are so ubiquitous. I like cooking and eating good food and think that pill sounds awful, but I’d probably choose it over a steady diet of Burger King and microwave dinners if those were my only options.

  9. I’m amazed no one has mentioned the cultural aspect of eating. It connects us with our own history and allows us to discover new cultures right in our own home. I grew up in the southeastern US, but now live in Nevada. I made Brunswick stew last night, buttermilk biscuits last weekend, and my husband made fried chicken last week. These are all meals I know and love from home. Next week, I’m going to try my hand at Tikka Masala (Indian). Unfortunately, my favorite Indian restaurant recently closed up, but I can still attempt the wonderful dishes at home. The cultural loss of not eating would be, in my opinion, as horrible as closing all art museums, but worse because I can enjoy food on a daily basis and only visit museums when I’m in the area.

    I admit I’m a “live to eat, not eat to live” sort, so of course I would never take such a pill. I would also argue a lot of the pill-takers don’t eat good food. If you had dinner at my house every night, you’d think twice about taking it.

    And lastly, I couldn’t disagree more with the BMI comment. I’m lucky that I have never needed to watch what I eat. I look at food as pure joy. I think dieters (people with higher BMI’s) tend to do battle with food and look at it as more of a chore and a nuisance. They would want to take a pill and leave all their food issues behind.

  10. Ah, I would take that pill in a hot second. Food already gives me very little enjoyment, and to not have the chore of sourcing it anymore would be a blessing. There are few things I hate more than the grocery store.

    Many years ago my father did some liquid diet through his Dr. and he loved the simplicity of the regimen and not having to commit time to food. By the end, though, he was very tired of the flavors available.

  11. No Way. Food, its consumption, creating it, its all a sensual pleasaure that I would not want to give up. For me that would be like giving up looking at beautiful things or listening to awesome music and sounds. No way. The cost, the time, the poop.. its all part of the deal..

  12. No pill. And not for the “OMG I LURVES FOOD” reason either. My activity level varies a lot from month-to-month, or even year to year. When my activity level is up, I eat more. When it is down I eat less. That way I can enjoy a relatively constant body shape, and don’t have to get new clothes all the time.

    With that pill, if I were to increase my activity level by say, training and completing Paris-Brest-Paris, I would probably be down a few pants sizes from a “recovery period” assuming a constant 3-4000 calories a day. If I wasn’t getting a smaller amount, then the chore of eating during training would be another reason not to train. Booo. No pill for me.

  13. No pill for me. First, I live below my means and I can’t think of anything I could buy with the money saved that could give me much enjoyment. I enjoy eating and preparing food. I pretty sure whatever I filled the time, that I currently spend eating, with would not give me as much enjoyment as eating does.

    From the answers of people who said yes, it’s sound like for most of them it was more a matter of not getting much enjoyment out of food as opposed to having a substitute activity that they get a huge amount of enjoyment out of. They feel there are not enough hours in the day to do everything they want/need to do, so anything they can eliminate that isn’t highly enjoyable will reduce some of the stress from their lives.

  14. There used to be a commercial for some brand of energy bar, in which there was a lean woman who, interrupted during her daily run, smilingly confessed, “Food is just fuel to me,” which explained her fondness for eating the stick of high-protein particle board on offer.

    I always responded to that commercial the way I respond to horror films.

    One of my great joys when travelling is discovering local foods and trying the cuisine. One of my great joys at home in NYC is discovering new and interesting places to eat.

    It is simply unimaginable to me to give up the pleasure of great food willingly. I’d as soon give up sex. Or breathing.

  15. This makes me wonder if, way back in times of yore, we used to do something else, like put rocks in our belly buttons, and since we don’t do it anymore, we don’t miss it. Would stopping eating have the same effect?

  16. Don’t give the government any ideas… It would soon be mandatory for soldiers. It would be offered instead of help buying actual food to the poor. Countries facing famine would be sent truckloads. Add this to the dieters and the food unmotivated and we are facing a slippery slope. Children of parents on the pill would by default have to go on the pill. Perhaps we also would need a major religion saying the pill is the body of but if this pill is an option, it will likely eventually become the ONLY option.

  17. This sounds exactly analogous to chemical castration. And since most of us have sex far less often than we eat, but most of us would gasp in horror at the notion of negating our sexual selves in this way, why is this even attractive to anyone?

  18. I’d probably think about it for a bit, but no, I wouldn’t take it, despite the time and money I could save. I love preparing and eating food, and a meal, when enjoyed with the right people, is also about a lot more than “just” the food. I think good food is one of those great elemental pleasures and I’d like more of those, not fewer.

    What I _would_ like is something filling and properly-balanced I could store for weeks or months and just eat without having to think about it when I’m hungry and really don’t feel like cooking for one reason or another. Human Chow, if you will.

  19. unlike the normal reasons for taking/not taking the pill(various social, cultural, pleasure and time aspects), I would have to decline it for the line of logic that the pill sets a set number of calories every day. this would require me to do something I almost never do currently, exercise.

    other wise I would have no way of burning of the calories. To add to that, the time spent exercising comes in to replace the time I would have spent eating. Then comes in the various costs of exercise machines, because sit-ups and crunches would get to routine. After that, all the calories that were burned would have to be expelled somehow, and other than a gaseous form that still breaks one of the previous laws.

    there are just too many negatives for this pill, and I wouldn’t fall for it.

    ITS A TRAP!.

  20. Never, nope, uh-uh. I love to cook and would hate to have the pleasure that I get and that I can provide for other people taken away. The act would no longer be pleasurable if I didn’t crave or enjoy the things I created. On the other hand, I know that my boyfriend would disagree. He can enjoy a well-prepared meal, but he eats to survive, nothing more. If I make something great, he appreciates it, but he would be just as happy with mac ‘n’ cheese.

  21. no way. I love food. Y’all take the pill… more food left for meeeeee!

    Shoot, just the thought of this conversation made me hungry. Must go find pasta now. Kthxbye.

  22. Food, in the form of mother’s (ideally) milk is our first pleasure and most basic need. One of the ways you gain trust with a pet or any animal is by feeding it. Eating is our most basic function and I really think that if we lost everything connected with it, after a while we’d become depressed and uninterested in life.

    I’d hate not to have the pleasure of looking forward to eating foods in season or to appreciate the care that a friend goes to in cooking for me. As for saved time – eating is not a waste of time. Eat better and you’ll enjoy it more. How about a castration pill so that you’d not ever miss sex as well, and an anti-appreciation pill so that you don’t need to waste all that time looking at art? We could turn into machines if we worked at it a bit, and we’d get so much more done.

  23. You need only swallow one pill a week, and you would feel no need of anything to drink.

    “Why are you selling those?” asked the little prince.

    “Because they save a tremendous amount of time,” said the merchant. “Computations have been made by experts. With these pills, you save fifty-three minutes in every week.”

    “And what do I do with those fifty-three minutes?”

    “Anything you like . . .”

    “As for me,” said the little prince to himself, “if I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water.”

  24. And lose the ability to enjoy beer? Never!

    All you Pillys (as we’ll call those of you who take this abomination) will be driving down food prices for the rest of us. However, I can’t see much in the way of a high-end food trade making a go of it business-wise for long after the pill hits the streets so we’ll only be able to buy cheap but low-quality foods.

    Of course, as someone pointed, most people seem to have already taken this pill. How else can the popularity of McDonald’s and Coors light be explained??

    No pill for me.

  25. You are cutting out one of your few senses, one of the few ways you can interact and experience the world so you can what? save some money? No way!

  26. omg, yes. eating is such an annoying chore. i’m someone who forgets to eat (yes low bmi) & although i love candy & greasy things, i love not cooking & not eating. it just isn’t as important to me as some people. was my dinner delicious? yes. am i going to orgasm over it? no.

    PS: Eric Berlin, I’m sorry you had so much trouble when you were younger, i realized early on that by organizing & leading the socializing I could steer others away from the bar scene.

  27. I’d take it. I’m a terribly picky eater, and have lately lost my taste for some of those few things i DID like. food for me is a tedious challenge – what i like is bad for me, everything else is unpleasant texturally or taste-wise. I’d be pretty happy to take a pill for sustenance. i’d miss out on diet coke, but then – i’m sure that delightful burning sensation as diet coke meets the back of my throat would still happen. so – no real loss.

  28. I would purchase one these pills to keep in my bomb shelter. That way there’s more room for guns, ammo and gasoline, and I don’t end up eating dog food out of the can like Mad Max

  29. I would like 3. One for each of my kids who apparently three meals a day. It’s exhausting. Perhaps they could wear off my the time they reach adulthood so they can make their own decision?

  30. Good lord no.
    If you really want to add back those few hours a day you spend eating, cooking, food-shopping… there are proven ways to do it. You could survive on simple nutritional supplements that require no cooking or clean up. It would still cost money… but imagining that this pill would be free is silly. Pharma would price it at about the same cost you spend on food each month. Just because they could.

    Years ago a researcher found that by sleeping 15 minutes every 2 hours, he could satisfy all his need for sleep while cutting his total amount of sleep time in half. Supposedly this technique was pioneered by some Leonardo Da Vinci type. He found that he was totally bored with all the extra time he had. He was no Leonardo Da Vinci! So he gave it up, preferring to live a more “natural” lifestyle. I’m sure many of you (particularly the parents) really would benefit from all the “extra time” in your life. But most of us would fill it up with reading blogs, or doing something else ultimately less fulfilling than preparing and eating a good meal.

  31. It’s cute that you think anyone would have a choice whether or not to take such a pill. To add a little to what commenter “elias” said, the spiral toward a world where everyone has taken the pill would be pushed along extremely quickly, as government and private programs that provide food (food stamps, food pantries, prisons, school lunches, etc.) would instantaneously offer the pill and either eliminate or reduce the quality/availability of food choices so as to make the pill essentially mandatory. It’s likely that private employers, sensing an opportunity to cut costs, would endorse the pill wholeheartedly and reduce compensation across the board by about 10% (the amount of their salaries that most Americans spend on food), again making the pill a non-choice for many. In addition, taxpayers would probably demand that the government stop subsidizing unnecessary food production, and the phasing out of farm subsidies and consequent rise in cost of food would seal the deal.

    Everyone who said “no,” please change your answer to “yes, I would be forced to.”

    FORTUNATELY for our freedom to speculate, this pill has already been developed, and the guy who invented it is in a padded cell next to the guy who invented the car that runs on seawater.

  32. It took about a millisecond for me to realise that I would not take the pill.
    One reason is obviously the enjoyment of food but there are also have a couple of philosophical reasons for this rejection.

    Firstly, we were given five senses with which to experience the world around – sensations that can be both agreeable and disagreeable. Just five, precious few when you think about it. It seems a little ungrateful and churlish to neuter one of these senses in the name of mere convenience. A bit like ripping up a time-consuming garden in order to lay an ugly grey concrete patio which needs no tending.

    Secondly, so many technological devices are invented to save us the labour of everyday tasks. But hidden inside these very tasks is the rich texture of life itself and if we keep on eliminating them we will end up like the humanoids in the movie Wall-E. Eating is certainly a hassle, as is walking, having children and getting to know people. Not surprisingly Kurt Vonnegut puts it so much better than I ever could:

    http://www.designfax.net/archives/0899/899trl_3.asp

  33. There’s a problem with the mechanics here that some commenters (e.g. scott) have mentioned. The “fixed quantity” clause sets up logical problems related to changes in caloric needs due to activity level or certain conditions (pregnancy, aging, loss of mobility from accident or disease, etc).

    For instance. Say you take your pill with its 2000 calorie/day dose. But you use your extra time not spent shopping/cooking to train for a marathon, sending yourself into calorie deficit pretty quickly. Apparently you can offset that deficit with food (because you can still eat), although there is no mechanism for alerting you to the calorie deficit, because the pill has abolished hunger. You could exercise yourself to death, conceivably. Unless the user can feel weakness from lack of caloric energy. Or loses so much weight that it’s apparent that food is required to offset the deficit. The fixed-calorie clause thus means either a post-pill cessation of ALL non-metabolic activity or an automatic descent into calorie deficit that must be offset with food in order to maintain health, which means you’ve still got to eat but it’s no longer fun (as scott commented, “it’s a trap!”).

    Similarly, it’s apparently not quite right to say that “your weight would depend entirely on your activity level.” That’s focused on dieters. It seems from the premise that you could engage in only normal daily activities and gain no weight, or you could conceivably have an eating disorder that causes you to binge without hunger or physical satisfaction, even post-pill, which would result in weight gain. In fact, any eating — even your six months — would result in weight gain, since you’re going above the ideal metabolic calorie dose the pill delivers.

    I think the thought exercise allows a cleaner decision if you tweak your answer to commenter brittney to say “It produces the optimal quality of calories for your height / sex / body type, and adjusts to your changing activity levels and metabolic needs.” And remove the part about weight being dependent on activity level. Such a change may also accidentally remove the ability of the user to gain weight through eating, but I think that too makes more sense if the question is strictly “would you eat if you didn’t have to.”

    PS I hate you for hijacking my brain.

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