Nigeria, Sept. 15 -- Recently, I got a call from an old friend. For reasons not unconnected to our different life trajectories, we had drifted apart over the years. But his purpose in calling wasn't rooted in a desire to rekindle the embers of yesteryears. No. Rather, it was an explicit inquiry into whether I could assist him in obtaining the elusive elixir of contemporary weight loss. In revealing tones, he shared that the spectre of obesity loomed heavily in his family lineage, and across the expanse of time, he had engaged in an uphill struggle to stave off weight gain, all the while deprived of access to effective measures.

Before deigning to punch in the digits and initiate our conversation, he had earlier embarked upon a preliminar...