California – Obalon revealed a new product that could help people that are fighting obesity. The pill contains a little balloon that is introduced into a person’s stomach and then inflated. According to Dr. Shelby Sullivan, assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, this makes people feel satiated sooner when they eat. It could prove useful in the fight against obesity, and it is already available in Europe. However, the Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) has not approved it in the United States yet.

Dr. Sullivan is the lead author of a study that wanted to proof the effectiveness of the “balloon pill.” 387 people with obesity treated in different medical centers from all over the United States participated in the study. The researchers separated them into 2 groups, one that would receive the pill and the other that would get a placebo. The participants took 3 pills every three weeks, and they all received life-style coaching for six months.

Obalon Little Balloon
According to the study, people who got the balloon pill lost 6.8% of their total body weight. Credit:

The results

People who got the balloon pill lost 6.8% of their total body weight, and the placebo group lost 3.5%. Additionally, blood pressure and cholesterol levels improved in people with the device. In the testing group, 65% of the participants lost at least 5% of their total body weight, but in the control group, only 32% of them lost weight. However, not everything is good news. 90% of the whole group presented side effects, such as cramps, nausea and vomiting.

As every medical solution, Obelon’s balloon pill will only be effective if customers can afford it. In this regard, the company has given no information. We do not know the product’s launching cost, or if medical insurance will cover it. But there is more Obelon is not telling us. According to the research team, the pill is still being tested, and they do not know if there are any other side effects.

The other side of the coin

But how effective would it be? Well, the idea of the device is to make people feel full or satiated. However, scientists don’t really know much about hunger and the satiation power of some foods. Of course, there is a lot of studies that have tried to answer this question, and even though there is nothing definite, scientists now know that protein and carbohydrates make the body feel full for longer periods of time while fruit and vegetables kill hunger quicker. They also say the worst group of food at satiating hunger is bakery and sweets.

The problem is there are many other aspects that affect appetite. Experts say that the mood, social status, family history and even the education level play a part in how much a person eats for serving. In addition, the World Health Organization has said that overweight, especially in children, is not caused by overeating. The organization states that sedentary lifestyles are the number one cause of obesity in the United States which is only worsened by a bad diet. People might feel full sooner when they are using the balloon, but that is not going to make them want to exercise, or eat healthier.

Source: US News