Health

New Weight-Loss Shot Could Be as Effective as Lap-Band Surgery, Experts Say

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Could this be the miracle every dieter has been waiting for? As reported in The Daily Telegraph, scientists from England are in the process of testing an injection that targets hormones responsible for an overactive appetite. This therapy — which the lead researcher has dubbed “the most exciting agent” for boosting health and combating obesity — is said to mimic the effects of laparoscopic gastric banding surgery (also known as lap-band surgery, where a band is wrapped around the top part of the stomach in order to decrease the amount of food necessary to feel satisfied).

The shot is still in the initial trial stages, yet investigators have announced that the 20 study patients — who were given a cocktail of three hormones through a pump and a patch — consumed 30 percent less food and dropped between four to five pounds over the course of a 28-day period.

Years ago, the medical community believed that lap-band surgery was only effective because it shrunk the stomach, but it was later discovered that patients also experienced elevated levels of satiety gut hormones — chemicals that suppress hunger and signal a feeling of being full. And this monthly injection is meant to produce the same outcome.

“While wearing the pump, you feel less hungry and you stop eating earlier,” said professor Tricia Tan, a consultant in diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolic medicine at Imperial College London and co-author of the study. “The sensation is like after you have eaten a big meal and you feel really full. What is even more exciting is that we were able to normalize blood sugar levels and they [the volunteers] can come off diabetes medication.”

Professor Sir Steve Bloom, lead study author, told the publication that he and his colleagues “feel reasonably confident that this will be a safe medication.”

“Any intervention that successfully gets people to reduce their caloric intake is most likely to be successful — at least in the short-term,” says Ian K. Smith, MD, author of The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation (Amazon, $15.59). “However, more studies will need to be done to figure out not only if this treatment has side effects, but whether these early results will stand up over time.”

And while this injection is designed to crush cravings and limit calorie consumption, keep in mind that physiological health is not just about the number on the scale — especially if someone is losing weight simply by eating smaller portions of the “bad” stuff, like foods high in sugar and saturated fats, such as fried foods and processed foods.

“Appetite-suppressant efforts are nothing new,” adds Dr. Smith. “Regardless of how effective they might appear to be, adopting healthy eating habits and regular exercise will always be the bedrock for long-term healthy weight attainment and maintenance.”

This post was written by Amy Capetta. 

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