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Calling All Meatbeards
June 8, 2007 6:28 AM   Subscribe

Scientists are testing a new diet pill that expands to the size of a tennis ball in your stomach. When taken with two glasses of water, the slow-growing 'gelatinous blob' gives one the feeling of having eaten a plate of food. Although it's no replacement for diet and exercise, it could help some people control their urges.
posted by chuckdarwin (66 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
In other news: Many Americans Too Fat To Commit Suicide
posted by wfrgms at 6:32 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


So basically they want dieters to swallow a couple of these.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:34 AM on June 8, 2007


Ugggh. Just looking at that photo's already making the rest of my bagel seem less palatable. Hey, it works!
posted by Tehanu at 6:35 AM on June 8, 2007


Can we have a non-print version of the link, please, eds?

And I think this gel would be fine with enough chilli sauce. Perhaps it could be cooked in olestra.
posted by imperium at 6:38 AM on June 8, 2007


This reminds me of the Singapore solution: A paedophile has an implant the size of a cashew nut in his rectum. These devices are triggered by the sound of children's voices. It hears those voices; it expands to the size of a 42 inch colour television set. Bang! They fall to the ground shrieking and the children are safe.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:40 AM on June 8, 2007


Here it is, imperium (the other link avoided the annoying popup for some new HBO show).
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:45 AM on June 8, 2007


It wouldn't surprise me at all if this doesn't turn out to work at all in the long term . . . sort of like drinking diet soda seems to cause weight gain rather than weight loss.
posted by flug at 6:45 AM on June 8, 2007


imperium: here's the non-print link -- but it comes with an annoying pop up ad.
posted by fallenposters at 6:46 AM on June 8, 2007


nevermind then
posted by fallenposters at 6:47 AM on June 8, 2007


Jinx. Am I meant to punch you in the arm, now?
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:48 AM on June 8, 2007


I think this is brilliant and will work well. And also will revolutionize anorexia.
posted by hermitosis at 6:50 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I don't think we'll find the answer to obesity in a pill," said Sandon, who is also a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "The only long-term solution is cutting back calories and getting exercise."

It seems like a conflict of interest to ask a dietician their opinion of diet pills. Naturally they won't like the idea out of self preservation, or I could be too cynical.
posted by hexxed at 6:55 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is this not similar to the stuff in disposable diapers? And wouldn't it be extremely harmful if you neglect the water?
posted by fish tick at 6:55 AM on June 8, 2007


flug - cause is too strong of a word. We know that the two are linked, but correlation does not imply causation.
posted by muddgirl at 6:56 AM on June 8, 2007


I wonder if it would work with beer?
posted by hexxed at 6:56 AM on June 8, 2007


I'll not be eating any expanding dinsaurs. You'll have to tear my meatbeard from my cold dead jowls.
posted by ND¢ at 7:00 AM on June 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I wonder if it would work with beer?
It works with pee.
posted by fish tick at 7:06 AM on June 8, 2007


drinking diet soda seems to cause weight gain rather than weight loss.

No it doesnt. Its correlated with weight gain. Cause does not equal correlation.

Considering feeling stuffed is one of the few true detriments to overeating, this pill might help some people.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:09 AM on June 8, 2007


There's no shortage of people who say "2 big macs, 2 fries and ONE DIET SODA, please."
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:13 AM on June 8, 2007


This could lead to the messiest overdoses.
posted by MattWPBS at 7:14 AM on June 8, 2007


I was in a glucomannan study a few years back - another 'take this pill, it soaks up water and makes you feel full' substance. It was kind of gross, and I can only imagine this as even less pleasant on one's GI tract. (Also, it didn't work. Thank goodness I got randomized into the 'disgusting pill + exercise group - the other group didn't lose any significant weight.)
posted by cobaltnine at 7:14 AM on June 8, 2007


What are the odds that, after expanding, the gelatinous blob achieves consciousness and burrows out through the subject's chest? Pretty good, I'd say.

"Meatbeard"?? Sweet Jesus, the imagery... On the plus side, I learned a new word today. Thanks, MeFi!!
posted by LordSludge at 7:15 AM on June 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Could you imagine what might happen if you happened to ingest 5 - 10 pills??

People should just eat oat bran instead - it has the same effects with nutritive benefits.
posted by 2shay at 7:17 AM on June 8, 2007


I'm totally gunna chew on these like they were gum.
posted by Citizen Premier at 7:22 AM on June 8, 2007


"Doctor, what's the best weight loss program for me?"
"Depends."
posted by fish tick at 7:23 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't surprise me at all if this doesn't turn out to work at all in the long term . . . sort of like drinking diet soda seems to cause weight gain rather than weight loss.

Flug this yet another one of those anti "artificial ingredients" canards. No study has ever claimed that diet soda causes weight gain. The study you link to points out that people who drink more diet sodas gain more weight. Absent a mechanism it is a correlate and a very easily explained one - people who have a tendency to gain weight are the ones who drink diet coke. People who drink more colas are obviously people who probably consume more in general. In fact it is such an obvious explanation that I can only put down the attempts to come to other conclusions as ideologically driven.

I drink diet cola. I can't tell you how many times people have tried to tell me it is bad for my health, that aspartame causes cancer, and that it will make me gain weight because I have lost count. I do know the number of people who have provided evidence that overcomes the thousands of studies showing no harm: 0.

Why the rant? Because I am tired of the diet cola FUD.


There's no shortage of people who say "2 big macs, 2 fries and ONE DIET SODA, please."


Smugness aside that person is still consuming 310 calories less than if they ordered a large cola.
posted by srboisvert at 7:28 AM on June 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


This explains Nicole Richie's distended belly. But still, it's a look!
posted by maryh at 7:32 AM on June 8, 2007


flug - cause is too strong of a word. We know that the two are linked, but correlation does not imply causation.
posted by muddgirl at 10:56 AM on June 8 [+] [!]


No it doesnt. Its correlated with weight gain. Cause does not equal correlation...
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:09 AM on June 8 [+] [!]

Flug this yet another one of those anti "artificial ingredients" canards. No study has ever claimed that diet soda causes weight gain. The study you link to points out that people who drink more diet sodas gain more weight. Absent a mechanism it is a correlate ...
posted by srboisvert at 11:28 AM on June 8 [+] [!]


Flag this flug flog!
posted by fish tick at 7:33 AM on June 8, 2007


Smugness aside that person is still consuming 310 calories less than if they ordered a large cola.

Right. My point is that if you are consuming that many cola drinks then that suggests you are eating fast food pretty often. Saving 200-300 calories is great, but it really doesnt make a dent into th whole weight loss thing if youre putting away 3-4k calories a day. Its not a silver bullet.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:38 AM on June 8, 2007


hexxed: It seems like a conflict of interest to ask a dietician their opinion of diet pills. Naturally they won't like the idea out of self preservation, or I could be too cynical.

Dietitians are nutritionists who (generally, in the US) have at least a bachelor's degree related to nutrition/food, and who are trained and certified. Many of them work in a clinical setting. In contrast, almost anyone can call themselves a nutritionist-- that guy who works for your gym and had a few hours' nutrition training, for example.

Unless I misunderstand, this pill is just a specialized wad of fiber. I don't see how that would do anything much different than would adding a tablespoon of psyllium to your oatmeal. Might make a handy supplement for weight-reducing diets, however.
posted by zennie at 7:41 AM on June 8, 2007


Soon this will appear in a spy movie as a form of torture.

"please swallow eight of these, Mr. Bond..."

I think my daughter's diapers are made of this stuff. She can achieve beach ball proportions when she's been drinking a lot. Or else it's her secret mutant ability.
posted by mecran01 at 7:42 AM on June 8, 2007


I'm on an all diet-soda diet; I've lost 214 pounds, and my will to live!
posted by blue_beetle at 7:45 AM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Imagine if this sucker expands in your small intestine rather than in your stomach....
posted by caddis at 7:56 AM on June 8, 2007


"non-print link [..] comes with an annoying pop up ad."

The print version comes with an annoying pop up print dialog, so...

As for overdoses, I'd expect it's self limiting, since it depends on the availability of liquids to expand. Unfortunate: we demand pills which make people explode!
posted by Freaky at 7:56 AM on June 8, 2007


I loved Steve McQueen in that movie.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:03 AM on June 8, 2007


Thanks Zennie, I did have the dietician confused with a nutritionist. Apologies.
posted by hexxed at 8:03 AM on June 8, 2007


What happens if the pill eater starts getting sick? Can they vomit this thing up?
posted by antipasta_explosion at 8:06 AM on June 8, 2007


The versions of the material for use in the diet pill is biocompatible, so the body just flushes it out, the scientist say.

Flushing it out without pain and torture involved?
posted by gomichild at 8:07 AM on June 8, 2007


What happens if the pill eater starts getting sick? Can they vomit this thing up?

Ever had a cement mixer shot?
posted by hexxed at 8:07 AM on June 8, 2007


My point is that if you are consuming that many cola drinks then that suggests you are eating fast food pretty often.

You know there are these things called grocery stores, right? And one can purchase diet carbonated beverages without having to purchase fast food? Trust me, dude, I drink a lot of the sweet sweet Diet Coke, and I haven't had fast food in over a year. That is such a weird, baseless assumption, that soda drinkers buy them all at fast food joints.
posted by mckenney at 8:13 AM on June 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


What happens if you're on these pills and stop taking them? Would you start eating more again to get that full feeling, or would the smaller portions you've been eating prove to be the stronger habit?

Would this stuff actually cause some expansion, making a bigger hole to fill?

Seems like all kinds of potential for nasty feedback loops here. Hopefully those trials are thorough enough, but with one year I'm not counting on it.

The wording in the article makes me think of Enzyte commercials, only instead of double entendre it's fat jokes. "Obesity is an enormous problem" indeed.
posted by Foosnark at 8:17 AM on June 8, 2007


Good news, everyone! Now we can consume horrible gelatinous blobs, instead of the other way around!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:26 AM on June 8, 2007 [8 favorites]


The inflated pills look like silicone breast implants.
posted by dov3 at 8:31 AM on June 8, 2007


ROU wins.
posted by imperium at 8:53 AM on June 8, 2007


a) being completely full does not seem to get me to stop eating. I have to remove myself from the presence of food. So this stuff will just make me feel even more stuffed.

b)Doesn't this just stay in the stomach? 'Just flushes it out'??? Does this thing go through your small intestine as the size of a tennis ball? I'd prefer a couple of ping-pong balls to one tennis ball.
posted by MtDewd at 9:10 AM on June 8, 2007


Good news, everyone! Now we can consume horrible gelatinous blobs, instead of the other way around!

Or instead of BECOMING horrible gelatinous blobs.
posted by hermitosis at 9:13 AM on June 8, 2007


Now... if this was about fat, fundamentalist bicyclists, I'm sure it would provoke some reasonable discussion around here...
posted by jpburns at 9:13 AM on June 8, 2007


I seem to remember this being tried before, except the 'magic pills to make you feel full' were just cellulose, and you had to take several to get enough of the ingredient to do any good, and most folks ended up having to go to the bathroom a lot more to get rid of it.

Hm, wait, sounds pretty similar actually...

Think they make a bacon flavor?
posted by pupdog at 9:14 AM on June 8, 2007


pupdog, I think you're supposed to just throw it up along with the rest of whatever you eat.

This is a weight loss thread, right??
posted by hermitosis at 9:25 AM on June 8, 2007


I shudder at the idea of eliminating a "tennis-ball sized" anything from my system.
posted by boo_radley at 9:34 AM on June 8, 2007


That's easier, boo, if you serve it with topspin.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:39 AM on June 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Good news, everyone! Now we can consume horrible gelatinous blobs, instead of the other way around!

Two meals in one week!?
posted by loquacious at 9:39 AM on June 8, 2007


What happens when we add Mentos?
posted by william_boot at 9:46 AM on June 8, 2007


fish tick:
And wouldn't it be extremely harmful if you neglect the water?

That does seem like a potential hazard. And since the stuff doesn't break down during digestion, it seems like an unpleasant experience from start to finish. But so does stomach stapling, so many it's potentially a lesser of several evils for some people.
posted by Tehanu at 9:53 AM on June 8, 2007


I shudder at the idea of eliminating a "tennis-ball sized" anything from my system.
I suspect the tennis ball is to give an idea of volume; one presumes that this is jellylike goo that can easily be reshaped and indeed separated into smaller masses.
posted by fish tick at 10:04 AM on June 8, 2007


A dumptruck full these things would make for an excellent pool party.
posted by The Straightener at 10:20 AM on June 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


this sounds like the back-end olestra experience times about 20.

just... ew.
posted by RedEmma at 11:46 AM on June 8, 2007


A dumptruck full these things would make for an excellent pool party.

Or an absolutely hilarious prank.

Oh, the possibilities...
posted by spiderwire at 11:59 AM on June 8, 2007


fish tick: sez you. Check out the second image in the first link and tell me the end result isn't spherical.
posted by boo_radley at 12:02 PM on June 8, 2007


I think this approach fails to deal with the fact that eating food that's bad for you can be FUN. Filling one's stomach with unfun things does not change this fact. We need food that is fun to eat which doesn't cause one to gain weight. I think not enough research has been put into experimentation and genetic engineering potential of medically safe tapeworms.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:15 PM on June 8, 2007


boo_radley: my point is that it wouldn't necessarily have tennis ball proportions when lovingly massaged and compressed by your colon.
posted by fish tick at 12:17 PM on June 8, 2007


How is this different than, say, using Psyllium seed husks (e.g. Metamucil) to feel full? Haven't people with eating disorders been using substances like this for a long time?
posted by Thoughtcrime at 12:18 PM on June 8, 2007


...with ketchup! Mmmm!
posted by ZachsMind at 12:20 PM on June 8, 2007


Those things had better come in childproof containers. A toddler could get killed eating even a few of those.
posted by davejay at 12:29 PM on June 8, 2007


A whole new line of questioning for vets when overweight owners come in with their whining pooches - did you leave your blob pills lying around?

Seriously I foresee a lot of new ways for toddlers and animals to have a pill-induced accident.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:31 PM on June 8, 2007


Thoughtcrime, they actually developed fiber pills to accomplish this. I remember it being big news like 15 years ago.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:38 AM on June 9, 2007


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