Would You Eat a $4,000 Balloon to Lose Weight?

Liv Kelleher
Photo: giphy

Photo: giphy

For better or for worse, it’s clear a lot of women would be willing do just about anything if it meant shedding some extra pounds. Between eating bee panacea like Victoria Beckham, putting butter in their coffee, chugging more tequila, and exclusively eating five pints of ice cream daily (we know—those last two don’t sound so bad), we thought we’d heard it all. That is, until now.

Harper’s Bazaar recently reported on a new weight loss “pill” that’s gaining steam among both women and men. It’s called Obalon and it contains no drugs whatsoever, but rather is made up of a deflated balloon inside a capsule. In case you’re thinking it simply inflates in your stomach and takes up space thereby requiring you to eat less, well, it’s a little more complicated than that.

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According to the magazine, the capsule is connected to a long, slim tube. Once the capsule makes its way to your stomach, doctors then use that tube to inflate the balloon with gas. The tube is then disconnected and the balloon remains inside of your stomach, where it can stay for up to three months. After that time frame, while slightly sedated, doctors go in and deflate the balloon and remove it through endoscopy.

As you’ve guessed, the idea is that the balloon makes you feel full. In fact, you can have three balloons in your stomach at once to increase satiated feelings. Obalon doesn’t promise you’ll lose a guaranteed number of pounds, but in a recent study, 110 patients using Obalon lost an average of 50 pounds, or 8% of their body weight, during a three month period while having the balloon inflated.

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The product is yet to be FDA approved in the U.S., although preliminary trials have been done and a larger clinical trial is being planned. However, since 2012, people in other countries have been swallowing the pill for some time now—but having party decorations in your gullet doesn’t come cheap. At $4,000 a pop (pun intended), there are much more economic weight-loss alternatives out there.

Head over to Harper’s Bazaar now to read the full story, and to hear about the potential side effects of Obalon.

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