Gel pill that helps fill the stomach could double tubby Brits’ chances of losing weight

MILLIONS of Brits could double their chances of losing weight thanks to a breakthrough pill.

The “exciting” new treatment – which contains thousands of tiny grains of gel – is taken before each meal with water.

 The new pills by Plenity are said to help fill the stomach and leave users feeling fuller
The new pills by Plenity are said to help fill the stomach and leave users feeling fuller

It quickly expands to fill a quarter of the stomach, leaving users feeling full.

In trials, slimmers using the Plenity capsules were twice as likely to shed at least five per cent of their body weight compared to dieting alone.

Six in ten responded well to the treatment, which harmlessly passes through the body. These participants lost an average of 10 per cent of their weight – around 22 lbs.

They also shed 3.5 inches from their waistlines over six months – the equivalent of two dress sizes.

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said: “Finally we may have a weight-loss pill that’s worth writing home about. It should become a treatment of choice from millions.”

Its U.S. makers said the pioneering therapy could be available in the UK as early as next year.

It will likely be sold over the counter at pharmacies and will be targeted at adults with a BMI of 25 to 35 – overweight and mildly obese. But prices have yet to be finalised.


Dr Harry Leider, Chief Medical Officer of developer Gelesis, said: “There really is an unmet need for new treatments that are effective for the majority and are really well tolerated. We are really optimistic that millions of people will benefit.”

Two in three Brits are too fat. Experts claim there are few effective treatments for adults wanting to shed a few pounds.

Dr Nathalie Farpour-Lambert, President of the European Association for the Study of Obesity, said: “This could be a huge help to millions of people. It is well tolerated, and increases satiety [feeling of fullness] so that people eat less.

“You don’t need a surgeon to do it, you just buy it in a box and swallow a pill. It seems to be easy and effective.”

The Plenity capsule is made of two naturally derived substances – vegetable fibre and citric acid. It creates a super-absorbent hydrogel, which can absorb many times its size in liquid.

People take three capsules 20 minutes before both lunch and dinner with two glasses of water. As well as discouraging over-eating, trials show users suffered no serious side-effects from the therapy.

Obesity expert Jason Halford, head of department of Psychological Sciences at Liverpool University, said: “We have a crisis – most of the adult population is either overweight or has obesity.

“This is a breakthrough for people who eat too much at a meal or find themselves going back for seconds. This will make them feel full more quickly, so that they eat less.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “This certainly sounds like an interesting development and the non-invasive nature of a pill would be attractive to many patients, and healthcare professionals.”

 The capsule contains thousands of gel balls that expand to fill a quarter of the stomach
The capsule contains thousands of gel balls that expand to fill a quarter of the stomach

How it works

  • Users swallow three capsules with water 20 minutes before meal.
  • The tiny gel balls swell to fill a quarter of the stomach, helping people feel full.
  • The gel mixes with other food.
  • The water is reabsorbed by the gut and the rest of the contents pass out in poo.
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