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When it comes to weight loss, we’d thought we’d heard it all. Swallowing tape worms. The cabbage soup diet. Stomach stapling. Turns out, those were just the beginning of the ballooning industry.

And we mean that in the most literal sense possible.

That’s because researchers believe they’ve found a whole new way to help people lose weight, and it involves — you guessed it — balloons. The Obalon Balloon, to be exact.

The Obalon Balloon comes in a nifty little capsule form, which a patient then swallows. Once in the stomach it stays in place for up to six months. So far, there are 14 centres in the United States trying out the capsule as part of a test run. Meanwhile, roughly 12,000 balloons have been sold to Europe, Mexico and the Middle East over the past year. It hasn’t been cleared for public sale in the U.S. or Canada just yet, despite the company’s San Diego roots.

Obalon Balloon

So how do these suckers work? Well once the balloon inflates in the stomach (it grows to roughly the size of your palm), it helps people feel fuller faster. Unlike bariatric surgery, which is meant for people who are 80 to 100 pounds overweight, this option is one for those who are roughly 30 to 80 pounds above their healthy weight, or with a BMI of 30-40. (Anything above 25 is considered overweight.)

Since swallowing a regular balloon is probably not a great idea, and this product won’t be available until at least the end of 2016, there are some good old fashioned, balloon-free ways to feel full too. Such as drinking a full glass of water whenever you feel hungry and before meals. Stocking up on fibre-filled fruits and veggies. And sticking to lean proteins, which help you feel fuller, longer.

Now excuse us while we go refill our water bottles.

 

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