Did you see this news bulletin on RTE recently about this un-invasive device designed to help weight loss? This device makes it impossible to open your mouth properly to eat any solid foods? It’s been an official research study and published proving that it can help you lose weight. Weight loss device that clamps jaw shut trialled (rte.ie)
When I first read it, I thought this must be an April’s fool’s joke but it was published in June!
What frustrates me most in this article is that it suggests, all someone has to do is to stop eating or to control the amount someone eats and then weight loss will happen.
It suggests that the reason why people are overweight is that they haven’t got the discipline or willpower to control their eating and therefore have to be forced into it.
Well, I guess, you could just lock someone up in a cell with no food and you’d achieve the same.
Working as a Nutritional Therapist for the past number of years in a weight loss clinic and in my own practice, I know that losing weight is much much more complex than that. And everyone who has been on diets or weight loss programmes will know that as well.
I also find the actual research paper quite interesting and it might show how some of these “Study shows…” actually work. There were only 7 women used to do this study, and the paper goes on for ages on the dangers of obesity in general and also in connection with Covid. There is no doubt about obesity being linked to many chronic diseases. And you are at a higher risk of developing severe complications when contracting Covid when you are obese.
And of course, it is important to find ways that help people lose weight, but what this study does not talk about at all is how this device will work long term. You can’t expect people to keep this in their mouth all their lives. As it doesn’t tackle behavioural change, it is very likely that people go straight back into old habits of overeating or eating the wrong foods when the device is taken off.
And as mentioned in the study, people will find ways around it: One woman just melted chocolate and drank it to get her chocolate fix. Having only a liquid diet does not restrict calories in any way if someone wants to take on the extra calories, they’ll find ways.
One of the questions often not asked when it comes to “dieting” is: WHY do we actually tend to over-eat?
We have a hormone – Leptin – that should tell us when we are full, it’s also called the satiety hormone. It is released by our fat cells, and it seems that when we have more fat cells, the function of this hormone is also impaired. It also gets impaired with lack of sleep or stress. Because, when we were cavemen, if there was danger out there, we needed to be able to hang on to our body fat stores!
The other hormone, Ghrelin, which is the hunger signal also doesn’t work as well, so by both working the opposite way, we tend to simply want to eat more than we need and we don’t recognise anymore when we are full.
On top of that, the food industry knows exactly the combination of macronutrients that our bodies tend to crave: Sugar and fat. No real food in nature actually has both in huge quantities – but things like donuts and cheesecakes and many other processed foods actually do. They over-ride our satiety clues and hormones and we can easily over-eat on them.
And very few people can actually over-eat on broccoli!
Broccoli contains tons of valuable nutrients and phytonutrients and is high in fibre – which feeds good gut bacteria that produce energy, control weight and support our immune system. While highly processed foods can actually kill them!
Eating nothing or a liquid diet does not take into consideration any of the nutritional value that real foods actually have, value for our bodies and our gut.
Eating nothing or a liquid diet does not help with behavioural changes that are absolutely vital when trying to lose weight. Creating new habits is a huge part of any of my programmes to make weight loss something that is actually sustainable and not just something that happens while on a diet, and then the weight just goes straight back on again. I am convinced that if the participants of this study were looked at again in a couple of weeks, they most likely all would have put the weight back on again.
Eating nothing or a liquid diet also takes away the pleasure of eating. I am a firm believer that food should be enjoyable and that the act of eating should be a joy. It is part of our social interaction, just think of all those big occasions such as Christmas, Weddings, Funerals, Birthday parties – all involve eating in good company amongst friends and family.
As part of my programmes, I show my clients recipes of healthy foods that are enjoyable. A lot of people associate diets with fad recipes and boring salads, while eating real food can actually enhance the taste buds and the joy of eating.
I can’t see this device taking off anyway, and part of me is still hoping it was just an April’s fool’s day joke.
So, if you still think that all you need to do is to apply willpower and stop yourself from eating, give me a buzz or arrange a chat, I’d like to challenge this and would love to show you another way of losing weight without feeling deprived!