A slimming pill, made by Gelesis, could prove to be a lifeline for people who want to lose weight but can't fight the urge to eat more.
Taken 20 minutes before a meal, the breakthrough capsule expands in the stomach by absorbing water to make the individual feel too full to eat any more.
The pill, made from cellulose and citric acid, works like a gastric balloon and is effective in people who are simply overweight or on the lower scale of obesity, according to report on the Daily Mail website.
In a study, 223 people were asked to consume three of the pills before lunch and dinner - while on a moderate diet. Compared to 200 other people, who were consuming sugar pills, they were found to be twice as likely to lose 5 per cent or more of their body weight.
According to the report, the capsule worked for 59 per cent of people, who lost 22lbs of weight and dropped two dress sizes on average from their waist circumference.
The study, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, found few side effects from the slimming pills beyond mild gastrointestinal problems like bloating and abdominal pain.
Jason Halford, of the University of Liverpool, who was not involved in the study, said: ‘This is a breakthrough for people who eat too much at a meal or find themselves going back for seconds. This capsule will make them feel full more quickly, so that they eat less. We didn’t previously have a study showing that this could work, although it won’t be effective in stopping people snacking between meals.’
The slimming pills, called Plenity, are already available on prescription in the US and could be available over the counter in chemists by next year.