A weight loss product that restricts wearers to a liquid diet by locking their jaw shut has been described as a ‘torture device’ by critics.
The medical contraption prevents a person from eating solids by using magnets to stop their jaw from opening wider than 2mm.
The DentalSlim Diet Control was developed by teams at the University of Otago in New Zealand and scientists in Leeds, England. So far, the device has been trialled on seven obese women in Dunedin, NZ.
In a tweet, the University of Otago described it as a ‘world-first weight-loss device to help fight the global obesity epidemic.’
Results from the trial published in the British Dental Journal described how the seven women were fitted with the magnetic devices, which are attached to the upper and lower back teeth, for one week, during which time they were given a ‘commercially available liquid diet’, but could not eat any solid foods.
At the end of the trial the women had lost an average 5.1% of their body weight – a mean loss of 6.36kg.
Professor Paul Brunton, who helped develop the device, said:
The main barrier for people for successful weight loss is compliance and this helps them establish new habits, allowing them to comply with a low-calorie diet for a period of time. It really kick-starts the process.
It is a non-invasive, reversible, economical and attractive alternative to surgical procedures.
Despite Brunton’s insistence that there were ‘no adverse consequences’ to the device, the women who trialled it reported feeling uncomfortable and struggling to speak, as well as feeling that ‘life in general was less satisfying’.
Social media has thoughts about the device too, and they’re not good. ‘A world-first and world-last, I sincerely hope,’ one person posted. ‘This is a torture device and you should be embarrassed to be promoting it, let alone to be associated with it.’
Another criticised the attempt to force women into potentially harmful diets, saying, ‘You don’t need this torture device to go on a liquid diet. I did slimfast in the 90s and lost a tonne of weight quickly. I also started vomiting, taking laxatives and exercising obsessively. I put all the weight back on when I gave that up, but the damage it did is still with me.’
The device wasn’t entirely foolproof either, with one participant admitting that they had ‘cheated’ by melting down chocolate and drinking soda during the trial.
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