As the obesity epidemic becomes ever more widespread in the United States, new and innovative means to help people lose weight keep getting developed. The newest among them being Attiva, developed by Boston-based Gelesis, is designed to make a person feel full and consequently eat less.
This is supposed to be the alternative to bariatric surgery; a non invasive method of reducing the size or capacity of the stomach to accept food. Attiva does not reduce the size of the stomach in the way that stapling or gastric bypass surgeries do; rather it seeks to fill up the stomach in a way that offers up less space for actual food.
The new pill uses a super-absorbent polymer, which, after being swallowed along with a glass of water, swells up to more than 100 times its size. The hydrogel beads begin to soak up the water and they swell to make you feel a lot fuller than you actually are.
It is also claimed that the hydrogel helps in slowing down the absorption of fats and sugars in the small intestine as well. The manufacturers claim this is a medical device rather than a medication since it never really comes into contact with the blood stream.