There are thousands of costly fad diets out there and yet there isn’t a single one that can provide the ultimate solution to losing weight. And today Americans are taking even more drastic measures to dropping the baggage by undergoing dangerous and costly operations to decrease the size of their stomach.

According to an Israeli company, the key to shedding the excess baggage is simple — just eat less.

When the second helping from the summer barbecue is calling, this advice may be too hard to swallow. That’s why the Israeli startup Nobesity has created a novel solution that clamps between the teeth to encourage a person to take smaller bites from their food and slow down their chewing.

Slow down, you eat too fast

“We offer a safe way to changing eating habits,” says Amnon Engelberg, the CEO of Nobesity. The solution is “one that will appeal to those determined to change their eating habits and to the more than 200,000 Americans who have a portion of their stomach removed (bariatric surgery) in order to lose weight,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

Engelberg explains that fast eating is a major cause of obesity because it takes the digestive system about 20 minutes to transmit a feeling of “fullness” to the brain. Nobesity, he says, has developed devices that attach between the teeth to keep reminding people to take smaller bites and chew at a slower rate.

The first device is fitted between the teeth with an “applicator” by the user and attaches between teeth in both the upper and lower jaws. Invisible from the outside, and resembling the elastics used by orthodontists, Nobesity creates tension in the mouth that reminds the wearer to not open their mouths too wide, forcing them to take smaller bites and to chew their food better.

A safe alternative to costly operations

The company is targeting candidates for bariatric surgery (more than 200,000 in the US alone in 2007) and participants in weight control support groups, such as Weight Watchers. The company, which is based in Haifa, is now planning a clinical trial in Israel to validate that the device is safe to use.

The idea for Nobesity stems from the research of Dr. Erella Pines, an Israeli dentist who has developed a number of patented technologies which use the teeth as a platform for medical applications. Together with Engelberg, a business development expert, she founded the company in 2006. The company has obtained funding from the Tnufa Fund, an Office of the Chief Scientist fund that supports startups.

America’s Food and Drug Administration says obesity in the US has already reached epidemic proportions. Super-sized fast food and lack of exercise is to blame and contributes to the weight gain in the 65 percent of adult Americans who are categorized as overweight or obese.

The dangers of being too fat are well documented: It significantly increases the risk of illness of about 30 serious medical conditions and is associated with increased deaths.

Current drug therapies and invasive surgical procedures are limited, however, because of undesirable side effects: “There is a clear need for innovative and more efficacious products to treat obesity,” says the company. “Nobesity is the first company to offer a safe, non-invasive product that helps people overcome one of the underlying causes of obesity — fast eating.”

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