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More harm than good? New device allows users to empty stomach contents

Posted at 8:44 AM, Jun 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-18 08:44:32-04

A medical device recently approved by the FDA allows the user to drain portions of the stomach's contents after every meal.

Creators say the Aspire Assist is intended to aid in weight loss for patients older than 22 with a BMI of 35 to 55 -- which is considered obese. A surgically placed tube drains the stomach.

According to the FDA, clinical studies have proven successful, with patients in a one-year clinical trial shedding an average of 12 percent of their weight.

But a local dietician says the procedure may not be the best solution.

"My view is yes, a lot of time and a lot of research and a lot of good people have gone into putting this together," Dietician Tricia Sauer told 7 Eyewitness News.  "But at the same time it doesn't really address the root of the obesity epidemic. Ninety percent of our country is pre-diabetic and doesn't know it."

Sauer says the latest weight loss device acts as a band-aid – a temporary fix for a multi-faceted issue.

"People jump into extremes so quickly because they can't wait for the outcomes that come through moderation that they end up getting nowhere and then go into the medical extremes."

She says when you factor in the time, price, risk of infection, and the device's overall practicality, it may do more harm than good. "Sending the message to people that this kind of medical intervention is needed because there are people who just can't lose their weight naturally and that's not true."

Sauer says to first explore the possibility of underlying issues such as thyroid and insulin before taking any invasive approaches.

This device is currently available in Europe and the creators are in the process of debuting the device in the United States.