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Have you ever gorged yourself on too much food and then groaned about how you wished you hadn't eaten so much? Well, in the future, you may be able to be less full in just minutes. How? By pumping out some of that extra food taking up space in your stomach. From the inventor of the are-you-really-too-lazy-to-walk Segway, Dean Kamen, comes the latest weight-loss device, the AspireAssist. Kamen, three physicians and their cohorts at Aspire Bariatrics have applied for a U.S. patent on the system, which is already available in parts of Europe. All you have to do is get a valve surgically implanted into the abdominal wall, and then after you eat or drink, attach a pump to your port and empty out some of your stomach contents before it digests! (Giving you some more room to gorge some more).
According to Aspire Bariatrics, the pump promotes weight loss by removing "about a third of the calories consumed" so you end up digesting fewer calories. (Aspire bills the system as an alternative to gastric bypass). With a combination of counseling and coaching, patients in the U.S. clinical trials lost an average of 49 percent of their excess weight. (You can see how the pump works in the company's promotional video, here. Warning: the contents of the video may cause you to lose the contents of your stomach, as it displays someone draining his stomach contents into a toilet.) But it's not… easy.
Twenty minutes after each large meal, food needs to be drained before it continues through the digestive tract. This poses a few questions: Say you're on a date; do you excuse yourself from the table exactly 20 minutes after you've eaten so you can pump, which takes five to 10 minutes? (That's a long bathroom break!) If the date goes well and things get steamy, how do you explain a nozzle the size of a poker chip coming out of your tummy? (Or do you just hope he doesn't notice?) Or should AspireAssisters proudly show off their pump with pride? Really own it and invite friends to partake in the draining process! "See, that's the pastrami on rye I just ate. Oh and there are the fries I stole off your plate! Guess I should've chewed those a bit longer!"
Or is it better to stop eating before the point where you feel so full that you need to flush yourself out? What about trying to adopt healthier eating and exercise habits if you want to lose weight? Making those changes may be hard, but it's easier to explain why you're having a salad and an appetizer for dinner than what the heck you're doing with a food-removal pump attached to your gut.