Now a pill to control hunger


London : Scientists in Italy claim to have developed a pill that controls hunger for a few hours and may help overweight people in their battle against the bulge.

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The tiny pill, which is yet to be named, is made from a hydrogel. It is powdery when dry but turns to a jelly-like ball in the stomach when swallowed, reported the online edition of BBC News.

Made from an organic compound called cellulose, it is easily flushed out by the body and can stop hunger for a few hours. It makes dieters feel full, said scientists at Italy's National Research Council.

As part of the study, one of the researchers tried the pill at about 11 a.m. and was still feeling full at six in the evening, they said. The pill should be taken about 30 minutes to one hour before each meal. People could still eat a meal but would need only small portions. The pill passes through the digestive system within five to six hours.

The researchers have already tested it on 20 people. It is also being tested on 90 other overweight volunteers who will be monitored to see how much weight they lose and if there are any adverse effects. The results are expected in October this year.

The scientists expect the product to be launched in May 2008.