It is best known among the sweet tooth for making the Milkybar. But Nestlé is now helping develop an ‘expanding’ weight-loss pill – leading to accusations that it is trying to have and eat its cake.
The Swiss multinational, which also makes KitKat and Yorkie bars, has partnered with a small company that invented the pill.
It contains no medicine, but is a capsule that breaks open after being swallowed to release a tightly packed, triangular-shaped pouch.
This quickly unfolds and “inflates” in the stomach, filling with fluid and turning into a palm-sized jelly-like object, giving the sensation of fullness.
In a 12-week pilot, seven out of ten testers dropped out.
Swiss multinational Nestle has teamed up with Israeli company Epitomee to produce the capsule, which contains a triangular pouch that unfolds after swallowing and ‘inflates’ in the stomach to provide a feeling of fullness
The triangular sac inside the capsule fills with liquid and turns into a palm-sized jelly-like object, giving the sensation of fullness.
Most of those 70 percent lost a “clinically meaningful” amount of weight—about one-twelfth of their total mass—while many also saw their blood pressure and blood sugar drop to healthier levels.
A larger six-month trial, with hundreds of participants, is about to start in the US and results are expected by the end of the year.
The pill is the brainchild of the Israeli company Epitomee. Nestlé Health Science – the research arm of the conglomerate – says it has “exclusive rights to commercialize the capsule worldwide.”
Last night, Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said, “Technology seems to have come a long way since the nauseous days of gastric balloons, but the devil is in the details.
“Wait for the US trial results to come in before deciding if swallowing is for you.”
In 2019, Nestlé and Cadbury were criticized for adding an average of more than 10 percent more sugar to their chocolate bars since 1992.
Cost is one reason: sugar is much cheaper than cocoa, which has risen in price over the years. But it is also much less nutritious.
In 2019, Nestlé and Cadbury were criticized for adding an average of more than 10 percent more sugar to their chocolate bars since 1992
Fry said, “Nestlé is constantly trying to prove it’s not all bad.
“It will never give up on the millions who love their chocolate, so a little gamble on capsules by Nestlé Health Science is probably good public relations – and the gamble could well pay off.”
Safi Landskroner, an executive at Epitomee, said the capsule provided a subtle feeling of fullness as it pressed gently against a stomach lining.
She said, “There’s no discomfort, just a feeling of fullness that prevents people from wanting to overeat.
That’s the beauty of the device. It creates enough pressure to do its job without you knowing it.’
Patients take two pills a day, one hour before lunch and the other one hour before dinner.
It expands within minutes and remains in the stomach for several hours before moving naturally to the intestines where it quickly breaks down.
The idea is that it reduces the desire to overeat at mealtime or to snack afterward.
Ms Landskroner stressed that it is ‘safe to use’ as it is made from a digestible polymer used to coat pills, capsules and M&M candies (made by Mars, not Nestlé).
She said the company had “very good results” in the first trial, which involved 52 overweight or obese volunteers.
Epitomee has a European ‘CE’ mark, which is a legal requirement for the sale of medical devices across Europe.
But it’s likely that the company and Nestlé will wait for the results of the larger trial before launching the pill.
Dr. Yu Cheng, Global Head of Metabolic Health at Nestlé Health Science, said the pill would be “an effective and convenient solution for people struggling with their weight.”