Losing weight: New research shows what works and what doesn't

Researchers from Belgium and the UK looked at more than 3000 apps on Apple and Android phones (Getty)
Researchers from Belgium and the UK looked at more than 3000 apps on Apple and Android phones (Getty)

Want to lose a few pounds? Try surgery or a New Zealand-made bitter plant extract, but stay away from weight-loss apps.

Researchers at the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research and University of Auckland have found a plant extract that can suppress hunger.

The plant extract, which they've called Amarasate, is incredibly bitter and works by stimulating the secretion of hormones in the stomach, pancreas and intestines involved in appetite regulation.

"We have demonstrated that activation of the 'bitter brake' mechanism by a bitter plant extract can… suppress subsequent feeding behaviour in healthy men," the authors of the study found.

Amarasate was the best out of more than 900 different extracts tested.

Their findings are to be presented at the European Obesity Summit, taking place this week in Gothenburg, Sweden.

At the same conference, researchers from the University of Gothenburg will present the results of a study looking at obesity surgery.

After looking at data covering 49,000 patients, they've found those who don't have surgery -- such as a gastric bypass -- are much more likely to die in the following few years.

Between 2000 and 2011, patients hospitalised for obesity-related causes who underwent surgery were 57 percent less likely to die than those who didn't.

The primary cause of death those who missed out predictably ended up being cardiovascular disease, while those who got surgery mostly died of unrelated causes, (e.g. accidents).

"The overall all-cause mortality is considerably lower among obese individuals who undergo bariatric surgery compared to non-surgical obese individuals, and the differences lies mainly in cardiovascular disease," the authors said.

Now for a weight-loss technique that probably doesn't work -- apps.

Losing weight: New research shows what works and what doesn't

Android weight-loss apps (Daniel Satherley/Newshub.)

Researchers from Belgium and the UK looked at more than 3000 apps on Apple and Android phones with more than 666 million downloads between them.

But something was missing from every single one.

"As far as we can see, none of the apps identified has been developed by a certified health organisation or university," the authors said.

"There are no published data on effectiveness of apps for weight management or weight-gain prevention, to date."

The researchers haven't written off apps altogether, saying they "offer a huge opportunity to provide effective weight control" if they're designed by professionals who know what they're doing.

This research is also being presented at the European Obesity Summit.

Newshub.

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