A weight loss device uses magnets to lock the jaw shut, restricting users to a liquid only diet. Researchers say it’s an ‘attractive alternative to surgical procedures.’

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  • A new weight loss device is designed to restrict users to a liquid diet.
  • It uses magnets to lock the jaw and keep it from opening more than 2 millimeters.
  • Critics compared the device to a horror movie and said it promotes fatphobia.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A group of researchers from New Zealand and the UK have developed a controversial weight loss device that prevents users from eating solid food.

Dubbed the Dentalslim Diet Control, the device uses magnets to restrict the jaw from opening by more than 2 millimeters, while still allowing users to breath normally. It includes an emergency release mechanism in case of choking or a panic attack.

-University of Otago (@otago) June 28, 2021

It’s designed to make sure patients stick to a liquid diet, according to lead researcher Paul Brunton of the University of Otago.

“The main barrier for people for successful weight loss is compliance and this helps them establish new habits,” Brunton said in a press release.

The device was tested on seven healthy volunteers with obesity who followed a liquid diet of 1,200 calories a day. They lost an average of 6kg in the two week study, published June 25 in the British Dental Journal.

The participants reported they were satisfied with the results and motivated to continue. They also had trouble speaking, felt uncomfortable, tense, and embarrassed, and generally felt their quality of life was worse, the researchers wrote.

The announcement of the device generated immediate backlash on Twitter, with critics comparing it to a torture instrument from the “Saw” horror movie franchise.

-Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) June 28, 2021

Commentators said the concept pathologizes and punishes people in larger bodies.

-Clarkisha Kent (@IWriteAllDay_) June 28, 2021

Previously, doctors have tried to treat obesity by using orthodontic wires to hold the jaw partially closed. Research suggests patients did lose weight, but regained it when the wires were removed. The procedure also had a risk of causing choking and gum disease.