Lifewatch: Obesity, Part 3

WILMINGTON -- There is a proven way to lose weight, but it takes a lot of work.

For the morbidly obese, it can take a very long time to drop enough pounds to be healthy.

One day, weight loss will go beyond the low carb diets and bariatric surgery.

Sabrina Cleveland loses weight, but can't seem to keep it off.  A study done by the American Consumer Opinion found more than 70% of Americans attempted some type of diet in 2007: 24% a low-calorie diet; 22% low-fat; and 19% low-carb.

Less than 10% of all of those diets were successful at keeping the weight off.  That is why Sabrina turned to gastric bypass.  In one year she lost 170 pounds.

But, gastric bypass has its downside.  A meal after surgery consists of just liquids or a few tablespoons of tuna.  If a person eats too much, they get sick.

Now, doctors are taking a new, less invasive approach with fewer side effects: the VBLOC to block hunger signals.

The neuro-regulator is implanted under the skin.  Leads are threaded to the esophagus where it meets the stomach and wraps around two vegal nerves.  Electrical impulses are sent every five to ten seconds, blocking the message from the brain to the stomach.

The VBLOC is still in trials, but compared to gastric bypass, it is less invasive, doesn't alter your anatomy, is reversible, and is an out-patient procedure with a three to four day recovery period.

A fat pill is another way to fight fat.  Researchers at the University of Texas are working to retrain fat cells to burn, not store fat.

When fat cells get too big, the fat leaks into your muscles.  Researchers have discovered a protein that tells the fat cell to burn its stored fat.

By understanding this process, researchers can now work on creating a pill to deliver the protein to the cells.

From popping a pill, shocking your system, and blocking fat, these are three fat fighters of the future that may help cure the obesity epidemic.

But for now, nothing works as well as cutting calories and working out.

Reported by Kristy Ondo