A hormone injection that imitates the gastric band has been hailed as the "most exciting" treatment for obesity "yet".
Trials being conducted by scientists at Imperial College London reportedly found that patients ate 30% less food after being given a monthly jab and some were able to come off diabetes medication.
The injections and patches deliver satiety hormones to the patient, the chemical signals released by the gut to control digestion and hunger cravings in the brain, also making them prefer less fatty and sugary foods.
The effects of the satiety hormones made people "feel less hungry and stop eating earlier,” Professor Tricia Tan, a consultant in diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic medicine at Imperial, who formulated the hormones in the study, explained.
“The sensation is like after you have eaten a big meal and you feel really full.
"What is even more exciting is that we are able to normalise blood sugar levels and they [users] can come off diabetes medications.”
Unlike surgery, the levels of the hormones administered can be controlled, so they could be used on the obese, but people who want to lose weight as well, Professor Sir Steve Bloom, the lead researcher and head of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism at Imperial said.
He added that he hoped that within five years a monthly injection could be as effective as bariatric surgery.
"It is going to be the most exciting agent for improving health that has yet been discovered," he told The Daily Telegraph.
He continued: "Obesity has become a tremendous burden on our society.
"It increases your risk of cancer. Your chances of heart disease and stroke increase with obesity.
"If you are arthritic, it is worse.
"Almost everything is worse.
“We are living longer and longer but that process has come to a halt because we are killing ourselves with obesity.
"It’s a very serious problem yet just telling people to eat less and to exercise more doesn’t work.”
The team are due to publish their research in a medical journal shortly, the paper reported.
The trial involved 20 patients who took three hormones through a patch and a pump for 28 days and saw weight losses of between 4lb (2kg) and 1st 5lbs (8kg), almost as high as from surgery.
In the UK, around 58% of women and 68% of men are classed as overweight or obese, raising their risks of cancer, heart disease, strokes and other weight-related illness.