Up yours, sensible eating and regular exercise, and hello cakes! We've just discovered the Food Watcher -- a gadget that miraculously suppresses your appetite, helping you lose weight without you having to visit the gym.
The device, which looks a bit like an MP3 player, is described as a transcutaneous electrical nerve simulator that applies electrical pulses to your ear ducts, "temporarily inhibiting vagal activity, thus reducing gastric motility and consequently the drive to eat". Or something.
The good news is one needn't sit there, electrocuting one's ears all day to see results. Just a 5-10 minute application reduces gastric motility (the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestines), though you will have to wait around an hour before a reduction in hunger levels is perceived.
We're a little sceptical, mainly because the Food Watcher's methods are based on research gained from acupuncture. Its makers claim that because sticking pins into people's earlobes causes a reduction in appetite, it transpires that electrocuting people's earlobes must have the same effect. By that rationale, we'd wager that appetite could be suppressed using a machine that automatically kicked people in the family jumble sale. That happened to us once -- couldn't eat for days.
Still, we'll keep an open mind. We plan to blag one of the £99 devices for ourselves so we can give it a go. If it's successful, we'll commission some scientists to work on the beer watcher, then the other-people's-girlfriends watcher, and finally the skiving-off-from-work watcher. Watch this space.