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Researchers Are Developing A Pill That Lets You Eat Anything Without Weight Gain
By Mikelle Leow, 07 Dec 2018
Image via Shutterstock
If you’re one of the many who have thought to themselves, “Gee, if only I could eat as much as I wanted without gaining weight,” here’s good news: your dream could soon become a reality.
A team of researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia believe they have figured out how people can scarf down food without exercise, and still not put on the pounds.
As it seems, deactivating a single gene called RCAN1 lets you consume high-fat foods for extended periods of time without spiking your calorie intake.
The scientists disabled the gene in mice—which have 97.5-percent the DNA of humans—and discovered that the creatures’ calorie counts did not go up, which means the same mechanism might apply for people.
The researchers, led by Professor Damien Keating, deduce that developing a pill that cancels out the RCAN1 gene could combat obesity and help promote weight loss.
The study was published in science journal EMBO Reports last month by researchers from Flinders University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, detailing that the restriction of RCAN1 in mice turned white fat—the kind that’s stored in the body—into brown fat—the type that is converted into heat and burns calories.
It might sound too good to be true, but it turns out that ingesting a new drug that stimulates this process might be better for your body in the long term.
“Removing RCAN1 had two major effects,” Keating explains. “It reduced the storage of fat in dangerous areas around the belly… And then in muscle it actually [caused] muscles to burn more calories at rest…”
“We looked at a variety of different diets with various time spans from eight weeks up to six months, and in every case we saw health improvements in the absence of the RCAN1 gene. Mice on a high-fat diet that lacked this gene gained no weight.”
The fat-storing gene is also not as essential as it used to be, the researchers describe. In the past, food and calories weren’t as accessible. Now, there’s “caloric abundance,” which makes it more likely for fat to be stored in the body, creating health problems like obesity.
“The ideal would be to take some sort of pill that didn’t require you to watch your diet, that didn’t require you to exercise,” Keating says. “Now, that might seem like a pipe dream, but the findings that we have out of this mouse study at least indicate a novel pathway that we might be able to target.”
The National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia has now funded the development of this study, so in time, you might no longer be what you eat. Pizza, burgers, and ice cream, it is almost time to meet your match.
[via VICE, cover image via Shutterstock]
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