Fat controller: diet pill future

'Fat controller' pill will allow eating what you want - without putting on weight

A ‘fat controller’ in the gut could be the key to preventing obesity, diabetes and heart disease, research suggests.

Scientists have pinpointed an enzyme that determines whether the fat we eat is burnt off as energy or stored in the body.

The breakthrough raises the prospect of a pill being developed which targets the enzyme in people, allowing them to eat without worrying about putting on weight, and tackle the growing worldwide obesity epidemic.

Research at the University of California focused on MGAT2, an enzyme found in the intestines of mice and humans. Mice without the protein were able to eat a high-fat diet while remaining slim and healthy. The fat they absorbed was burnt off as energy, rather than stored, the journal Nature Medicine reports.

The mice in the experiment also seemed better at processing sugar, cutting their risk of diabetes, and had lower levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in their blood.

Researchers said: ‘Our studies identify MGAT2 as a key determinant of energy metabolism in response to dietary fat and suggest that the inhibition of this enzyme may prove to be a useful strategy for treating obesity and other metabolic diseases associated with excessive fat intake.’

But obesity experts say such pills are years from the market, and most people would benefit from eating less and exercising more.

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