Scientists Say They've Discovered a Drug That Could Prevent Weight Gain

No, this isn't science-fiction, friends.

woman eating a bacon cheeseburger ways we're healthier

By now, it should be pretty obvious that there's no magic pill that will make you lose weight (and those fat-jiggling machines won't do anything for you either). For better or worse, shedding pounds takes hard work in the form of diet and exercise. But preventing weight gain? Well, oddly enough, that may be a different story.

In a study involving mice, published in Science, Yale researchers found that certain glaucoma drugs prevented fat from being absorbed by the gut by blocking the production of a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). The researchers administered the drug to half of the mice in an eight-week trial while feeding them a diet high in fat. Those who took the drug didn't gain in weight, excreting all of their excess fat as waste rather than storing it in their bodies, whereas those who didn't doubled in weight.

While the study was done on mice, it could have significant implications for humans, since the reason mice are often used in lab testing is the fact that their genetic, biological, and behavioral characteristics closely resemble those of humans. Mice have shown some similarity to the physiology of the human digestive system, which means that many (though not all) study results on these little fellas are translatable to humans.

"Although the authors don't state this, the implication is that if this did work in humans then you take a pill just before a meal and it closes the gut to lipid uptake," Alan Mackie, a professor at the School of Food Science at Leeds University, who was not involved in the study, told Wired U.K.

Of course, more research needs to be done before we know whether or not you can actually pop a pill and eat a juicy hamburger without worrying about your waistline. Until then, you're better off sticking to tried-and-tested weight-loss techniques, like maintaining a regular workout and a healthy diet. After all, we don't lose weight just to look good—we also do it so we can boost our physical wellbeing and live longer. And for more on how your body processes fat, This Is Where Fat Goes When You Lose Weight.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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