Weird science: Fat capsule injections could make you thinner

This just in from Ohio State University: fat plus more fat equals thin. In other words, if you've been trying to lose weight by adding less fat to your body, you've been doing it all wrong.

Your body stores a couple different kinds of fat. There's white fat, or visceral fat, which is that fatty "fat" fat that you have to be careful of. There is also brown fat, or "good" fat, which is related to muscle and can burn fat to generate heat.

Researchers at Ohio State took a small gel-like capsule full of specially engineered brown fat cells and implanted it into an obese mouse, expecting that the cells in the capsule would start burning fat. What they didn't expect was that the cells in the capsule would act like "missionaries," converting existing white fat cells into brown fat. The result was that the obese mice in the study lost about 20 percent of belly bulge after 80 days, even while continuing to eat excessive saturated fat. There were no immune responses to the implants and no side-effects: the mice just got less fat, and stayed that way, without changing their lifestyle.

This is great news if you have an obese mouse, but only good news if you're obese yourself. These results suggest that fat capsule implants could be "a clean, safe potential therapy for obesity," but it's necessary to go through larger animal trials before trying it out on humans. My suggestion: manatees. Those things need some help.


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