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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hitting the gym, day after day, with the goal of getting in shape may soon be a think of the past as researchers say they have captured the weight loss benefits of a treadmill—in a pill.
Associate Professor at Harvard and Mass General Hospital Biologist Chad Cowan and his team found a drug that can transform some of the “bad” fat into super-charged “good” fat—that simply burns itself like a day at the gym.
“When you exercise you naturally do this to some of the fat cells in your body, so we’re going to make it like you’ve done some rigorous exercise a little bit every day,” said Cowen.
Everyone has the so-called white fat and a limited amount of brown fat. The breakthrough pill tricks the white fat cells into acting like those self-burning brown ones.
“Rather than just sitting on the couch it gets up and burns off some of that energy in the form of heat,” said Cowen.
The drug has proven successful in mice but is still years away from human clinical trials. The hope is that the discovery could be the fuel needed to battle the obesity epidemic.
“It’s not that they forgot they were white fat cells, it’s just like Peter Parker who is Spiderman still remembers he is Peter Parker, it’s just now he’s also Spiderman,” Cowen explained.
But the super-power has its limits.
“I do want to emphasize that in no way would a pill like this ever replace physical activity or exercise,” Cowen said.
Which is good news for fitness buffs who have no plans of ditching the gym for a drug.
“It’s not going to replace the mental and the emotional aspect of working out that you get,” Cowen said.
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