Once you’ve left your teenage years behind, you’ll probably find that your metabolism starts to be a lot less receptive to the junk food in your diet. The huge quantities of fattening foods that never used to do much harm will now go straight to your gut, and you’ll have to start thinking seriously about exercise and planning some healthy meals if you want to stay in shape.
While finding the time and motivation to cook healthy food and maintain a fitness regime of some sort is tough enough – the number one obstacle to overcome is cutting down on the most delicious foods available to the human race.
It’s dreadfully unfortunate that the tastiest things you can buy are often full of sugar and fat, and the healthy alternative, while good for you in the long run, is far less fun a route to take. If there was some scientific solution to avoiding this problem, that would be pretty great, right? The idea seems firmly in the realm of science fiction, but after this recent study was published, it could actually happen.
In a study titled “Long-acting MIC-1/GDF15 molecules to treat obesity: Evidence from mice to monkeys”, researchers have posited that an injection could one day be made to prevent obesity and other diet-related health conditions. And regular injections of a certain protein could change how we deal with these issues in the future.
The researchers focused on a particular protein, called growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15), which is often linked with metabolism and weight loss. Building on prior evidence from rats, monkeys, and mice, the study suggests that an updated version of this protein could act as “potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of obesity and related comorbidities” in humans.
According to the New Scientist, this is a big deal, since past attempts to make this process work have been unsuccessful. The website wrote that “[the protein broke] down too quickly in the bloodstream to work”. This new version is apparently, longer-lasting, however. It was described as having “a longer half-life and would thus be a better candidate for clinical testing”.
Weekly injections of GDF15 in obese monkeys caused the primates to eat roughly half as much as they did before, losing 10 percent of their body weight over six weeks, and making them less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
The authors of the study stated:
“We discovered that GDF15 delayed gastric emptying, changed food preference, and activated area postrema neurons, confirming a role for GDF15 in the gut-brain axis responsible for the regulation of body energy intake.”
Murielle Véniant, the Scientific Executive Director at the pharmaceutical company Amgen, confirmed to the New Scientist that “clinical trials will be needed to work out how well the treatment works in people.”
Trials in humans will have to be conducted before we can be sure of its use on a wider scale, as little is known about its possible side-effects. We’ll have to see how this all turns out. In the meantime, we’ll still have to rely on our willpower to turn down that ever-tempting Domino’s on a Friday night.