Weight Loss While You Relax? Science Shows It May Be Possible

Weight loss while relaxing sounds like something of a fad — too good to be true. According to recent reports, though, it could be possible. Scientific research has shown that it could all be in the genes, and there may be a genetic switch that helps to boost the metabolism.

WebMD shared a report from the New England Journal of Medicine, which showed that researchers believe they have found this genetic switch. When turned on inside the fat cells, the metabolism speeds up so the body burns more fat. There is no need to exercise, the report continues.

This genetic switch was found in a mouse study, where test mice lost half their body weights once the genetic switch was flipped on. Researchers looked into the makeup of mouse and human cells, finding that the process could work in both. Manolis Kellis, the senior author of the study, says that the mice burned energy in the form of heat throughout the day and night. They ate the same amount, and did no extra exercise.

Maine Medical Center Research Institute director of clinical translational research Dr. Clifford Rosen went on to explain that this is something that could be “very targetable with drugs.” It is something for the weight loss industry to look into further, as obesity and problems linked to obesity are still on the rise.

The downside is that any medication would take time to produce. Human trials will take at least five years, and that would only happen if the Food and Drug Administration approved trials right away.

TIME went into more detail in the weight loss study, stating the type of fat that was looked into during the research. Scientists considered “beige fat,” which is very similar to “white fat.” “Brown fat,” on the other hand, is often found in newborns and burns quicker.

The researchers manipulated mutations in the cells, so white fat became beige fat. They also increased the amount of early fat cells that turned into beige fat rather than white fat.

There are some positives that have come out of this research, but help for humans is still some time away. Some people will also be against the idea of weight loss without exercise. It will be viewed by some as just another way for pharmaceutical companies to make more money, and runs the risk of doctors pushing a new medication towards patients rather than encouraging them to follow weight loss plans.

[Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images]