SCIENTISTS have created an exercise pill that tricks cells into thinking they are undergoing serious exertion and so helps the body burn extra fat.
The drug hints at radical new potential treatments for obesity where fat people would be able to use drugs to slim down rather than dieting or exercising.
The drug, a synthetic form of fat, is purely experimental and has so far only been tested on animals. It appears to work by flicking a master switch within cells that regulates the laying down or burning of fat.
Dr Ronald Evans, the researcher who created the drug, will tell scientists at the Experimental Biology conference in Washington DC this weekend that such drugs could lead to new treatments for human metabolic syndrome.
Sometimes called syndrome X, this consists of obesity and its consequences such as high blood pressure, elevated levels of fat in the blood, heart disease, diabetes and resistance to insulin.
It comes as obesity levels in Britain reach unprecedented levels with about two-thirds of adults classed as overweight and a fifth as obese. More than 10% of the National Health Service’s hospital budget is spent on treating diabetes.