Losing weight and staying fit might be on your to-do list this year, and this time you might actually do it through a rigorous routine of eating healthy and getting regular exercise. But in the future you may not have watch what you eat as much, as researchers are studying ways to prevent excess sugar from turning into fat.
Yes, that means you might be able to eat all the sugar you want one day, without worrying about having to burn fat afterward. The discovery could also have massive implications in the management and treatment of diabetes.
Researchers from the University of Montreal have discovered a new enzyme, IFL Science reports, that’s present within the body and that can regulate how your body converts sugars and fats.
Called G3PP, or Gro3P phosphatase, the enzyme can regulate the conversion of glucose (sugar) and fats into other compounds. The enzyme can also control production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the cell’s energy.
But let’s back up for a second. What happens when sugar enters your body is that the liver turns it into glycogen, which it also stores and which the body then uses whenever energy is required. However, eating more sugar than needed – often the case with many of us – will lead to glucose being converted into fat, which can lead to obesity.
Insulin is required to turn glucose into glycogen. If the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin, or if insulin isn’t effective, then glucose persists in the blood over accepted levels, leading to type 2 diabetes. The glucose in the blood leads to over generation of glycerol 3-phosphate (Gro3P) within cells. This substance helps cells form fats, and converts glucose into other compounds. Too much Gro3P, however, is toxic and can damage cells and hinder some of the chemical processes within them.
Using laboratory mice, the researchers found that increasing the activity of G3PP within the animals’ livers would lower their weight gain and ability to produce glucose from the liver. “G3PP prevents excessive formation and storage of fat, and it also lowers excessive production of glucose in the liver, a major problem in diabetes,” researcher Murthy Madiraju said in a statement.
It might not sound as exciting, but the discovery might influence the way we consume sugar in the future. However, there are no commercial products taking advantage of it just yet. So the best way to deal with sugars and fat, if you can’t stop yourself from eating some of your favorite foods, is to put that gym subscription to good use. If that doesn’t work, then there’s always this freeze-dried fecal pill experimental treatment to consider.