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Is it possible to eat much and stay fit? Scientists have the answer

Australian scientists say they may have found a way to help people lose weight without cutting back on food.

A breakthrough that could pave the way for fat-burning drugs has been found which, by manipulating fat cells in mice, is able to speed up their metabolism.

Researchers found that when they took out an enzyme - angiogenesis converting enzyme (ACE) - the mice could eat the same amount as other mice but burn more calories and therefore gain less weight.

Animals without the enzyme were, on average, 20% lighter than normal mice and had between 50% and 60% less body fat, said senior researcher Michael Matthai.
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"It is very clear that they do have less body fat," he said.

The slimmer mice also appeared to have less chance of developing diabetes because they processed sugar faster than normal mice, Mr Matthai said.

The research could be used to develop drugs to help weight loss, he added.

Drugs which impair the action of ACE already exist and are mostly used to control high blood pressure.

"The drugs are out there because they are used for hypertension," he said.

"So we know their safety and their tolerability. What we don't know is whether or not they will work in humans.

"And we don't know whether it will work in all obese humans."

Mr Matthai said it could be a question of finding the right dosage of hypertension medication, or developing a new type of drug of the same class, to be used as weight-loss pills.

"This might be one way in which you can increase metabolic rate in combination with managing nutrition to limit the intake of calories," he said.

The research has yet to pinpoint why the genetic manipulation led to weight loss.

http://news.sky.com

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