If you've ever tried to lose weight, as most of us have at one point or another, you'll know that it's not always as simple as society would have us believe. We're told repeatedly that it's a simple matter of 'calories in VS calories out.' But for those of us with existing health conditions or particularly slow metabolisms, it is not always that easy.
Modern life is making it increasingly difficult for us to lose weight; our lives are busier than ever, with so many of us hunched over computers all day, not getting the exercise our bodies need to burn off the food we consume. And the global food market hardly promotes a healthy diet by packing so many additives into their products.
With the growing number of convenience foods available, we no longer have to sew our own seeds and make our own bread from scratch. If you live in one of the more developed parts of the world, you'll know that food consumption and waste is at an all-time high, which is what's often blamed for the so-called 'obesity epidemic.'
But scientists are now proving that the mechanisms by which the body maintains its energy balance are more complex than people think. So, contrary to popular belief, it is not always a case of just doing more exercise or eating healthier food that affects our weight, as so many of us can attest to.
Diets are failing us, time and time again, because for so many of us they're just unsustainable. It's easy to fall into bad habits when it comes to food, and most of us consume more sugar and calories than we think – even if we're not overweight. Over time, this can induce Type 2 Diabetes, a potentially life-threatening condition which requires strict management.
For many of us, it's simply not our fault. We may suffer from health conditions that make it difficult to exercise, or our thyroids may not function properly, causing us to gain unnecessary weight seemingly overnight. Or perhaps you're a candidate for developing diabetes in the future due to a family history of the condition, and have to be extra careful about what you eat?
Diets do not always work, and often they can lead us to develop an unhealthy attitude to food, or restrict ourselves too harshly.
So what is the solution? With current anti-obesity medications causing substantial side effects in those who take them, and current research suggesting that these pills do not actually have much of an effect, is there a way we can medically manage our weight and prevent these dangerous health conditions?
Scientists have recently identified a protein that actually promotes fat accumulation by slowing the breakdown of fat and encouraging weight gain. This protein – named IP6K1- is a key contributor to diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance.
Clinical research has identified this protein as a target to reduce the climbing rates of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. The scientists involved have performed numerous trials on animal models, and have found that by 'deleting' the protein from fat cells, they managed to enhance energy expenditure and protect their subjects from these diet-induced conditions.
What's more, a number of CROS (Clinical Research Organisations), have found that by eliminating this protein, they are preventing its interaction with other regulating proteins. This actually enhances the breakdowns of fat – great news for those of us who are trying to lose weight.
As well as helping to prevent obesity, the compound that these CROS are experimenting with has been suggested to improve metabolic parameters in animal subjects that are already obese.
Medical researchers are currently exploring the therapeutic possibilities of an IP6K inhibitor to slow down the initiation of diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance, and are hoping to provide a pioneering solution to this global problem.