It is being hailed as a sensation after scientists at an Austrian university patented a method that transforms fat storing cells into mini factories capable of actually destroying fat by burning it off.
And the incredible discovery means that in theory people who are overweight will actually end up losing weight at a faster rate as they have more fat cells capable of being converted into cells that literally burn off the excess weight.
Marcel Scheidler, from the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology at the Technical University in the city of Graz in the southern Austrian province of Styria, said that with up to 50 percent of the population in Austria showing signs of being overweight, and its associated medical complications such as diabetes, anything that helped to reduce weight problems could have major significance.
He said: “Overweight or even obese people’s bodies store too many white fat cells, which store energy.”
And when looking at ways to tackle diabetes by reducing people’s weight they had made a remarkable discovery.
He said: “We discovered a substance in the body which allows the conversion of energy storing so called white fat cells into energy burning so-called brown fat cells.”
It has long been known that the brown fat cells, also known as brown adipose tissue (BAT) or brown fat, are capable of burning fat to generate body heat particularly in animals or newborns that do not shiver.
The ability of the Graz team to convert the brown type of tissue from white adipose tissue (WAT) has now been patented by the team, who said that they hope it will be a ground-breaking development in tackling in particular Type-2 diabetes.
He said: “This is definitely our long-term aim. The opportunity is, in addition to physical exercise and a healthy diet, to introduce a further calorie burner, namely brown fat cells, so that additional energy can be burnt in the body rather than stored.”