Although this is extremely frustrating, you may take some comfort in knowing that your body only has the best of intentions. Since it doesn’t have the ability to distinguish between dieting and actual starvation, as a protective mechanism it kicks into “survival mode” by slowing down your metabolism, storing your food as fat and conserving energy. This may have come in handy during the Stone Age when food was harder to come by, but in modern life it’s one of the primary reasons people have trouble trimming down—not to mention a major source of annoyance.
But there’s some good news, dieters: A team of researchers has discovered that disrupting the activity of a muscle protein called ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) can override the body’s natural resistance to weight loss. To come to these findings, the researchers created a KATP-suppressing compound called a vivo-morpholino, and injected it into the thigh muscles of lab mice. They found that the treated muscles were less energy efficient and, in turn, burned more calories than the untreated muscles during both everyday activities and exercise bouts.
Although vivo-morpholino has not yet been tested in humans, research authors say that their findings show for the first time that energy efficiency can be manipulated. We’ll have to wait to see what future human testing unveils, but these promising preliminary findings ensure that we’ll be eagerly tracking updates on this research here at Eat This, Not That!