Protein discovery could accelerate weight loss

By Meera Senthilingam and Susie East

Published 1104 GMT (1904 HKT) February 1, 2016
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The fatter you get, the harder it can be to lose weight, and now researchers have identified the protein blocking this weight loss. Shutterstock
By removing the protein, known as sLR11, it's hoped fat cells will be encouraged to burn more calories -- rather than store them. Ferre' Dollar/CNN
High calorie diets lead to more deposits of fat cells, pictured, mainly consisting of white fat cells. When greater levels of white fat are stored inside the the body, the higher the levels of this blocking protein, reducing the ability of brown fat cells to burn energy. David Gregory and Debbie Marshall/Wellcome images
There are two forms of fat cells -- brown and white. The white cells store energy (fat) so it's ready for release when needed whereas brown cells burn energy to create heat and keep the body warm. Pictured, the white blood cells of a mouse with a blood vessel running through the center. Courtesy Pazit Polak/Flickr
Obese and people have higher levels the sLR11 protein than lean people. The same applies to diabetics compared to non-diabetics. RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images
Higher levels of the protein mean ability to burn energy is blocked to a greater extent. making it harder to lose weight.
Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
In the field of weight loss, the science has focused on accelerating the production of brown fat cells because they use up energy. Blocking of the sLR11 proteins could instead improve the efficiency of these brown fat cells to burn calories.
Whilst the research looks promising, more time is needed to confirm whether it is relevant. In the mean time increasing your exercise to burn more fat may be your best bet. FRED DUFOUR/AFP/AFP/Getty Images