French scientists say they have found a drug that tricks the body into burning off fat even when on a high-fat diet.
The University of Louis Pasteur team found the drug protected mice against weight gain and insulin resistance.
The drug SRT1720 – a chemical cousin of red wine extract resveratrol – targets the protein SIRT1, which is thought to combat ageing, Cell Metabolism reports.
UK obesity experts said new drug treatments were needed but should be used alongside lifestyle changes.
About a quarter of men and a third of women in the UK are overweight, according to government statistics.
A change in diet and an increase in physical exercise can shift excess weight, but can be hard for many to maintain.
With the removal of the anti-obesity pill rimonabant, also known as Acomplia, from the market amid safety concerns, fewer drug options exist.
The French team from the University Louis Pasteur became interested in the SIRT1 protein after earlier studies showing resveratrol countered some effects of a high-calorie diet via SIRT1.
Read more at BBC News