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The food industry's next big hope is to sell you exercise in a can

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In every business, from the Amalgamated Rubber Sole Company through to the halls of Nabisco, someone, somewhere, is dreaming of a pill that instantly makes you thin. Several already exist, but if you don't want to sit through that one worrying side-affect of Xenical or find a way to get a large quantity of Speed delivered to your garage, then a double-hander of diet and exercise is the only way to go. That's not something that will deter Nestlé, however, since the company is working on a foodstuff that, it's hoped, will help you to "exercise" without having to leave the couch.

Back in July, Nestlé's team of scientists uncovered an enzyme (AMP-activated protein kinase) that, the company claims, acts as the "on" switch for a person's metabolism. It normally pops up during exercise, telling your body to begin the process to extract energy from sugar and, afterwards, begin burning fat. All that's required, therefore, is to find a way to trigger AMPK and boom - your body will start behaving as you're doing some light exercise without moving.

The downside, of course, is that finding that trigger has, so far, proved elusive, and a report by Bloomberg claims that many other pharmaceuticals giants have tried and failed. In the same piece, Nestlé researcher Kei Sakamoto talks about the projects intentions, helping those who are obese or with poor mobility stay "active." Certainly, whatever happens, it looks as if we won't be doing anything but spending time with our treadmills for plenty more years to come.

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