Glaucoma drugs have been shown to prevent weight gain in mice, according to a new study.
The medication works by blocking a protein that typically allows the gut to absorb fat.
After eight weeks, mice that received the medication didn't gain weight while on a high-fat diet.
A new discovery could make it possible to eat all the fat you want without gaining a single pound — and it all happened by accident.
In a study using mice, Yale University researchers found they could prevent fat from being absorbed in the body by stopping its entry into the gut, according to Wired UK.
Published in the journal Science, the paper showed that certain glaucoma drugs block the production of a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). Without VEGF-A, tiny pores located on the gut's lymphatic vessels close up — and typically, fat passes through these pores before betting absorbed into the body, The Independent reported.
The findings came as somewhat of a surprise: Study co-author and research scientist Feng Zhang of Yale told MensHealth.com in an email that his team originally thought a different protein would impact weight.
To conduct the study, the team fed mice high-fat diets and administered drugs that stopped the production of VEGF-A in some of the animals. After eight weeks, scientists discovered that the mice without the protein didn’t gain weight while the others doubled their weight, according to Wired UK.
So what happened to all the fat the mice were consuming? In the toilet, according to study co-author Anne Eichmann — also from Yale — who told the magazine that fat was excreted into the mice's feces.
It's important to note that the study was conducted in mice, so there's more work to be done before scientists can determine whether this works similarly for humans. However, outside researcher Alan Mackie from Leeds University told Wired this research could potentially lead to a diet pill.
"Although the authors don’t state this, the implication is that if this did work in humans then you take a pill just before a meal and it closes the gut to lipid uptake," he said.
Of course, the discovery did come with health problems for the mice, like edema — a condition that causes swelling because of excess fluid in the body. Some of the rodents developed edema because the levels of liquid in their bodies were impacted by blocking the VEGF-A protein.
For now, your best bet for losing weight is to follow a healthy eating plan — like the Mediterranean diet — and use free weight loss apps that help you track your diet and exercise.
This article originally appeared in Men's Health US.