Scientists in Florida (where else?) believe they are waddling towards a drug that would allow people to enjoy the benefits of exercise without having to shift a glute.
They've been studying obese mice (67 per cent of rodents in the US are overweight), injecting them with a special compound which affected levels of a protein in muscles called REV-ERB. The name of this protein has to have been made up by the same pharmaceutical portmanteau-wizards who dream up special ingredients for beauty products like Sleek-a-silk-o-drol or Smootha-softa-plumperol.
The compound apparently boosted the metabolism of the mice, normalised their cholesterol levels and affected how much they slept, regardless of how much fat (cheese) they ate. To put it very simply, the cellular effects resulted in both impaired mitochondrial biogenesis and increased clearance of this organelle, leading to compromised exercise capacity. To read the full report and enjoy more words like 'organelle' click here.
Experts hope that one day the compound may help disabled people to get the benefits of exercise without having to move.
It goes without saying, that would be ace!
But here's the rub...it won't just be used by disabled people will it? It will also be used by fat people who cannot be arsed to jog. And that bothers me.
After all, this is the holy grail. A chance to improve one's health whilst simultaneously ruining it. It's the 5:2 diet on crack.
Everyone look! Bring your clogged arteries and wobbling tummies over here! Use a mobility scooter if you must. Great news! Now you can eat whatever you want as long as you shove this pill in it! Stuff your face with 'no sugar' lard and 'low fat' Kendal Mint Cake, get rid of the unused gym ball from the wardrobe because that hurty thing called movement is no longer necessary!
I can imagine them now. Around the world, big-boned people are putting down their biscuits and leaning into their computers, dazzled by the tantalising possibilities. 'Yes?' They whisper. 'Is it finally true that Kentucky Mcfried Burger Hut can be part of a healthy lifestyle?'
No my poor out-of-breath dumplings. Not yet. But perhaps soon. And then, we will become extinct. An asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. An exercise-replacing pill could take us out.
You see, any respected anthropologist, scientist or columnist will tell you that the driving force behind every single human advancement, is laziness. Forget opposable thumbs and cunning...laziness is why we invented the wheel and laziness is why we invented the bicycle. Laziness is why we invented the remote control, toasters, motor cars, telephones, pens, zips, showers, domesticated animals and online newspapers. The human race simply cannot be arsed. And the lazier it gets, the more it loses touch with what life is about: running, dancing, hunting, exploring...living.
Listen to the chilling words of Thomas Burris, chairman of the department of pharmacological and physiological science at St Louis University School of Medicine. He says it is not inconceivable that a drug, based on his compound, might one day allow people to enjoy the health benefits of endurance without exertion.
And so, the most powerful product slogan ever created, is born: Endurance...without exertion.
Wherever that compound is, it must be found and destroyed for it holds within it the power to turn us all into bloated slugs, incapable of either.
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