For some overweight people eating the right foods, getting plenty of exercise and drinking a lot of water doesn’t seem to help them lose weight.  While others are as skinny as rail, eat a ton of food and don’t seem to gain an ounce.  As frustrating as it is, there is a legitimate reason losing weight is more challenging than it should be for overweight people.   Blame it on a newly discovered protein, sLR11. Scientists at the University of Cambridge conducted a study that examined mice. It looked at two groups of mice, those lacking the sLR11 protein and those with the protein.  They found the mice lacking the protein were unable to gain weight and burned off calories more efficiently than those with the sLR11. The group with sLR11 had higher stores of fat that also correlated with the amount of sLR11 found in their blood stream.

The study suggests sLR11 hinders the body’s ability to burn fat.  The protein holds the energy found in the stored fat hostage and won’t allow the body to burn it off.  One researcher suggested that the stored fat battles against an overweight person’s attempts to burn fat at the molecular level, decreasing the body’s thermogenesis.

This could explain the reason skipping meals and working out hard doesn’t yield the best results. Reducing your caloric intake could signal your body to switch to starvation mode where it will hoard the energy found in fat cells. Your body will release energy slowly, but won’t necessarily be spurred to release it faster with high intensity activity.

For those already fighting the effects of severe obesity, this protein seems to make losing weight a losing battle.  The study did examine those who had undergone bariatric by-pass surgery, and discovered that the levels of sLR11 protein dropped equal to the amount of fat lost.

Doctors feel this discovery could help them to develop better ways to help fight obesity by either blocking the development of the protein or finding ways to trick it into increasing ones metabolism. They admit the perfect medical cure for obesity is a long way off, and still recommend a heart healthy diet and regular physical activity.  It may not be what you weigh that ultimately determines the quality of your health.