Nestlé Scientists are Developing Foods That Exercise Your Body for You


A scientist prepares samples for mass spectrometry analysis at the Proteomic and Metabonomic Core, a laboratory within the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences.

Scientists at the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences are in the process of developing future foods and products that will, at least in part, exercise your muscles for you, according to a new study published in the Journal of Chemistry & Biology.

Researchers are working with a molecule that activates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) — “a central energy sensor and regulator of energy homeostasis” — that helps facilitate the conversion of muscle glucose and fat into energy. Under normal circumstances, AMPK, known as a “metabolic master switch,” is activated through muscle stimulation, or exercise.

Specifically, the researchers are in the process of examining how potential activators of AMPK, in the form of nutritional products and supplements, will provide “desirable therapeutic effects” in patients with metabolic disorders like Type 2 diabetes or in those unable to exercise due to old age or disability.

“Ideally, we’ll be able to develop products that will help promote and augment the effects of exercise,” lead researcher Kei Sakamoto told Food Navigator.

Going forward, researchers say they plan to identify natural substances that activate AMPK, which will hopefully lead to the development of “new dietary approaches with targeted effects on the body that, like exercise, could help in addressing metabolic problems and maintaining a healthy energy balance,” the head of the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, Ed Baetge, told Food Navigator.

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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.