By Mike Pomranz
Updated November 20, 2014
© Chronicle / Alamy

Nestlé, the same company that fattens you up with chocolate, is now pouring money into research looking for a way to slim you down. And apparently the firm feels like it’s getting closer to a breakthrough.

According to a report published in Bloomberg, the Swiss food giant that owns more than 2,000 brands, claims it has “identified how an enzyme in charge of regulating metabolism can be stimulated by a compound called C13, a potential first step in developing a way to mimic the fat-burning effect of exercise.” If the research proves fruitful, the company believes it could create a product that Bloomberg dubbed “exercise in a bottle”—a drink that could burn calories with little physical involvement. The hope is that people taking the product might reap the same benefits from brisk walking that they could from a 20-minute jog, according to a Nestlé scientist.

In a somewhat mind-blowing statistic, last year Nestlé spent around $1.6 billion dollars on research and part of that budget goes to finance the team working on metabolism-boosting foods. Other groups, primarily drug companies, have sought similar compounds with little success, so the science community seems skeptical. And even if Nestlé is onto something, Kei Sakamoto, who oversees the company’s research on “diabetes and circadian rhythms” (yeah, they have a guy who does that), said even testing on animals would be several years away.

Still, if someone is going to have a metabolic breakthrough, a private company like Nestlé, where the financial rewards could be worth the investment, would be the ones to do it, experts claim. In the interim, the best way to lose weight is probably to cut back on some of Nestlé’s other products.