Scientists in Australia have some good news for those of you who can't help but use the sun to cook your skin (also known as "tanning"). During lab tests, mice who were blasted with UV rays didn't gain weight as quickly as mice not being hit with the rays. Yes, the sun holds special weight loss capabilities! Well, sort of. Don't get too crazy now.
To come to this realization, the researchers overfed a large group of mice, then separated them into two subgroups. One group was shaved and exposed to UV rays; the other group was left as the control. The mice who were shaved and faced the rays showed less weight gain than the control group. Not only did the mice not gain weight, they showed less indicators of other weight-related diseases.
"The mice displayed fewer of the warning signs linked to diabetes, such as abnormal glucose levels and resistance to insulin," reports Science Daily. "The beneficial effects of UV treatment were linked to a compound called nitric oxide, which is released by the skin after exposure to sunlight. Applying a cream containing nitric oxide to the skin of the overfed mice had the same effect of curbing weight gain as exposure to UV light, the team found."
As with any study that showed the positive effects of the sun, the team of experts each took time to stress to everyone that this doesn't mean we can all cook our skin more than we already do. Shelley Gorman, the lead author of the study, told The Huffington Post UK, "Our findings are important as they suggest that casual skin exposure to sunlight, together with plenty of exercise and a healthy diet, may help prevent the development of obesity in children." You can just hear her stress "together with plenty of exercise and a healthy diet" and add "idiots" under her breath.
Richard Weller, another scientist that participated in the study, which appears in the medical journal Diabetes, added in the same Huffington Post UK piece: "We know from epidemiology studies that sun-seekers live longer than those who spend their lives in the shade. Studies such as this one are helping us to understand how the sun can be good for us. We need to remember that skin cancer is not the only disease that can kill us and should perhaps balance our advice on sun exposure."
How much do you want to bet that sun lovers completely ignore Gorman and Weller's words of caution and are going to oil up right now? After all, the definition of true beauty is a person with wrinkled, orange skin. Especially if they're thin!
[Image via Flickr - Dawn Ellner]