If you don't already know, then here is the newsflash –  Not all fats are bad and completely cutting them out of your diet isn't really going to speed up your weight loss journey. Fats are an important part of a healthy diet as they provide essential fatty acids, keep our skin soft, deliver fat-soluble vitamins, and are a great source of energising fuel.

There are two groups of fats – saturated (bad) and unsaturated (good). Within each group are several more types of fats. However, researchers, led by Professor Jan-Wilhelm Kornfeld from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Elena Schmidt from the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, Cologne, Germany and Martin Bilban from the Medical University, Vienna, Austria, have made a groundbreaking discovery in obesity research.

The team has discovered a new function of the gene H19,  that has a unique protective effect against the onset of overweight-associated diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Roughly one per cent of our genes, which we -- as opposed to the remaining 99 per cent -- inherit exclusively from either our mother or father, the so-called monoallelic genes.

The researchers have also discovered how genes derived from our father primarily lead to the development of white fat tissue, which most often are found on the stomach, thighs and backside, and which can lead to metabolic diseases. Likewise, it appears that genes from our mother primarily lead to the development of brown fat tissue, which is characterized by having a protective effect against obesity.

"By using mouse models, we have identified that the gene H19 performs a form of gene control in brown fat cells. We have been able to demonstrate that an overexpression of the H19 gene in mice protects against obesity and insulin resistance. In addition, we have been able to detect similar patterns of gene control in obese people. We, therefore, believe that our results can be the first step towards developing groundbreaking new and improved treatments for obesity-related diseases," says Professor Jan-Wilhelm Kornfeld.