Experiments with the anti-oxidant tempol on mice fed a high-fat diet suggest it can reduce weight gain, research shows.
Rodents given the drug also had lower blood glucose and insulin levels than those not given it.
The research team from Penn State University and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the United States believe it works by targeting bacteria in the gut, sparking a chemical chain reaction that affects the amount of fat and glucose sugar being absorbed into the body.
Andrew Patterson, Penn State's assistant professor of molecular toxicology, said: "The findings are interesting. Eventually we hope that this can lead to a new line of therapeutics to treat obesity and diabetes."