The biggest food company in the world may be developing the ultimate diet drink. Eight Swiss research scientists at the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences headquarters in Geneva say they’ve figured out how an enzyme that’s responsible for regulating metabolism can be controlled. They were successful in their first step to stimulate the compound C13, which mimics the fat-burning effect of exercise. Their findings were published in the journal Chemistry & Biology.

If people won’t exercise maybe they’ll be more inclined to drink chemicals that may trigger the same effects. Diet pills have been around for decades, but they haven’t been able to break fat down in the way Nestlé’s drink may be able to. The scientists were searching for a way to naturally start the fat burning process in the body without having to get off the couch.

The key enzyme AMPK is the master switch that burns sugar and fat in the body. Scientists tried targeting the enzyme with a trial-and-error process. They experimented with different kinds of fruit and plant extracts to see which ones would work for an obese, diabetic, or older immobile person. But will stimulating weight loss in a person without exercise be enough to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle? With exercise comes happy hormones called endorphins, which can block feelings of pain and boost mood. A drink can’t do that.

In the United States, there are 78.6 million adults who are clinically obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cause of the obesity epidemic is multifaceted and one drink isn’t going to solve the problem. But the question remains: Can it put people on the right track? Maybe losing weight with a drink will encourage them to continue their journey toward a healthier, higher quality of life. There are so many obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, which are all preventable without the dangerous weight.

“The enzyme can help people who can’t tolerate or continue rigorous exercise,” Nestlé diabetes and circadian rhythm scientist Kei Sakamoto, told Bloomberg News. “Instead of 20 minutes of jogging or 40 minutes of cycling, it may help boost metabolism with moderate exercise like brisk walking. They’d get similar effects with less strain.”

This is Nestlé’s attempt at breaking into a new arena of weight loss products. The crossover from food into pharmaceuticals is an increasingly popular move. Merck & Co. and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. have all tried to target AMPK, but haven't yet found success.

“A successful attempt in producing metabolic-assisting foods that mimic exercise would be marvelous — the holy grail,” Naveed Sattar, a professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, told Bloomberg. “But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. So far, no such product has ever passed clinical trials.”