The struggle to stay fit: a never-ending battle between that bacon cheeseburger calling your name and an hour at the gym that somehow does not seem as alluring. Seventy-five percent willpower and 25 percent crying into your salad, it is not easy leading a healthy lifestyle when temptation seems to lurk around every corner. Easy fixes and diet pills are out there, but can they help prevent future risks of high-fat diets like diabetes? Most likely, not.

But don’t skip your half-priced app nights with the ladies just yet. A new hormone has just been found that combats weight gain resulting from our high-fat diets by normalizing the metabolism and ultimately mimicking the effects of exercise. It’s a miracle in the works, and it may be a reality of our near future.

Scientists at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology have isolated this hormone, known as “MOTS-c,” which primarily targets muscle tissue and restores sensitivity to insulin. Because of this, MOTS-c is able to counteract the effects of diet induced and age-dependent resistance to insulin, which causes obesity and in many cases, diabetes.

Right now, this research published in Cell Metabolism, is still in its early stages, but scientists are hopeful of its future applications. “This represents a major advance in the identification of new treatments for age-related diseases such as diabetes,” said Pinchas Cohen, dean of USC Davis School and senior author of the study. The initial study was performed on mice, injecting MOTS-c into subjects fed a high-fat diet that often led to obesity and a resistance to insulin. Researchers found that the injections not only helped reduce obesity and resistance to insulin within the mice, but it also reversed the resistance to insulin that often comes with age, a condition that often paves the way for diabetes.

The hormone also helped scientists discover new details about mitochondria and its relevance to MOTS-c production. Known as the “powerhouse” of the cell, mitochondria are essential to converting food into energy. “This discovery sheds new light on mitochondria and positions them as active regulators of metabolism,” said Changhan Lee, lead author of the study. Lee and colleagues found that MOTS-c was unique because it is encoded within the DNA of mitochondria, suggesting even further its relation to metabolism regulation.

Even though the study has not been applied to any species outside of mice, molecular functions within mice that make the hormone work are present in all mammals, including humans. Clinical trials on humans do seem to be in the works as well, as MOTS-c’s intellectual property has just been licensed to a biotechnology company.

This hormone solution is not the first of its kind; pills that attempt to mimic the effects of eating a meal, or offer the benefits of physical exertion without actually moving are also being studied. But however appealing a life of couch potato-ism may seem, the facts still favor just how much regular exercise and healthy diet leads to a well-rounded lifestyle. As this debate remains uncontestable, we should remember that relying on easy fixes shouldn’t always be the answer, especially when the health benefits are unanimous. So while you’re waiting for this hormone to hit shelves near you, you might as well dust off that treadmill hiding in your basement, venture off into the produce section, and experience the hype around kale. You’ll feel all the better for it.

Source: Lee C, Cohen P, Wan J, et al. The Mitochondrial-Derived Peptide MOTS-c Promotes Metabolic Homeostasis and Reduces Obesity and Insulin Resistance. Cell Metabolism. 2015.