ISLAMABAD: The fat found in fast food can help protect against the deadliest form of skin cancer, a study claims.

Experts found that palmitic acid, which is in products such as burgers and cookies, fuels a protein involved in the pigmentation process to help protect against harmful skin cancer mutations.

While fast food can have harmful effects on the heart and brain, it could prevent melanoma, a deadly skin cancer.

Rates of people being diagnosed with melanoma have increased the past 30 years in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates close to 10,000 people will die from the cancer this year.

Experts said this breakthrough in research could lead to a drug for those who are red hair, fair skinned or have consistently tanned, all of whom are more at risk to get skin cancer.   

A fat found in fast food can help prevent someone from getting melanoma, a new study showed. Palmitic acid is found in a lot of fast food such as burgers, fries and cookies. This acid, or fatty lipid, fought against mutations that cause skin cancer in mice

Researchers from Boston University in Massachusetts discovered palmitic acid, a fat found in fast food, controls the activity of the MC1R gene.

This gene, also known as the 'ginger gene', affects the type of melanin pigment it produces for the skin.