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Below is an excerpt from 天声人語 Jun. 14 2010:

東京大の宮崎徹教授らが、体脂肪を减らすたんぱく質を見つけたという。脂肪を作る働きを抑え、ため込んだ分を使わせる効果があるそうだ。

I wondered for quite some time why 使わせる instead of 使う is used here. Then I speculate that it is an omission of the agent, or the second (二格) object:

[人に]ため込んだ分を使わせる

But I'm not sure. I searched Reverso Context and found this similar example:

全ての物資をラ・ベルから運ばねばならず、体力を使わせる仕事は7月半ばに終了した。

I guess it's

[私に]体力を使わせる

But I am still no more confident about that.

And a further question, if I am right in devising this "agent" theory. I accept that, it is because a laborious (that is, labor-consuming, 体力を使う) task consumes your strength that you is involved. But it seems unclear to me how a fat-reducing protein can involve the person using this protein when it takes effect (that is, draining excess body fat, ため込んだ分を使う).

If there's a biological reason for that I think I'm just unlucky.

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  • The word "undertaker" here strikes me as a bit unusual and difficult to understand. Any chance you're talking about the grammatical agent? See also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_(grammar) Oct 28, 2022 at 7:31
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    @EiríkrÚtlendi I referred to Wikipedia and confirmed that agent is the word that should be used here. Thanks.
    – magni
    Oct 28, 2022 at 7:48
  • Glad that was helpful! 😄 Cheers! Oct 28, 2022 at 8:33

1 Answer 1

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One type of protein itself cannot directly produce, store or consume fat. Here, the implied agent ("causee") of 使わせる is the same as the subject of 脂肪を作る or (脂肪を)ため込む, that is, one's body.

[このたんぱく質は]脂肪を作る働きを抑え、ため込んだ分を[体に]使わせる効果があるそうだ。
[This protein] is said to have a function of suppressing (your body's) fat production and making [your body] use the fat it has stored.

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